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.
When a Chancellor departs, it is not unexpected to have staff changes, and as Rebecca Chopp steps down from her Chancellor position this July, one of her key Vice Chancellor hires has decided to leave DU for Harvard University.
DU’s Armin Afsahi, DU’s Vice Chancellor for Advancement since 2015, has just accepted a similar executive position as Harvard’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Development for Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). Starting in July, Armin will lead the fundraising for FAS — the largest division at Harvard, which includes all undergraduate programs, some graduate schools, museums, libraries and athletics. Continue reading Armin Afsahi Leaving DU for Harvard→
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.
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 12th ranked Denver Pioneers (8-4, 3-1 Big East) men’s lacrosse team clinched a berth in the Big East Tournament on Senior Day, defeating Providence College (6-8, 2-2 Big East),14-8 before a sellout crowd of 2,187 at Barton Stadium on April 20.
“We had to keep shooting,” said DU coach Bill Tierney after the game today. “Everyone battled and we had a lot of guys score today…[Providence] is big, tough and extremely well-coached. We’re thrilled to get out of this one [with a win]…We [honored our seniors] one of the winningest senior classes in the country and they keep our winning culture and imparted that culture on the younger guys… We’re now playing for a [share of] a regular season championship, and we’ll have our hands full in Milwaukee [with Marquette] on Friday night.”Continue reading Denver Thumps Providence Friars, 14-8 to Seal Big East Tourney Berth→
University of Denver Chancellor Rebecca Chopp has announced that she will step down from her position on July 14, 2019, due to what she has termed “a complex neurological disorder”. DU Provost Jeremy Haefner has been named interim chancellor.
Chopp, the first female Chancellor at the University of Denver, was sworn into the position on September 18th, 2015. While recent speculation had centered around Chopp’s health, the announcement today was a surprise to many.
Prior to her arrival at the University of Denver, Chancellor Chopp was the 14th President of Swarthmore College. Chopp received her B.A. from Kansas Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before Swarthmore, Chopp was the president of Colgate University. Before arriving at Colgate in 2002, Chopp was Dean and Titus Street Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School. She spent 15 years at Emory University before her tenure at Yale.
At the University of Denver, Chopp has been noted for her support of first generation students, like herself. She has a reputation as a solid fund-raiser, and under her leadership, DU recently broke ground on major capital improvements. Also, DU is in the early stages of delivering on her envisioned ‘DU District’ with a comprehensive multiple-year plan for campus and University Park improvements.
As it relates to athletics, under Chancellor Chopp’s watch, the University of Denver continued to win the I-AAA Directors’ Cup as the best non-football school in DI athletics. Denver also won lacrosse (2015) and hockey (2017) NCAA championships, and Chopp hired DU’s new Athletic Director, Karlton Creech.
We wish Chancellor Chopp the very best in her health battle and thank her for her many contributions to the University of Denver.
The following letter was released today from Chancellor Chopp:
As some of you know, I have struggled with health issues this year. Unfortunately, the doctors I have been working with have diagnosed me with a complex neurological disorder that I need to attend to sooner rather than later. After many tests and consultations, I have decided I must step down as Chancellor on July 14. As Chancellor, the 70- to 80-hour work weeks and the stress that naturally is connected to higher education in these unsettled times just does not permit me enough time to focus on improving my health. I have just shared this news with the Board of Trustees who agreed that after I step down as Chancellor in July, I will continue to serve DU as an advisor on special projects. I am also deeply honored that they chose to designate me Chancellor Emerita when I step down.
This community has been so supportive of my husband, Fred, me and our family, and we deeply appreciate it. Now, I would request that you not ask for further details about my health at this time. We need privacy in order to move forward and make sense of this unexpected turn of events. I am sure you can understand and respect that. Thank you.
The most important thing for all of us is what happens next. DU could not possibly be in better hands. Jeremy Haefner, our Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, is a known leader in the future of higher ed and has quickly become “our” leader. The Board of Trustees has wisely decided that Jeremy is the natural and perfect choice to serve as Interim Chancellor beginning in mid-July. Nancy Nicely, our Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff, knows how to ensure our priorities are executed and our community is nurtured. And Leslie Brunelli, who will arrive at DU on June 3, brings an experienced and steady hand to her position as Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Treasurer. The Chancellor’s Cabinet is strong, we have amazing Deans and creative, dedicated and hardworking faculty, staff and students.
What an amazing five years we have spent together! It all began in 2014 when literally thousands of DU community members stepped forward to share their insights and experiences and help craft the next strategic vision for our University, DU Impact 2025. Together we agreed our emphasis should be on student learning and leading, discovery and design in an age of collaboration, engagement and empowerment in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West, and OneDU, the University’s shared sense of community and values. Embracing our commitments to diversity and inclusivity and sustainability, our common vision was to build on our strengths in research, teaching and service by developing a DU designed by all of us for the 21st century.
Recently we broke ground on the new residence, the Dimond Family Residential Village, one of three adjacent buildings in the heart of campus that also includes a Career Achievement Center and Community Commons. Together this new and vibrant community gathering space will reshape the way our community comes together and will provide countless opportunities to deepen our connections to one another, and to DU. I am confident we will continue to build towards OneDU as more and more community members step up to play their rightful roles in the implementation of this vision of all that DU can be. This is a magnificent University and as is our tradition, we continue to pursue excellence in our unique DU way. I know that the Board of Trustees is committed to building on the success of these five years and to continue to lean into our innovation, creativity, boundless energy and practical idealism.
I mean this sincerely–the greatest privilege of my life has been to work with you, to affirm our great strengths and imagine forward. You are, in the words of this simple Kansas girl, “good folks.” God bless you and I look forward to working beside you during this transition and in new and fulfilling ways after July 14.
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→
The #7 University of Denver hockey team’s offensive production has slumped, from scoring 3.5 goals per game in first 18 games of the season to 2.0 goals per game in the last 16 games (all of the last 16 were vs. NCHC opponents). In short, this is a bad time of year to be slumping, and the recent loss of the Gold Pan to rival Colorado College, getting swept with only a single goal to show for last weekend’s nearly 60 DU shots-on-goal, has brought the current DU offensive problems into high relief. Continue reading Pioneers’ slumping offense threatens postseason hockey hopes→
Senior attackman Austin French, who missed DU’s first four games of the season due to upper body injury, came back to the DU starting lineup with a vengeance to lift the eighth-ranked Pioneers (4-1) to 12-10 road victory over [15/20] North Carolina Tar Heels . The Pioneer road win ruined the christening of UNC’s brand new 4,000-seat Lacrosse and Soccer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday morning, Mar. 2.
French tied his career-high with a six point overall performance, and set a new career-high with five assists in the game to lead Denver. His ball distribution skills are critical to the flow of Denver’s offensive attack, and the Californian’s return to the lineup provided just the tonic DU needed to secure its first road win of the season. Continue reading Pioneer Lacrosse French-Fries North Carolina, 12-10 →