Pettersen and Ward Leaving Pioneers, Jandric and Hanson Transferring In

Emilio Pettersen (Photo DU/Shannon Valerio)

The Denver Pioneers hockey roster continues to change, as rising junior forward Emilio Pettersen has left DU to sign an entry level contract with the Calgary Flames, while fellow rising junior Tyler Ward is transferring from DU to the University of New Hampshire, where he will need to sit out a year.  According to the Grand Forks HeraldDU will help mitigate these losses as the beneficiary of two incoming graduate transfers with immediate eligibility join the DU team next season in- all-WCHA forward Steven Jandric of Alaska-Fairbanks and defenseman Bo Hanson from St. Lawrence University of the ECAC. While DU has yet to publicly announce the two transfers, both transfers were confirmed to LetsGoDU last week.

Pettersen had 19 goals, 46 assists and a +9 rating in 76 games with the Pioneers. Last season, the Mangelrud, Norway native led the Pioneers in scoring with 35 points on 13 goals and 22 assists, ranking T-4th among NCHC skaters to earn Second-Team All-NCHC honors and a nomination as finalist for NCHC Forward of the Year. He played in all 36 games and led Denver with points in 25 of them. Pettersen produced 20 power-play points to rank 2nd in the NCHC and 8th in the NCAA. In conference games, he had 23 points to rank T-5th among NCHC skaters and secure the team’s Dallas Gaume Offensive Player of the Year award. He was also a member of the NCHC all-Academic team, and will be a major loss for the Pioneers.

“Another year of college wouldn’t have hurt him at all, but he was really anxious for the next step,” said Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving to reporter Wes Gilbertson, reporting at “And what I like about [Pettersen] is his mindset isn’t, ‘OK, I’ve signed and I’m just going to jump right into Calgary.’ He’s eager to come to training camp next year, whenever that is, and show what he’s got. So it’s not like he’s resigning himself that he’s not going to make the team. But he also understands the process. What stuck out to me, when we were talking about the pros and cons of both options, is that he was like, ‘I just look at it a year from now, and if I’m in Stockton [Calgary’s AHL minor league affiliate] and I’m playing pro and I’m playing against those players, I’m that much closer a year from now.’ So I think his mentality is the right mentality. He’s driven, and he’s not afraid of the work.”

Pettersen began his collegiate career with a 30-point freshman season, posting the second-most points among Denver skaters, fourth-most among NCAA freshmen and receiving the team’s Barry Sharp Freshman of the Year award as well as the athletic department’s Pioneer Sportsman of the Year award as the top freshman. He missed only one regular season game in two seasons, but missed the NCAA Frozen Four in 2018 with a broken arm.

Internationally, Pettersen represented Norway at the 2016 and 2017 IIHF World U18 Championship Division I tournaments and most recently the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship – Division I Group A where he posted three goals and three assists in four games. Calgary selected Pettersen in the 6th round of the 2018 NHL Draft.

Tyler Ward (Photo: DU)

Ward, a Kamloops, BC native, had mostly third-line duties with the Pioneers over his first two seasons, compiled 15 goals and 34 points in 74 games with DU, with 19 of those points coming last season.  While official reasons for transfer are rarely divulged, most players who transfer leave because they see themselves playing a larger role than the coaches project for that player, and it’s the likely assumption that Ward saw a better opportunity to play a more prominent role at UNH, a school that also recruited Ward heavily in his junior hockey days.

The good news for Denver is the expected incoming transfers of Jandric and Hanson, who will reportedly come to DU next fall as graduate students with one year of immediate eligibility remaining, as they already will have earned their undergraduate degrees by the time next season rolls around.

Steven Jandric (right) playing against DU last season. Photo: Fairbanks Daily Miner

Jandric (5-11, 180 lbs.) was Alaska-Fairbanks’ leading scorer last season, scoring 13 goals and 33 points in 35 games as an all-WCHA first team selection. The Prince George, British Columbia-native had 13-18-31 in conference play, ranking fourth in goals, second in assists and and third in points in the WCHA. Jandric strung together a very impressive point-streak during the season, generating a goal and/or an assist in 12 straight games dating from January 11 through March 6. That streak included a natural hat trick against the University of Alaska Anchorage in game three of the Governor’s Cup series, where he scored three straight goals in the third period alone. Jandric has registered 80 career points in 107 games skating for UAF, exceeding all of his teammates, including his UAF 2020 senior class in career scoring.  Back in his junior hockey days before college, Jandric also edged fellow Pioneer Brett Stapley for the team scoring lead on the 2017 Vernon Vipers in the British Columbia Junior Hockey league, with 51 points to Stapley’s 50 points.

Bo Hanson (#12) playing against Wisconsin (Photo: St. Lawrence University)

Hanson, a 6-2, 205 pound defenseman, had 11 goals and 36 assists for 47 points in 102 games over his three years with the St. Lawrence Saints. He was St. Lawrence’s second-leading scorer with an impressive 19 points from the blue line as a junior last year . He’ll likely help fill the hole left by departing senior-to-be Ian Mitchell, who signed earlier this month with the Chicago Blackhawks. A native of Boise, Idaho,  Hanson also played in all 37 games as a sophomore and led the Saints’ defensive corps in scoring with four goals and 13 assists for 17 points, including a team-best 15 points in conference play, and leading the Saints in blocked shots with 68. He was the recipient of the team’s Peter McGeough Award as top defenseman that year and was a member of the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team, as well as an AHCA Scholar All-America. He is finishing his undergraduate degree in just three years in order to join the Pioneers as a grad student. Hanson is no stranger to Colorado, playing on the Colorado Rampage U16 youth team before playing his junior hockey days in the USHL.

6 thoughts on “Pettersen and Ward Leaving Pioneers, Jandric and Hanson Transferring In”

  1. Surprised and disappointed to hear these two are leaving. Bummer. I thought Ward developed into a really solid player the last two years. I’m not sure he was destined for superstardom, but he was a nice two-way player. 19 points last season, second on the team with a +13, responsible defensively, good skater, and likely to be even better next season. He seemed like a good fit. And he’s from B.C. Hard to envision him heading that far from home. I don’t know much about the UNH program, except that they’ve finished close to the bottom in Hockey East the last several years. Seems like an odd move, but hopefully it’s the right one for Ward.

    Losing Pettersen hurts. Leading scorer from last year, a dynamic player with the puck, good skater, effectively physical, etc. He would almost certainly have been one of top players in the NCHC and potentially an All-American. Tough tough loss for the program. Still, to have a shot at the NHL is something a kid can’t pass up. Good luck Emilio!!

    The graduate transfers sound promising, but it’s been rocky offseason of sorts to this point.

    1. 5/27/20

      Hey Puck Swami,

      I’m a hockey season ticket holder in section 14 SE corner. My tickets went up 40% for the 2020-21 season. I’m flabbergasted. Is the DU athletic department crazy? I have men’s hoops tickets as well. Two more guys just left the team. I wonder if my hoops tickets will go up too.
      Your thoughts?

      Stebbins Heights Pios Fan

      1. No, the athletic department isn’t crazy. I’m pretty sure that the reason for the rising costs of tickets has to do with demand and the rising costs of running a top 5 hockey program. -DU played to over 90% of capacity lin hockey last season. A 40% price increase is unusual, but not unheard of, and likely planned well before the pandemic hit. DU hockey, so long as fans can attend in person, is still a great value compared to other sports options in town. I’ve regretted many purchases ln life, but DU hockey tickets provide a higher return on joy than almost anything I purchase. Hoops? Well, that’s a substandard product right now, so price any price increases are harder to justify. DU has a core crowd of about 1,200 people who care about DU basketball. You can get a lower bowl seat for $12, which is the price of a movie, and for even less if you buy season tickets at $130 for the whole season in the lower bowl. Those prices are almost laughably low…

  2. Rocky offseasons are getting to be the norm for Pioneer hockey. With the Covid-19 concerns being what they are, I can hardly blame drafted players for signing pro contracts now. If the college season doesn’t happen next year (and there is a decent chance of next season getting truncated or lost), than that’s a lost development year for the player. These guys have their whole lives to finish college, but they don’t have their whole lives to be pro hockey players…

    Pettersen is likely not yet NHL-ready, but he’s certain can contribute as an AHL player and perhaps get spot duty in the NHL when an opportunity presents itself. Calgary had scouts at most (if not all) DU games and they know just what they are getting. Certainly, any time DU loses a leading scorer as an underclassman, it hurts.

    Ward is more curious. Likely on the border of being a steady top six player at DU, he will likely get more ice time on an improving UNH team. I wonder if Ward knew about Pettersen leaving, and if that would have changed his calculus, but the reality is that if you can’t crack the steady top 6 at DU by your junior year, pro hockey is probably not for you. Maybe he had other reasons for leaving, but my feeling is that if you don’t want to play for DU, go somewhere else.

    Jandric and Hanson will likely be helpful additions. In a big roster sport like hockey, these guys will likely fit in better than in basketball, where there are often team chemistry issues with grad transfers in a smaller roster sport.

  3. petterson is a huge loss for this team a well as ward I personally think that there is a serious coaching issue brewing with this team coach carle has horrible in game management and he has been able to hide it with outstanding goaltending the past 2 seasons … moving forward I think you will start to see the flaws with this coach and his lack of maturity at this level

  4. I think Carle has been doing great. Only bad mistake that I can recall was in the frozen four, not reviewing the head shot to save a timeout. But his assistants could have served him better on that one, too. Shame about Patterson, that is a big loss. He would have been a dynamic player next year for the Pioneers.

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