The Colorado Avalanche’s third Stanley Cup Championship was won in Tampa, Florida with a 2-1 victory in Game Six over the Tampa Bay Lightning, making Denver into the new “Hockeytown USA”, as the Avalanche joined the 2022 NCAA Champion University of Denver and USA’s Hockey High School Division II National Champion Denver East High School for a troika of Denver hockey titles in 2022.
The Avalanche victory was helped along by former DU Captain and 2017 NCAA Champion Logan O’Connor, who won his first Stanley Cup Championship as a winger on the Avalanche. According to College Hockey History Twitter, O’Connor is believed to be the first NCAA Champion and Stanley Cup Champion to play for teams in the same city (Denver). O’Connor is now the second Pioneer to win both NCAA and Stanley Cup trophies. John MacMillan, who won two NCAA titles with DU in 1958 and 1960, as well as two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1962 and 1963, was the first.
O’Connor also joined a select group of other fellow DU Pioneers (besides MacMillan) who have also won the vaunted trophy as NHL players, coaches or management.
Pioneers Tyler Bozak and Chris Butler won Stanley Cups with the St. Louis Blues as players in 2019, along with former 1970s Pio d-man Bruce Affleck, an EVP of the Blues.
DU forward and Hockey Hall-of -Famer Glenn Anderson, who played for DU in 1979-80, is the most decorated DU Stanley Cup winner, winning six Stanley Cups in his career, mostly with the Edmonton Oiler dynasty of the 1980s. Former DU captain and two-time NCAA Champion (’68-’69) Craig Patrick won two Stanley Cups as the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s, while DU Pioneer forward Beau Bennett won a Stanley Cup in 2016 playing with the Penguins.
Kevin Dineen, who captained the Pioneers in 1982-83, was an assistant coach on the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, while Dineen’s brother Shawn, who played at DU just before Kevin, owns a 1996 Stanley Cup ring with the Colorado Avalanche as a scout. Former DU player and head coach Marshall Johnston got his name on the Stanley Cup as part of the front office with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
Other former DU coaches who also won Stanley Cups include the late Ralph Backstrom (who won six Stanley Cups as a player with the Montreal Canadiens in the ’50s and ’60s) and Derek Lalonde, a former DU assistant coach who won two Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021 as an assistant coach with Tampa Bay.
Other former DU hockey players working with the current Avalanche NHL Champions include broadcasters Peter McNab, and Mark Rycroft, as well as Altitude TV producer Doug Menzies. Former DU PA announcer Conor McGahey is also an Avs broadcaster, while Avs VP Of Hockey Administration Charlotte Grahame gets her name on her third Stanley Cup with the Avs, and is the wife of former Pio legend Ron Grahame, who played, coached and administrated with DU for nearly 50 years until retiring in 2019. Charlotte is also the mother of former Pioneer player Jason Grahame, and Stanley Cup-winning goalie John Grahame. Former DU Volunteer Coach Steven Reinprecht is the Avalanche’s Development Coach, and last but certainly not least is Avalanche Writer & Digital Content provider Sasha Kandrach, a DU and LetsGoDU alum – we are so immensely proud of everything she’s done since her time at DU and with us and we’re so happy for her tonight!!