An outside perspective on The Gold Pan Rivalry

Rivalries make sports great. They’re the games that every fan circles on the calendar and makes sure they have a ticket to. The only thing better than a rivalry in sports is a college rivalry. When most people think of a rivalry they usually think of the Michigan-Ohio State, CU-CSU (at least around here), USC-UCLA, Duke-North Carolina and so on. Maybe it’s due to the pride and tradition that each school has built, but it always seems like college sports take rivalries to a whole new level.

My parents never went to DU and I always knew I wouldn’t be able to afford to go there but that never stopped me from loving DU and hating CC. Growing up, there was no rivalry that I loved more than the Battle for the Gold Pan between the University of Denver and Colorado College. It’s the second longest rivalry in college hockey (302 games is just 2 behind Michigan-Michigan State at 304) and Denver is way ahead in the all-time series 169–116–17. It’s a tradition that really can’t be beat.

There’s something about that gaudy yellow and the lamest logo in college sports that makes my stomach feel queasy every time CC enters the building. Just like many fans, the two CC games in Denver each season were the two games I made sure I wasn’t going to miss.

The first “CC Sucks” chant would usually break out on the way into Magness Arena while walking past the lacrosse fields. Everyone knows the importance of the CC matchups each and every year, so there’s always that special aura of excitement around the rink for people to feed on making it the loudest games at Magness, at least outside of the North Dakota games.

Last year’s Battle on Blake was my favorite Gold Pan game that I’ve ever attended. It was the first game that I’ve been to where there was actually a full section of Colorado College fans that could be heckled. It’s certainly a rare occurrence these days. It was so cool to see the two student sections go up against one another especially at such a venue like Coors Field.

My favorite memory of the CC rivalry wasn’t even at a DU-CC game. When I was 11,  my friend and I made a “CC Sucks” sign with one of the Fastsigns when the Pios were taking on Michigan Tech. During a 2nd period media timeout, we were on the jumbotron and the entire Magness Arena crowd lit up in cheers and the student section broke-out a “CC sucks” chant. It showed me the true disdain that Pioneers have for Colorado College and that everyone hates CC just as much as I do.

Even though I’m not a DU student, this rivalry means a lot to me. I’ve grown up with it. I’ve experienced so many incredible moments between these two teams that it’d be impossible to not appreciate and love it when these two teams take the ice against each other.

Rivalries are all about the atmosphere. There is no better atmosphere in college hockey than Magness Arena when the Pioneers are taking on Colorado College. I’m sure everyone will be all kinds of jacked up for the games this weekend and for the Pios to extend their unbeaten streak ultimately preparin themselves for the No. 1 team in the nation, UMD the next week. CC won the first game of the series 16-0 in 1950. Looking at CC this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the opposite this weekend.

8 thoughts on “An outside perspective on The Gold Pan Rivalry”

  1. Chase – Thanks for providing your ‘outsider’ perspective on the series. Sometimes we take it for granted how special this series is for each program. In this series, records mean nothing and heart means everything. With school not in session, DU needs all the support it can get this Saturday. Great job!

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  2. Good article. Glad you are a Pio fan, Chase. Being a CC fan is signing up for a lifetime of disspointment.

    While it’s too bad that Chase didn’t apply to DU, I hope others don’t rule out applying to DU on the basis of cost. The facts are that over 80% of the student body are on some kind of financial aid package, and many students who are good students get enough scholarship money to make DU comparable in cost to other public universities. Really good students often get full or nearly full rides.

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    1. Great article! I’m a CC alum, got accepted to both DU and CC and it basically came down to a coin flip for me as to where to go; bothare great schools. The rivalry (if one can still call it that) has diminished a bit for me being how bad CC has gotten but point taken-the players for both teams will get up for this series as will the fans. I would love to see a return to a New Year’s Gold Pan tournament with CC, DU, and two other non-conference programs. I didn’t go but I heard the 1996 Gold Pan championship at McNichols Arena was a classic…3-2 overtime win for the Pios in front of 15,000-20,000 roudy fans.

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  3. That 3-2 game was the old Denver Cup tournament championship at the end of December of 1995, with 16,000 on hand at McNichols Arena, the largest DU/CC crowd up until last year’s Battle on Blake Outdoor Game (35,000). CC was #1 in the country at that time, as I recall.

    I would like to see DU and CC play at Pepsi Center, where they should be able to draw 15,000+.

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  4. My sophomore year at DU I attended the DU – CC game at the Broadmoor. I had waited too long to get my ticket so, along with a few friends, we were forced to sit in the CC section. By the end of the second period, the CC fans go tired of hearing the chant “CC sucks”. Next thing you know we were in a middle of a fight in the grandstands. Security ushered all of us out of the building.

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  5. Good stuff. Like the above commenter, I was also a “coin flip” away from attending CC, but chose DU instead. Hockey-wise, it was a good choice. DU has the 2 fairly recent NCAA titles, and the Pioneers have maintained their success while CC is floundering a bit. That said, most of my best memories of DU hockey involve the DU-CC games. Going to a DU-CC game at the Broadmoor… the classic 1995 game at McNichols where Laaksonen lit it up in an electric atmosphere…countless exciting games at Magness with the student section charged up…DU’s drubbing of CC in the 2005 Frozen Four… and the outdoor game last year at Coors field in front of 35,000 fans. CC needs to pick it up, though…only 60 miles separate these schools but the success gap is much larger. C’mon Tigers, do your part for this classic rivalry!

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