It is an exciting time to be an NHL hockey fan with a number of tight Stanley Cup playoff series and a red hot local squad – the Colorado Avalanche. Add a host of former DU hockey players to the playoff mix and first-year coach Jim Montgomery winning his first playoff series for the Dallas Stars and you have compelling story lines.
But many of us have our eyes on the New York Islanders. Yep, that’s right – the Isles.
Journalist Sasha Kandrach, a former LetsGoDU feature writer, is now on the Islanders beat as a reporter and social media coordinator living out her ‘dream job’. And, we couldn’t be more proud of the Islanders first-year journalist. Continue reading Pioneers in the Playoffs: Sasha Kandrach→
The NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament is returning to Colorado for the first time since 2008 when the Pepsi Center hosted the Frozen Four. This morning, the NCAA announced the 2020 & 2021 regional sites and hosts and the University of Denver’s bid to host the West Regional at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland in both of those years was selected. This announcement brings national postseason college hockey back to a state that has meant so much to the history of the sport.
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.
While the NCHC schedule is the usual meat grinder for Denver, it starts early on with a thud against Colorado College. DU students will be on break while their CC counterparts will still be studying blocks. This means, most students will not get to experience the Gold Pan rivalry until the final two conference games of the regular season – ouch.
The good news is the NCHC season starts quickly in mid-November when the Fighting Hawks roll into Denver (November 15th & 16th) for this fierce rivalry. Even better, Denver will not be traveling to Lawson Arena this upcoming campaign to face Western Michigan. The Bronco’s home has been a house of horrors for the Crimson and Gold. The Pioneers travel to play the defending national champions, Minnesota -Duluth, November 8th and 9th and the two foes hook up again at Magness Arena January 31st and February 1st. Continue reading Denver Announces NCHC Conference Schedule→
The University of Denver will deliver perhaps the slick tick-tack-toe goaltending move of the 2019 off-season. Out is Filip Larsson, the outstanding Swedish freshman goaltender for DU, who has signed a three-year entry level NHL contract on Monday, April 15th with the Detroit Red Wings, the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft. At DU, Larsson, 20, teamed with Devin Cooley to form one of the best goaltender tandems in College Hockey, leading Denver to the 2019 NCAA Frozen Four.
Without missing a beat, sources close to the DU program told LetsGoDU that the program anticipated Larsson’s early NHL signing and has lined up a replacement in the pipeline in 2018 5th-round Tampa Bay Lightning draftee, Magnus Chrona. He played in Northern Sweden for Skellefteå AIK J20 in the Swedish SuperElite Junior League. Outside one of the best names in hockey, the Pioneers landed the outstanding 6’4″, 209-lb Chrona, who also attended Tampa Bay’s Development Camp last year. While Chrona hasn’t yet officially signed with DU, it appears the Pioneers won’t miss a beat with the transition to next season. Continue reading DU Goaltending: Filip Larsson Out, Magnus Chrona In→
BUFFALO, N.Y. – In a game that will go down in the annals of college hockey history as an all-timer, the Denver Pioneers lost 4-3 in overtime to the UMass-Amherst Minutemen in the Frozen Four semifinal. For a team that was out to “Prove Them Wrong” all season long, this game was right in the Pioneers’ wheelhouse rallying with two goals in the final ten minutes of the third period to send the game to overtime before the Minutemen scored with 4:42 left in overtime to win it. When the rest of the college hockey world was convinced that a 3-1 deficit as a result of a three-minute nightmare in the first period was too much for the Pioneers to overcome, the boys in crimson did what they’ve done all year and “Prove Them Wrong” yet again. They just couldn’t finish the job in the extra frame. Continue reading Pioneers drop overtime Frozen Four thriller to UMass-Amherst→
The University of Denver is sponsoring a pre-game party in Buffalo, New York prior to Thursday’s NCAA Semi-Final between DU and the University of Massachusetts. DU is also sponsoring free TV watch Parties in selected large cities around the nation:
TV Watch Parties:
New York City
Old Greenwich, Conn.
For more information on party times and city TV party locations, and to register to attend, please follow this link:
The Denver Pioneers shut out Big Ten regular season champion Ohio State and Atlantic Hockey regular-season champion AIC in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament to clinch their third Frozen Four berth in four years. And this will be their first since winning the national title in 2017. Denver will face Colorado Avalanche draftee Cale Makar and the UMass-Amherst Minutemen in the national semifinal next Thursday night (4/11).
Denver was supposed to have a down year this year and despite all of the factors (that we’ve discussed ad nauseam to this point) that contributed to that supposition, the Pioneers are one of the final four hockey teams still playing hockey. Click to listen below as Chris Bayee of Magness Mayhem and I discuss the upcoming Frozen Four: