All posts by Puck Swami

Longtime University of Denver fan and alumnus.

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

Guttman Lifts Pioneers to 5-4 OT Comeback Win over Miami

Denver senior captain Cole Guttman rescued his fellow #5th ranked Pioneers from a road disaster in the making, scoring two extra attacker goals in the final three minutes of the third period, including the tying goal with just 11 seconds left, and then set-up the Mike Benning game-winner in overtime to down last-place Miami, 5-4 in overtime in Oxford, Ohio.

We’ll have more on this game later….

Part 2: Eight Pioneers Headed to 2022 Beijing Olympic Games

At least eight athletes who wear (or who have worn) the Crimson and Gold of the University of Denver Pioneers have been named to participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games by their respective Olympic Teams, slated to begin in China in February.  Part II of this two-part series, below, profiles four more DU alumni skiers headed to Beijing — three who have been named to the Canadian ski team (Amelia Smart, Trevor Philp and Erik Read) and DU skiing alumna Andrea Komšić, who will ski for Croatia in her third Olympic Games. Part I profiled the two DU athletes who are slated to represent Team USA – Current DU student and DU ski team athlete Katie Hansien and DU hockey alumnus Nick Shore, as well as DU hockey alumnus Juho Olkinoura and Pioneer alumna Nordic skier Jasmi Joensuu, who will both represent Team Finland. Continue reading Part 2: Eight Pioneers Headed to 2022 Beijing Olympic Games

Eight Pioneers Headed to 2022 Beijing Olympic Games – Part 1

At least eight current or past University of Denver athletes have been named to national teams participating in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, scheduled to begin in February. Two DU athletes are slated to represent Team USA – current DU ski team member Katie Hensien and DU hockey alumnus Nick Shore. Additionally, DU hockey alumnus Juho Olkinoura and cross-country ski alumna Jasmi Joensuu will represent Team Finland; three DU skiing alumni have been named to the Canadian ski team (Amelia Smart, Trevor Philp and Erik Read); and skiing alumna Andrea Komšić will ski for Croatia. This group of eight athletes is the largest contingent of Pioneers to go the same Olympic Games since 10 Pioneers participated in the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.

This story (Part I) outlines the careers of the first four athletes (Hensien, Shore, Olkinoura and Joensuu) while Part II will follow soon and will highlight DU’s Canadian ski contingent of three athletes and Komšić. Continue reading Eight Pioneers Headed to 2022 Beijing Olympic Games – Part 1

Puck Swami: DU Goes Hollywood, Stuns USC in Volleyball

I have a confession to make:

Like most of us spoiled Pioneer fans, women’s volleyball is not in my top handful of DU sports to watch. I know DU Coach Tom Hogan does a great job with what he has and the team is almost always a Summit League champion (or a contender for that title), but it seems like that’s been the ceiling on the program for a while now.  Beating South Dakota may be a good volleyball feat, but doing that is probably not going to move the needle very much at University and Asbury. To get average Joe fans like me interested in watching volleyball more regularly, DU probably needs to win beyond the Summit League level and become a national level, top-25 kind of program (as many of DU’s sports already are). Continue reading Puck Swami: DU Goes Hollywood, Stuns USC in Volleyball

Two Former Pioneer Swimmers, One Former Gymnast Selected for Tokyo Olympics

Former Denver Pioneer swimmers Bailey Andison and Adriel Sanes have been chosen by Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands, respectively, to swim for their countries at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, starting later this month in Tokyo, a year later than planned, of course, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and DU will also have gymnastics alum Simona Castro appearing in her third  Olympics for Chile, her home country. Continue reading Two Former Pioneer Swimmers, One Former Gymnast Selected for Tokyo Olympics