Photo courtesy University of Denver
As I’m sitting here at a Starbucks just across the street from Boston University’s Agganis Arena biding my time until it’s socially acceptable to find a bar for some pregame libations, I can’t help but reflect on the journey that’s led LetsGoDU to this point. A little over two years ago, when Tim Thompson and I (well Tim more than I) decided to revive LetsGoDU and build on the incredible foundation that Damien Goddard, LetsGoDU godfather had already built, I don’t think either of us were really prepared for the journey we were about to embark upon.
It all started with an email. Just before starting my master’s year (my 5th year of school for those keeping track), while I was randomly perusing the internet, I happened to see that LetsGoDU was coming back. I immediately reached out to Tim and let him know I wanted to be involved. I always felt that DU was, to an extent, an untapped market in the Denver sports media scene and Tim and I shared a similar vision for what LetsGoDU could and should be.
Over the next few weeks and months, things started to come into focus and thanks to incredible people like Niko Blankenship and Rick Bowness in the athletics department media relations department LetsGoDU was able to obtain media credentials. This was the single most important early milestone for us. We wanted to go from linking to various articles from around the internet to generating our own content (of course we’ll never stop linking to The Post’s Mike Chambers). To be able to provide the coverage we felt our readers deserved, we needed those credentials and DU was happy to help us out.
All of a sudden, in October of 2015, we were ready to finally start delivering our readers what we had envisioned. Little did I know what writing that first recap of the 2015 exhibition hockey game against the University of Calgary would lead to. What I initially thought would just be a fun thing to do ballooned into a passion. I fell in love with covering the Pios and wanted to continue to improve our coverage as quickly as possible.
In my mind, the first step to achieving that goal was creating a new, standalone letsgodu.com. Our old site was getting the job done, but we needed an upgrade. After several months of work and amateur-level coding, we unveiled our new look on January 1, 2016. This was a major step in the right direction for us and to me, we were off and running.
Just a few short months later, DU hockey clinched a berth in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff. When we revived the site, Tim and I hadn’t even really thought about traveling to cover the Pios. It seemed to be a pipe dream and, after all, we were just a small publication barely moving the needle in Denver, right?
The more we talked about it, it became clear that if we wanted to continue providing the coverage our readers had become accustomed to, we had to make the trip to Minneapolis. So Tim graciously opened his checkbook and sent me to the Twin Cities to cover DU’s third-place NCHC finish. Our first trip was a massive success and well worth the investment. Plus, what were the odds that we’d also have to book a trip to Tampa just a few weeks later for the Frozen Four? Pretty small, right?
Denver defied the odds (but fulfilled my preseason expectations) by clinching a berth in their first Frozen Four since winning the 2005 national title. This time, there was no hesitation. We had to go. There was no chance we were missing this. Of course, DU ended up losing a heartbreaker to North Dakota in the national semifinal, but once again, our decision to travel to cover DU was completely worth the investment of time and money. We were delivering exactly what we wanted to deliver and it seemed like our readers were appreciating it, which is all a publication like ours could ever ask for.
As soon as we returned to Denver from Tampa, we realized we were hooked and traveling to cover these tournaments was no longer negotiable. Fast-forward a year. We sent our MVP Sasha Kandrach to Houston to cover the DU Men’s Soccer team’s run to the College Cup in December, which was another massive success for us. Of course in March and April, we were once again at the Frozen Faceoff and then at the Frozen Four, this time in Chicago, covering Denver’s first national title run since 2005. Of course, for the “fan” in us, it was a dream come true, but as a publication, this was beyond our wildest dreams.
After just two years of being back online, we had already covered two Frozen Faceoffs, two Frozen Fours, and a College Cup. All of this was in addition to our normal coverage in Denver and traveling to all in-state away hockey games. As a small blog covering what most would call a niche athletic department in Denver’s already saturated sports market, it’s almost overwhelming to think about the journey we’ve had the privilege to share with you, our readers in just two years.
It might seem tacky to reflect on just two, going on three years of being back. But, as I’m sitting here in Boston, ready to cover a DU regular season away game outside of Colorado for the first time in our short history, it felt like the right time to reflect on our journey and how it all fits in with that vision that Tim and I had more than two years ago.
Selfishly, these two-plus years have been absolutely wonderful for us. Tim and I have been able to travel to great destinations to watch college hockey. However, the ability to share our experiences and provide you with (hopefully) enhanced DU coverage is what has made it that much more special for us.
It’s been a wild two years. We’ve seen and covered things we never thought we’d have the privilege to when we sat down for that initial meeting in 2015. Our vision is what has driven us to this point and is what will continue to push us forward in the coming years.
Without you, our readers, LetsGoDU is nothing. It’s irrelevant. So thank you for joining us on this journey and we hope you’ll continue sticking with us and giving us your clicks as we forge ahead, starting tonight as DU hits the ice in Boston.
It’s now a little after 4 PM here on the east coast, which I suppose means it’s time to find that bar…so here’s to where we’ve been and to where we’re headed. We can’t wait to see where we’ll be in another two years.