The Denver Pioneers hockey roster continues to change, as rising junior forward Emilio Pettersen has left DU to sign an entry level contract with the Calgary Flames, while fellow rising junior Tyler Ward is transferring from DU to the University of New Hampshire, where he will need to sit out a year. According to the Grand Forks Herald, DU will help mitigate these losses as the beneficiary of two incoming graduate transfers with immediate eligibility join the DU team next season in- all-WCHA forward Steven Jandric of Alaska-Fairbanks and defenseman Bo Hanson from St. Lawrence University of the ECAC. While DU has yet to publicly announce the two transfers, both transfers were confirmed to LetsGoDU last week. Continue reading Pettersen and Ward Leaving Pioneers, Jandric and Hanson Transferring In
Denver star defenseman Ian Mitchell scored one of the most memorable goals of his Pioneer career on a short-handed, unassisted breakaway — a decisive game-winning goal at 7:16 the third period, as the Denver Pioneers blew open a tight game in third period and cruised to 6-3 NCHC win over St. Cloud State University to delight the nearly 6,000 fans at Magness Arena in Denver. Continue reading Denver Pioneers Blow-Out St. Cloud St. Huskies in Series Opener, 6-3
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
Photo courtesy of Shannon Valerio / DU Athletics
DENVER – It was an interesting game Friday at Magness Arena when the Pioneers hosted Niagara. We knew it was going to be a steep hill to climb from the start for the Purple Eagles coming into Denver and facing a hot Pioneers team, but they didn’t help themselves by taking 11 minor penalties. Towards the end of the game, Niagara looked exhausted from defending their own goal but they battled to the end. Let’s see how this game unfolded. Continue reading Pioneers take first of two from Niagara 6-2
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
Photo: Courtesy University of Denver Athletics
We wrote about North Dakota’s hockey uniform changes earlier this week. But what about DU’s hockey uniform evolution?
In large measure, much of DU’s hockey uniform concept dates from the early years of the DU hockey program in the early 1950s, when the Pioneers introduced home and away jerseys in both crimson and white with crimson pants, with the school/city name “Denver” placed in arching letters across the chest. Those jerseys also had a large red, white and gold elbow striping on the sleeve and shins with a later matching stripe around the bottom of the jersey, which was added in the 1960s. Those cornerstone design elements, with some periodic typestyle and color evolutions, are still on the jerseys today and are crucial parts of the DNA of Denver’s hockey look and tradition. Continue reading DU’s Hockey Uniforms Grow in Appeal Over Time
Chris Butler picked a glorious way to end his 11-year professional hockey career, going out as a Stanley Cup winner.
Wearing the uniform of his hometown team, the St. Louis Blues, the 32-year-old former Pioneer defenseman took his final skate on NHL ice on June 12th, holding aloft the Stanley Cup Trophy that he’d helped his Blues to win, appearing in 13 NHL games last season. Over his career, Butler had appeared in 407 NHL games with St. Louis, Calgary and Buffalo, with the rest of his career spent mostly in the AHL, as well as a short stint in Sweden in 2012-13. Over his NHL career, he’d scored 14 goals and picked-up 72 assists for 86 points. Continue reading Former Pioneer All-American Chris Butler retires as Stanley Cup champ
July 1 was moving day for several former DU Pioneer Hockey players, most of whom signed new contracts as the NHL free agent signing window opened on July 1.
-Former DU forward Beau Bennett, who played only 5 games last year in the KHL with Dynamo Minsk in Belarus, signed a one-year NHL contract with the Arizona Coyotes. He last played in the NHL with St. Louis.
-Former DU forward Nick Shore, who played last year in the KHL in Russia with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, signed a one-year NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He last played in the NHL with Ottawa before signing in Russia last October.
-Former DU defenseman Dakota Mermis, who played most of last year as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL), signed a one-year NHL deal with the New Jersey Devils. He played one game in the NHL last season with Arizona.
-Former DU defenseman Josiah Didier, who helped lead the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL to a Calder Cup Championship last year, signed a one year AHL contract with the Providence (R.I) Bruins.
-Additionally, former DU defenseman Blake Hillman, who played all year in Rockford (AHL), became an unrestricted free agent when the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to re-sign him. Hillman has since since signed with the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) on July 26th.
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.
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