All posts by Puck Swami

Longtime University of Denver fan and alumnus.

Pioneer Captain Dave Tomassoni (’75) Passes Away at 69

The Denver Pioneer hockey family lost an inspirational former team captain, David Tomassoni (Denver, ’75) who passed away from Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on August 11th in his native Minnesota. He was 69 years old. 

Tomassoni helped bring DU to two Frozen Fours in the 1970s and served as DU’s captain under coach Murray Armstrong in his senior season in 1974-75, before going on to a 16-year pro hockey career, mostly played in Italy. After his hockey career ended, he served for 30 years in the Minnesota State Legislature, retiring earlier this year following his 2021 ALS diagnosis. Continue reading Pioneer Captain Dave Tomassoni (’75) Passes Away at 69

Former DU Pioneers Help Power Avalanche to NHL’s Stanley Cup Championship

Logan O’Connor became the latest Denver Pioneer to become a Stanley Cup Champion: Photo: Sportsnet Canada

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. Continue reading Former DU Pioneers Help Power Avalanche to NHL’s Stanley Cup Championship

Legendary DU Goaltender George Kirkwood Passes Away at 84

There have been a lot of great goalies at the University of Denver over the years, and one of the best of them, George Kirkwood, passed away last month at age 84 in his native Edmonton, Alberta.

Kirkwood’s passing is surely sad news for his surviving family, former teammates, friends, and associates. And the Pioneer Nation — even those younger Pio fans who never had the chance to know him personally or watch him play — will remember his name and exploits for as long as hockey players skate for the University of Denver. Continue reading Legendary DU Goaltender George Kirkwood Passes Away at 84

Conference Realignment Hits Division I Men’s Lacrosse

It’s been a very busy spring in Division I lacrosse as multiple D-I schools will join new conferences next season, as the Atlantic 10 has just added lacrosse as a sponsored men’s sport, forcing two other conferences, the Northeastern Conference (NEC) and the Southern Conference (SoCon), to drop lacrosse for men for next season, as both conferences lost members to the A-10. Continue reading Conference Realignment Hits Division I Men’s Lacrosse

Puck Swami: Non-conference Opponents That DU Hockey Should Schedule

College hockey scheduling isn’t easy. There are now 63 teams playing Division I college hockey, and DU as a 72-year-old program has played most of them over the years.  Non-conference scheduling is a particular kind of art form, requiring just enough potential home wins to keep the fans (and bean-counters) happy, but not too many cupcakes either, or it can hurt your national Pairwise ranking, especially if there is an upset. Continue reading Puck Swami: Non-conference Opponents That DU Hockey Should Schedule

Puck Swami: Five Musings From a DU Fan in Boston

As one of the “elders” in the extensive and inspiring  LetsGoDU stable of writers, I thought I’d jot down some of my own musings after cheering on DU’s epic NCAA hockey championship weekend in Boston.

So much has already been written about how talented and clutch this Denver team was (and they were indeed that), but I think it’s important to state a few other things that don’t appear in the media as often as they should… Continue reading Puck Swami: Five Musings From a DU Fan in Boston

Could NHL Talent Karma be Ready to Strike Michigan?

Remember Denver hockey’s performance at the Allentown NCAA Hockey Regional in 2018?

Denver’s 2017-2018 team was head coach Jim Montgomery’s defending National Champion Pioneer squad, loaded with NHL-bound talent and NCAA Tournament experience. And by the end of that season, DU was rolling along on all cylinders, on a playoff hot streak, wiping out #8 Minnesota-Duluth 3-1, and then #1 SCSU, 4-1, to win the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, and then steamrolling #12 Penn State, 5-1 before thousands of the Nittany Lions’ home state fans in Pennsylvania in the first round of the Allentown (Pa.) Regional. The Pios were uber-talented, relentless and looked unbeatable. Everything looked great for the Pios to win one just more game for a berth in the 2018 Frozen Four. Continue reading Could NHL Talent Karma be Ready to Strike Michigan?

Denver Aims to Avenge Michigan Curse in NCAA Tournament

For the University of Denver Pioneers, playing against the University of Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Hockey Tournament has always seemed cursed, providing very painful memories for Pioneer Nation. For in all the proud history between these two of the three most successful programs ever (as measured by NCAA titles — Michigan’s nine and Denver’s eight NCAA crowns), the two schools have only met three times (2002, 1999 and 1964) in NCAA tourney play. And in all three games, Michigan was victorious. But it wasn’t just that Michigan won all three games — it was the especially painful manner in which they beat the Pioneers… Continue reading Denver Aims to Avenge Michigan Curse in NCAA Tournament

Juho Olkinuora is first DU Olympic Gold Medal Athlete Since 1952

Juho Olkinuora (lying on ice at lower right next to Olympic sign) is the first DU athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in 70 years. Photo:IIHF

University of Denver ice hockey alumnus Juho ‘Jussi’ Olkinuora (attd. DU 2011-13) won a 2022 Olympic gold medal for his native Finland on Feb. 20.  It took 70 years, but it was the first gold medal won by a DU athlete since Jerome Biffle’s gold medal for Team USA in the long jump in the 1952 Olympic Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland – ironically, Olkinoura’s home city. Continue reading Juho Olkinuora is first DU Olympic Gold Medal Athlete Since 1952