Tag Archives: College Sports

Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU Extends Coaching Legend Bill Tierney’s Contract through 2024

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DU lacrosse coaching legend Bill Tierney is now signed through 2024. Photo: DU

University of Denver men’s lacrosse head coach Bill Tierney has signed a contract extension to keep him DU through the 2024 season, DU Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Recreation and Ritchie Center Operations Karlton Creech announced in a press release on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Continue reading Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU Extends Coaching Legend Bill Tierney’s Contract through 2024

70 Years of DU Hockey History Part II: A Temporary Decline – 1970-1994

Our own Puck Swami has authored a four-part historical retrospective for the 70th anniversary of the DU Hockey program. This is Part II. Part One can be found here, and Parts III and IV will follow in the coming weeks. While these stories will run far longer than our usual stories, remember that 70 years is a lot to cover. Enjoy!

Given DU hockey’s successes in the program’s first 20 years, there was no reason to believe that the Pioneer hockey program was about to enter a 35-year period with no NCAA titles. After all, there was plenty of talent in the pipeline. In the early 1970s, DU leveraged its 1960s dominance to attract a number of star players who would move on the NHL — George Morrison, Peter McNab, Bruce Affleck, Rob Palmer, Mike Busniuk, Rich Preston, Mike Christie, Mike Lampman, Vic Venasky and Ron Grahame would all wear the Crimson and Gold in the early-to-mid 70s before moving on to the highest level. Continue reading 70 Years of DU Hockey History Part II: A Temporary Decline – 1970-1994

Puck Swami: Amazing 70th Anniversary Celebration Brings DU Community Together in Epic Style

On November 2 at Magness Arena, you could feel something powerful.

It was tradition — the glue that binds us all together as part of a special DU community.

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DU Goalie Michael Corson (center) who would go on to shut out Niagara in his first DU start —  perhaps the biggest night of his sports career to date — gets between-period encouragement from Buddy Blom, a goaltender who played for DU in the mid-1960s. The admiring look on Corson’s face encapsulated the feeling of the entire 70th Anniversary Weekend. Photo: University of Denver

Continue reading Puck Swami: Amazing 70th Anniversary Celebration Brings DU Community Together in Epic Style

70 Years of DU Hockey History: The First 20 Years 1949-1969

Our own Puck Swami has authored a four-part historical retrospective for the 70th anniversary of the DU Hockey program. Part One begins today, and the other three parts will follow in the coming weeks. While these stories will run far longer than our usual stories, remember that 70 years is a lot to cover. Enjoy!

As we celebrate 70 years of Pioneer hockey this coming weekend (Nov. 1-2, 2019), it helps to know just how far the DU Hockey program has evolved in those 70 years. The first 20 formative years saw DU go from a terrible start-up program to the dominant program of the 1960s as a five-time NCAA Champion. Part One of this series reviews those first 20 years of DU Hockey. Continue reading 70 Years of DU Hockey History: The First 20 Years 1949-1969

“Go Denver Pioneers” Spirit Fund’s First Signage to Debut Tonight

Those of you who contributed to the “Go Denver Pioneers Spirit Fund” over the last 12 months will see the first fruits of your donations tonight at the Denver vs. Boston College Hockey Game!

The spirit fund has purchased over 100 re-usable DU fan signs and banners (see examples in the photo accompanying this story) designed to enhance the game-day experience in multiple different sections around Magness Arena.  This new signage will be available for use during games by season ticket holders and students, and the DU athletic department is handling game-day distribution and end-of-game retention.

This first signage investment represents less than 1/6th of the current fund so stay tuned for more purchases to debut later this season!

To make your contribution to the Go Denver Pioneers Spirit Fund, click this link,

DU Men Escape With Lucky 2-1 Victory Over University of the Pacific Tigers

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Denver’s Bailey Heller (#4 at left) scored his first college goal with 10 minutes left in the game — the game-winner against Pacific, and earned a joyous celebration from his DU teammates. Photo: Jason Evans for LetsGoDU

Sometimes, the Soccer Gods can be cruel to our opponents, too.

In a very ugly defensive game that Denver frankly didn’t deserve to win, the Pioneers were able to do just enough on a pair of set pieces to sneak away with a 2-1 victory over the gutty and spirited University of the Pacific Tigers, before just over 500 fans at DU Soccer Stadium on this sunny October 6th afternoon.

DU redshirt Sophomore Bailey Heller’s half-volley game-winning goal in the 80th minute provided the thin margin of victory and the DU win was only the third in this brutal season to date. The Pioneers (3-6-2) were badly outplayed for much of the game by Pacific (3-7-1) from the West Coast Conference, who controlled the possession all afternoon, and outshot DU, 13-7 in the first-ever soccer game between the two schools. Continue reading DU Men Escape With Lucky 2-1 Victory Over University of the Pacific Tigers

Pioneer Soccer Upset Bid Falters Late in 2-1 Loss to #8 SMU Mustangs in Overtime

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DU’s Josh Drack (left) scored this go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute, but the Pioneers fell 2-1 to the Eighth-Ranked SMU Mustangs in OT.  Photo: University of Denver

This loss will be one the University of Denver Pioneer Men’s Soccer team will remember for a long time as eighth-ranked Southern Methodist University foiled DU’s late upset bid, ripping out the Pioneers’ heart with a game-tying goal in the final 2 minutes, then flat-out eating the Pioneers’ heart with a game-winner in overtime, 2-1 on Sept. 21 in Denver. The SMU win exacted revenge on the Pioneers for last year’s 1-0 Denver win over the Mustangs in Dallas.

Things were looking really good for DU as the second half clock ticked down in a tight game. DU’s Josh Drack had just scored a pretty go-ahead goal for the Pioneers with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation time, against the run of play in the second half, and the Pioneers were suddenly leading #8th ranked SMU, delighting a large crowd of over 1500 fans at DU soccer stadium on “Bark-in-the-Park” night home opener.

But with the big upset seemingly just within the Pioneers’ grasp, the DU wheels came off in the final two minutes of regulation, as SMU’s Garrett McLaughlin poked-home a game-tying goal with just 1:25 left in regulation in a goal-mouth scrum, forcing overtime at 1-1.

And once again, DU found a way to lose on overtime this season, letting SMU’s leader Eddie Munjoma dance free for a rocketing shot that beat DU goalie Will Palmquist to win the game for the Mustangs in the third minute of overtime.

SMU had dominated the second half of the contest, out shooting DU 12-3 after DU was better in the first half, as DU missed some strong chances to score early in the contest.

SMU improved to 7-0-0 on the season, and the Pioneers fell to 1-5-1.

 

Adler’s Goal Lifts Pioneers to 1-0 win over Kent State Golden Flashes

Senior Hannah Adler (Oak Park, Calif.) came through with her third goal in two games, scoring the only goal of the contest, at 38:41 of the first half to lift the Denver Pioneers to a 1-0 shutout of the Kent State Golden Flashes from the Mid-America Conference (MAC) on Aug. 31st at the Denver soccer stadium. The win was Denver’s fourth shutout in a row, and kept DU undefeated at 3-0-1 on the young season.

Kent State, who pushed CU last Thursday in Boulder before falling 2-1, fell to 0-3-1 overall with the loss to Denver. Continue reading Adler’s Goal Lifts Pioneers to 1-0 win over Kent State Golden Flashes

Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: WCHA Upheaval Was Predictable and Money-Driven

While some people were taken by surprise by last Friday’s announcement that seven WCHA schools’ intentions to pull out of the conference to form a more “regionally aligned” conference in 2021-22, it should not be all that surprising given huge influence of money and how it underpins most decisions in college sports. 

On the surface of it, the expensive and time-consuming league trips to regional outliers in Alaska (to play Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska-Fairbanks ) and Alabama-Huntsville are unappealing to most WCHA schools. These schools’ desire to form a more regional ‘bus league” to save money is a huge driver in the decision, especially as WCHA schools are smaller-budget institutions without many sources of revenue beyond the tickets they can sell. The reality is that the WCHA is a third-tier league today in terms of hockey budgets.   

Those money interests have become more acute recently, as both the University of Alaska-Anchorage and University of Alaska-Fairbanks programs had moved onto their own very shaky financial ground of late— the latest news coming this week as Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy vetoed over $400 million from the state’s proposed budget, including over $100 million ear-marked for the state university systems.  This move may financially eliminate all athletics at both schools. Both UAA and UAF were already in the process of moving their hockey team’s game night facilities to their smaller, sub-2,000 seat on-campus practice facilities to spend less money, away from the larger city-owned facilities that each school has played in for many years.

The University of Alabama-Huntsville (coached by former DU player Mike Corbett) is in a bit better shape than UAA or UAF, committing recently to building a new on-campus arena.  But UAH does not subsidize opponent air travel to Alabama as the Alaska schools must to Alaska, and UAH has also had financial concerns in program support in recent years.

Don’t be surprised if the WCHA looks to the AHA to replace the Alaska schools and UAH with more “buss-able” replacements in Pennsylvania, such as Mercyhurst and Robert Morris to backfill the league.

Moreover, there is plenty of historical precedent for this kind of financially-motivated decision in the WCHA.

First, the recent formation of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) that helped break up the WCHA in 2012-2013, led largely by DU and North Dakota, was not only a necessary competitive response to the formation of Big 10 hockey conference (which resulted in the WCHA losing Wisconsin and Minnesota), but an acknowledgement of different financial support philosophies for college hockey.

DU and UND did not like the cost-containment, low-investment mentality of some of the remaining WCHA schools at that time. Moreover, DU and North Dakota did not like being outvoted by these slow-growth, small-market WCHA members who not only would not invest in the future of the league, but who also propped up then-commissioner Bruce MacLeod’s slower, low-investment leadership style with a secret contract extension.  If you remember, the key phrase of the NCHC when it was formed, it was “like-minded schools.”  Given the cost-containment mentality in the WCHA, it is not surprising that schools that cost too much would be eventually pushed out.

Indeed, the entire organizational membership history of the WCHA since its formation in 1960 has been based on defensive reaction to circumstances rather than some grand western strategy to dominate college hockey.

In 1960, the WCHA was formed as a reaction to the predecessor league (WIHL)’s collapse in 1959 over different recruiting practices and a lack of league playoff system.

In 1981, the WCHA almost imploded again when Michigan’s then-athletic director, Don Canham, led a mass defection with Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Notre Dame leaving the WCHA to join the what was then the CCHA as ‘bus league” to avoid air travel to Colorado to play DU and CC, leaving only six WCHA members.  While Michigan Tech eventually came back to the WCHA in 1983, the other schools never did. By the way, Michigan has never played DU in regular season play since 1980-81, the last season Michigan was in the WCHA.

In other words, follow the money.

Puck Swami is the internet moniker of a long-time DU fan and alumnus. He shares his views periodically here at LetsGoDU.

Hoch-Bullen’s 5 Goals Leads Denver to NCAA Elite Eight in Historic 9-5 Revenge Rout of Michigan

#17 DU shocked 7th-ranked Michigan in a 9-5 second round upset in the NCAA Tournament May 12. Photo: DU

The 17th-ranked Denver Pioneers (16-3) women’s lacrosse team made school history on May 12, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Mich., exacting a revenge upset on the #7th-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines (16-4) , 9-5 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. DU now advances to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history, and will play the top-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins on May 18 at 5pm MT for a trip to the NCAA final four.

Michigan had beaten Denver 12-10 at DU’s Barton Stadium earlier this season, and the Pioneers were in no mood to allow Michigan to win again. Continue reading Hoch-Bullen’s 5 Goals Leads Denver to NCAA Elite Eight in Historic 9-5 Revenge Rout of Michigan