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
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
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.
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
The University of Denver Men’s Soccer team has been not only selected for the NCAA tournament, but rewarded with a #15 seed, a bye in the first round, and will host the winner of Air Force and Central Arkansas at DU on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 pm MT.
If the Pioneers should win that home game, they will face the winner of #2 seed Indiana University’s pod of Indiana, University of Connecticut or the University of Rhode Island in the third round. The full NCAA bracket is here: http://www.ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-men/d1/2018
There was certainly some concern last night that DU might not get to host an NCAA tourney game this season, as its RPI had fallen to #17 on the evening of tournament selection (only 16 teams are seeded, the other 32 at-large teams play each other for the right to advance to one of the 16 seeded home sites), but fortunately for DU, the NCAA tournament committee did not use straight RPI to seed the tournament.
In looking ahead, Air Force, with an at large bid, is the far better of the two teams (RPI#26) when compared with Central Arkansas (#67). However, Air Force is not playing well right now, having lost its last two games to Grand Canyon (#53 RPI). That said, Air Force being only an hour from the DU campus would likely bring more fans to DU for the game than Central Arkansas, the Champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.
For the Pioneers, it is likely that Sunday’s game will be the last home field opportunity to watch Senior Andre Shinyashiki play for DU. Shinyashiki’s 28 goals this season leads the nation by wide margin, and he may be enjoying the finest season ever for a DU athlete in any sport. He is one of the favorites for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s national equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football or the Hobey Baker award in college hockey. Should Andre win that award, he could be considered DU’s finest athlete in the modern era, given that there are only 60 teams playing D-I hockey, where DU has two Hobey Baker Winners, Matt Carle in 2006 and Will Butcher in 2017, the only two DU team sports athletes to win a national MVP trophy. Since there are 206 teams playing D-I soccer, Shinyshiki’s achievement would be arguably greater than Carle or Butcher. DU has also had individual NCAA D-I champions in gymnastics (Nina McGee in 2016), swimming (Jack Kelso in 1962) and many in skiing over the years, but it could be argued that individual national MVP awards in team sports are greater achievements, since there are opponents directly trying to physically stop an athlete from achieving them, versus individual sports where the clock or judges’ scoring determines win or loss status.
While Shinyashiki’s achievements are spectacular this year, detractors argue that most of his goals have come against lower level opponents, and that against top-25 teams, Andre’s goal scoring is much rarer. Let’s hope Andre and DU score more goals in the coming weeks, and that DU can advance deep into the tournament.
In any event, all DU fans should come to the soccer game this Sunday to cheer on Andre and the Pioneers in the NCAA tournament.
Denver Post Photo
Recently-graduated DU senior hockey goalie Tanner Jaillet is finally going to get his shot at professional hockey in Europe, as he has reportedly signed a tryout deal with German Elite League (DEL)’s Wolfsburg Grizzlies. The Grizzlies, who lost in last year’s German quarterfinals, recently lost their top netminder, Felix Bruckmann, to season-ending pelvic surgery. Jailett, an undrafted free agent, had hoped for NHL contract interest following his senior season, but the 5-10 goalie remained unsigned.
Jaillet, 24, had a long list of awards over his final two seasons as an NCAA goaltender, including all-NCHC, NCAA all-American and the 2017 Mike Richter Award winner as the top collegiate goaltender in America, when he led DU to the NCAA title. He finished his four-year DU career with an 82-27-16 record with a 2.04 GAA and a .925 career saves percentage. He leaves DU among the top DU goalies of all-time, sharing the all-time wins record with Ron Grahame (82) and remains in the career top five in a number of other statistical categories.
Jaillet will join former Pioneer defenseman William Wrenn on the Grizzlies, and will arrive in Germany on Monday, Aug. 13.
Logan O’Connor has signed with the Colorado Avalanche/Denver Post Photo
National Hockey League teams have feasted on the excellence of the Denver Pioneers hockey program this off-season, taking three of DU’s top forwards (Henrik Borgstrom, Dylan Gambrell and Troy Terry) before graduation, a top defenseman (Blake Hillman) early, its head coach (Jim Montgomery), and now, DU’s captain-to-be.
Logan O’Connor, an undrafted forward from Calgary, Alberta who was slated to become DU’s captain as a senior this season, signed a two-year NHL entry-level contract as a free agent with the Colorado Avalanche on July 23, thus ending his college career a year early. Continue reading PUCK SWAMI’S RAPID REACTION: LOGAN O’CONNOR SIGNS WITH AVALANCHE
Sports scheduling for the Denver Pioneers, in all sports, is often an elusive and frustrating exercise.
Being located in Denver is the largest problem, as playing here requires plane rides and hotel stays for all but a handful of DU’s D-I opponents, which is tough for non-revenue sports. We don’t have the exact figures, but it’s probably a safe bet that about 85% of DU’s opponents must fly here to play us, and likewise, DU needs to fly its own mostly non-revenue sports teams to 85% of its opponents — a dynamic that puts a lot of pressure on athletic budgets and eliminates many opponents for cost reasons.
Then there is the mile-high altitude here, a factor that still scares a number of opposing coaches from flatter places. For example, in 2004, the University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team, ranked #1 nationally at the time, came out here to play both DU and Air Force, and lost both games. The Cavaliers’ coach publicly blamed the altitude for their stumbles, and the Cavaliers have not appeared on the DU home schedule since then. Who knows how many other opposing coaches privately loathe our altitude? Continue reading Puck Swami: DU and the Elusive Art of Sports Scheduling in Denver
DU’s New Head Hockey Coach David Carle – Photo Credit: CBS
The University of Denver’s hiring of David Carle as its ninth hockey coach in nearly 70 years of program history is a hire that has elements of excitement, safety and risk baked -in, and the fact that it took three weeks for DU to announce it means that the hire was no slam dunk.
Carle does have a lot going for him. He has 10 years of seasoning as assistant coach with DU and Green Bay (USHL) under his belt, and can be seen as representing logical continuity of the great program-building that’s happened under former head coaches George Gwozdecky and Jim Montgomery, with the Pios making the NCAA tournament every year that Carle has been behind the bench. As one DU hockey alumnus texted me after the news, “I love this hire. [Carle’s] got the goods.” Continue reading Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU Balances Continuity with Risk in David Carle’s Hire as Head Hockey Coach
The hiring of University of Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech as DU’s new Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation looks to be a ‘safe’ hire for the University of Denver, likely to build incrementally on the legacy of the retiring Peg Bradley-Doppes, who spent the last 13 years in the position. Creech begins at DU on May 1, 2018.
DU wanted to hire a “sitting” AD and did just that. Creech will inherit a DU athletic program that is flying high as the best non-football athletic department in the country, but still faces many challenges going forward. Continue reading Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU’s Choice of Maine AD Karlton Creech is a “Safe Hire”