LetsGoDU 2015 Flashback – Optimism Returns to Magness Arena

Below is a reprint of a LetsGoDU article published in October 2015 – the beginning of Montgomery’s second season at the helm. The Pioneers went on to  multiple 20+ win seasons under coach Montgomery – culminating in this season’s national championship. 

April 1st, 2013…It had to be an April Fools prank. George Gwozdecky fired after 19 years and two national championships along with a slew of 20 win seasons.

Fast forward to 2015 and season ticket sales are brisk. Students, fans, and alums feel a sense of optimism returning to University and Evans. We are embracing ‘our hockey team’  again and appreciate Coach Monty. These guys are good – and accessible, too.

There is no better person that helped us move on than Coach Gwozdecky. He tweets about DU and offers best wishes to his former DU team and coaching peers. He has even been spotted at Magness from time to time. He has moved from Tampa Bay back to Denver to take on another rebuilding project and who knows after that what is next for Coach Gwoz – maybe coaching his old University of Wisconsin or becoming the Dave Logan (Colorado football H.S. head coaching legend) of Denver high school hockey, ripping off 8-10 state championships in a row. He has a new rink to build at Valor Christian High – just like DU.

It feels to this writer that the dark cloud has lifted. Credit has to go to Coach Montgomery, too. He clearly understood the challenge of replacing a DU coaching legend. Instead of trying to be like George, he has been Jim. A good sense of humor, Canadian steadiness, and a fast break style of hockey that leaves Magness buzzing. He’s a Pioneer now. And this team just might be able to ‘do it’, too.

Coach Gwoz will always be a DU hockey legend, taking a stumbling hockey program, playing in an old Navy drill hall with a rainbow painted on the wall to an elite collegiate level and national champs. That was a great time and an incredible run.

It feels good to look forward.

4 thoughts on “LetsGoDU 2015 Flashback – Optimism Returns to Magness Arena”

  1. I don’t know of anyone in the DU community who didn’t think the world of Gwoz. His track record speaks for itself. But Monty’s run here has been remarkable. I hope it continues.

    Question for those of you who have been following the program for a long time and know the history much better than me: is there an argument to be made that this season was the greatest in program history? Just curious, given the national title and all of the individual awards…….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think that an argument could be made…but I get the feeling that there is not a clear cut answer–2005 was similar. (2004 wins for sheer drama!) And a couple of the 1960’s teams would have a claim, too.

    I put the 2017 team right up there with the 2005 team…actually slightly above the 2005 team. The 2017 and 2005 teams were similarly dominant. But the speed and relentlessness of the 2017 team, how the 2017 team absolutely pummeled the competition in the 1st three tournament games, and cleaned up the 3 major awards…gotta give a very slight edge to the 2017 team over the 2005 team. (Though I have to give Mannino a very slight edge over Jaillet, even though Jailet was fricking awesome and saved our bacon in the title game.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good question. Having witnessed both the 2005 team and the 2017 team, they are very close in impact. The 2005 team won the McNaughton, the Broadmoor and the NCAA title, so from a hardware perspective, I’d give them a slight performance edge over the 2017 team.

    That said, the 2017 team was more electrifying to watch, given the skills levels of Terry, Borgstrom and Butcher. The 2005 bunch had Carle and Stastny, who were great to watch, but 2017 had a bit more speed and dazzle factor.

    But both 2005 and 2017 teams are distantly behind the 1960-61 team, which, although I never saw them play live, for my money is the greatest college hockey team of all time, going 30-1-1 and winning its four playoff games by a total goal margin of 36-8, including a 12-2 thrashing of St. Lawrence in the title game, which is still a record for nearly 60 years. The year before, most of the guys on this 60-61 team tied the Russian Olympic Team and beat and tied the 1960 US Gold Medal team right before the Squaw Valley Olympics. You could make a case that DU was the best amateur team in the world that year. Yes, Cornell went undefeated 29-0-0 in 1970, but that team would never had a record like that had they played in the WCHA. And the Maine 92-93 team that went 41-1-3 is the best team of the modern era. But the 60-61 Pios, with five all-Americans, remains the gold standard for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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