Ian Mitchell Returning to DU for Junior Year

Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell plans to return to Denver for his junior year/ Photo: DU

Denver Pioneer hockey defenseman and alternate captain Ian Mitchell will return for his junior year in the Pioneers’ 70th anniversary season, Mitchell announced on Wednesday. Mitchell’s decision to return ended speculation that second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks would end his college career early to sign an NHL contract.

“In the past few days since our season ended, I have had the chance to reflect on the year and the season our team had,” Mitchell, a Calahoo, Alberta native, said in a DU  press release. “It became clear to me during that time that I did not feel ready mentally or physically to leave Denver. I believe this is the best place for me to become a better hockey player and as a team we have an opportunity to do something very special next year. I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization for being so supportive and respectful of my decision to remain in school and continue my development. I am looking forward to next season.”

Mitchell has eight goals, 49 assists and 32 penalty minutes through 80 career games with the Pioneers. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect registered six goals, 21 assists and 18 penalty minutes through 39 games during the 2018-19 season, leading Denver defensemen in points and leading all Pioneer skaters with 12 power-play points and 66 blocked shots to earn Second-Team All-NCHC honors. In January, Mitchell represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship where he posted one goal and two assists in five games.

Mitchell is a two-time member of the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team and a two-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete. Prior to coming to Denver, Mitchell tallied 14 goals and 50 assists in 109 games with the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) from 2015-17. He represented Canada at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, 2015 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and 2015 Winter Games.

3 thoughts on “Ian Mitchell Returning to DU for Junior Year”

  1. Fantastic news. DU looks to be loaded next year, assuming underclassmen stay, a strong recruit class performs and Ian Mitchell returns as captain. I would think he would have to be one of the pre-season Hobey Baker favorites heading into next season.

    1. I would agree. Each player is different, but I will say there is a big difference between dominating at the college level and then walking into the NHL (Will Butcher) with confidence, vs. leaving school early to sign and clawing your way through the AHL (Blake Hillman).
      Mitchell can see the difference.

      Giving up a million dollars to stay another NCAA season to get bigger, stronger and more dominant, get a year closer to his degree, and lead his team to another shot at a National title is a compelling reason to stay at DU for him.

  2. Big sigh of relief. I thought the Blackhawks, who are seemingly in a transition period after all of those great years, might push hard to get Mitchell into their system this year.

    Mitchell should be one of the premier defensemen in the country next season.

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