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
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.
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
Andre Shinyashiki had the last laugh.
Snubbed for the NCAA’s Hermann Trophy last season despite scoring the most goals (28) in an NCAA season in more than 20 years, Andre didn’t pout. He just graduated from the University of Denver and took his talents across town to Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids, where he went out and won the 2019 MLS Rookie of the Year Award. Continue reading 2019 DU Grad Andre Shinyashiki Wins MLS Rookie-of-the-Year with Colorado Rapids
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.
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
The entire season is on the line for the Denver Pioneers Men’s Lacrosse team today as the Georgetown Hoyas play DU for the Big East Championship (and the NCAA tournament auto-bid) at 2:30 PM MT at Barton Stadium.
The loser of today’s men’s game will have its season come to an end.
The Pioneers are looking for some revenge after DU lost to Georgetown in last year’s Big East Championship Game. DU also beat Georgetown earlier this season at Barton in regular season play. Game TV coverage is on CBS Sports Network.
The Denver women’s lacrosse team also faces Georgetown today for the Big East Women’s Championship and an NCAA auto-bid in Milwaukee. Game time is 12:30 MT.
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:
As expected, the NCAA Division I Ice Hockey Committee assigned the eighth-seeded University of Denver Pioneers with a trip to the West Regional in Fargo, North Dakota, where DU will host a first-round rematch with ninth-seeded Ohio State University from the Big 10, the school that ended DU’s 2018 season with a 5-1 NCAA second round regional drubbing in Allentown, Pa.
DU, the third-place team in the NCHC, will face OSU at 2 pm MT on Friday, March 29th . The game can be seen live on ESPNU. As the eighth-seed, DU will be the home team in Fargo and will have last line change. Continue reading Denver to Face Ohio State in NCAA Regional Hockey Rematch