Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Minnesota State University Mavericks

Alltel Center, Mankato, Minnesota
December 12-13, 2008

(above) The Alltel Center in Mankato

The No. 5/6Denver (11-5-1, 7-4-1 WCHA) Pioneers travel to #14 MSU-Mankato (8-5-3, 5-5-2 WCHA) for a two-game WCHA series on Dec. 12-13 in Mankato, Minn. Puck drop is set for 6:37 p.m. MT on Friday and 6:07 PM MT at Alltell Center- both games can be heard on AM 560 in Denver and

DU owns a 14-13-4 advantage over MSUM in the series that dates back to 1997. DU is 5-9-2 including a 1-5-2 in its last eight games against the mavericks, including the memorable 8-7 ‘meltdown’ loss in 2003 when the Pioneers blew a 7-1 lead after losing a number of players to injuries. The last time DU swept the Mavs in Mankato was in 2001.

Mavericks to Watch
MSUM was swept last week by SCSU in a home and home series, and will likely be agitated this weekend. The best player on the Mavs is defenseman Kurt Davis, who anchors the Mav blueline and leads all WCHA defensemen in scoring with 5-16-21, and works the Mavs power play (17.8%). Davis may be the most underrated player in the conference. Offensively, the Mavs have Mick Berge (18 points) and Mike Louwerse with 14, and a senior goalie in Mike Zacharias, whose 8-7-3 record, 2.76 GAA and .911 saves percentage is a considerable upgrade from what the Pios experienced last weekend at MTU.

About Minnesota State University
With more than 14,500 students including nearly 500 international students from 66 countries, MSUM is located on 300 acres overlooking the Minnesota River Valley some 85 miles south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MSUM is the third largest higher educational institution in the state and is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

The school was originally founded (like WCHA brothers SCSU and UMD) as a state teacher training school. Mankato Normal School, the first name of the university, was founded in 1868, and served 27 students when it opened. In 1921, the school became Mankato State Teachers College and began offering two- and three-year degrees. In 1939, the first four-year degrees were awarded; the first master's degrees were awarded in 1954.

By 1956, enrollment exceeded 3,000. The school then became Mankato State College in 1957, with enrollment of 7,000; In 1975, the name changed again, when MSC became a full-fledged Mankato State University, as enrollment had grown to 14,000 students. In September of 1998, citing a goal of making MSU "the other great public University in Minnesota," then-president, Dr. Richard Rush announced that Mankato State University would become known as Minnesota State University, Mankato, the name it retains today. While some people still call the school Mankato or Mankato State, the proper name of the school is now Minnesota State University, Mankato.

MSUM offers more than 150 programs in six undergraduate colleges, and 82 programs in the College of Graduate Studies. The school's most popular majors are: Business, Education, Health Professions, Computer and Information Science, and Criminal Justice/Corrections, with a majority of students hailing from Minnesota.

About the Minnesota State Hockey Program
Southern Minnesota does not have quite the depth of hockey culture that central and northern Minnesota does, so it’s no surprise that MSUM’s program is a relative newcomer in the grand scheme of Minnesota and WCHA hockey.

While club hockey had been played on campus for years, varsity hockey did not arrive until the late 1960s, when a young coach named Don Brose (left) was able to elevate the club team to NCAA Division II status in 1969-70. Brose would become the one man synonymous with Maverick Hockey for the next 30 years as head coach, as he took the program from club level to the pinnacle of Division II, and then on to Division I, and ultimately, membership in the WCHA.

Brose was able to build his program to Division II Championship status inside of 10 years. His 1977-78 team knocked on the door, becoming NCAA Division II runner up, and the next season, the program was determined to break the door down. The Mavericks went 30-9-1 in 1979-90, won the NCAA Division II National Championship, and Brose was AHCA Coach of the Year. He would go on to 11 NCAA tournament appearances, several more podium finishes, a .606 career winning percentage (536-335-79) and produced 31 Division II all-Americans in his Mankato career. Brose would go on to earn the respect of the entire coaching fraternity, as one of the gentlemen who taught more than the game to his charges.

By the 1990s, the school administration had seen St. Cloud State, a fellow Minnesota State College member, elevate its program to the a viable WCHA member, and with a new 5,000 seat arena named for a local Wireless Company being built in downtown Mankato the opportunity for Division I status beckoned.

The first MSUM team to be a Division I squad appeared in 1996-1997 as an independent, and went 17-14-3, a winning season right out of the game. After three seasons as a D-I independent, the 1999-2000 season saw the Mavericks join the WCHA in Brose’s 30th year as coach. He would proudly take the Mavericks into the WCHA as his swan song in coaching, retiring with a 21-14-4 record.

In 2000-2001, Troy Jutting became coach of the Mavericks, and in only their fourth season in the WCHA, the Mavericks had their greatest season to date in 2002-2003. That year, the Mavericks were less by a dynamic duo of offensive stars, Shane Joseph and Grant Stevenson, who would go on to post 65 and 63 points respectively, leading the Mavs to a second place finish in the WCHA, and an incredible unbeaten stretch between December 13th and February 22 when the Mavs went 13-0-4. The great season resulted in an NCAA berth in the East Regional, where the Mavs fell to Cornell, 5-2, in the school’s only NCAA appearance to date.

Minnesota State Traditions
Since 1977, MSU athletic teams have been called the Mavericks. Prior to that, MSU teams were called the Indians beginning from 1935 -77, and before that the teams were known, variously, as the Peds (short for pedagogue "meaning school teacher or educator"), the Orangemen" and the "Purples."

The 2008-09 season marks the 32nd year for MSU teams to be called the "Mavericks."

The old name, "Indians," was dropped after a 10-year debate, for several reasons, the main objection coming from Native Americans. Another reason was that the school had switched conferences, joining the Northern Intercollegiate and it was felt that it was a good time for a fresh start. Douglas Moore, MSU's president at the time, asked University Relations Director John Hodowanic to begin working on changing the title and a group composed of interested students, faculty, and alumni brainstormed for a list of nearly 75 nicknames. The name "Mavericks," originally suggested by MSU Education Professor Roy Cook, was ultimately chosen over other popular tags such as "Muskies" and "Lightning."

The first design of the nickname was a horse, but Moore maintained that the design too closely resembled the "Golden Mustang" used by Southwest State - another NIC school. Eventually Moore, a native of Texas, suggested it be changed to a steer. It may have had something to do with the many Maverick longhorn steer in the Lone Star state, but the idea stuck and was accepted.

The MSU Athletics logo, itself, has gone through a transition of sorts, with the original design - the words "Mavericks" inside a line drawing of a bull, used from 1977 until 1995. The next logo featured a line drawing of a bull and was first used in the fall of 1995. The third generation design was incorporated in the spring of 2001 and a new rendering was unveiled in the fall of 2004.

MSUM’s school colors were purple and gold, just as they are now. But in a homecoming game in 1936, MSU lost a coin toss to Winona (Minn.) State, who had the same colors. Our teams then wore orange and black or orange and dark blue until 1956 when purple and gold were officially reinstated as the official school colors.

MSUM hockey crowds are perhaps known for playing the well known soccer song (Ole, Ole. Ole) after goals, and for fans sporting cowbells to compliment the Maverick steer visual mascot.

Minnesota State Rouser Lyrics
Hail to our colors, the purple and the gold.
Rally for vict'ry, We're back of you so fight, fight, fight.
You'll conquer our foes all you Mav'ricks brave and bold.
So fight on Minnesota State, Come on let's go, let's go!

Famous Minnesota State alumni

David Backes (ice hockey) - NHL forward, St. Louis Blues (hockey)
Ryan Carter - NHL forward, Anaheim Ducks
Jim Dilling - High jumper, 2007 USA Outdoor Champion Donald D. Gerdts - Co-founder, KOCE-TV
Jennifer Hudspeth - Miss America 2007, Minnesota
Tim Jackman - NHL forward, New York Islanders
Jon Kalinski - NHL forward, Philadelphia Flyers organization
Michael Martin - Chancellor, Louisiana State University
Dennis Miller - former President and CEO, Midwest Wireless
Brad Nessler - Sports commentator, ESPN/ESPN on ABC
Grant Stevenson - NHL forward, Atlanta Thrashers
Melissa Peterman - Actress, Reba (TV series)
Glen Taylor - Founder, Taylor Corporation and Owner, Minnesota Timberwolves
Steven Wagner - NHL defenseman, St. Louis Blues (hockey)
Cedric Yarbrough - Actor, Reno 911!

About Mankato, Minnesota
Mankato is a city of 32,000 located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers in South Central Minnesota, and is the County Seat of Blue Earth County, with about total 85,000 people in the greater Mankato area.

The city was first settled by Parsons King Johnson in 1852, and the city was founded in 1858, as a safe place for building and safe from river flooding. While one popular story exists that the Mankato name was a mistake, with a clerk supposedly misspelling “Mahkato” when he was looking at an explorer’s book naming the local Blue Earth River, the more likely origin is the local river was called Makato Osa Watapa by the local Dakota Indians.

Mankato has a grisly place in American History, as it best known as the sight of the largest mass execution on US soil, when 38 Dakota Native American were hanged in 1862 for participation in an uprising against local citizens. President Abraham Lincoln, at odds with local populace, had pardoned 265 of the 303 people arrested at the behest of a local bishop, but the other 38 swung from nooses on what is now the site of the Blue Earth County Library.

By 1870, the population had grown to 3,000, and 12,000 by 1920, 19,000 by 1950 and 32,000 by 2000.

The largest local employer today is the Taylor Corporation (4,500), and the most famous Mankato resident is probably writer Sinclair Lewis.

The city is probably best known as the home of the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp, where for the last 40 years, the Vikes have made MSUM their summer home, the second longest NFL camp residence behind Green Bay’s camp at St. Norbert’s College in DePere, Wis.

Mankato is also the home of the Happy Chef restaurant chain, including the original Happy Chef restaurant with a 40 foot statue, and was named “funniest city in America” by Hallmark Cards in 2004.

The Series
While the Pioneers are flying along on a five game win streak and outscoring opponents 26-3 and Minnesota State was swept last weekend, the conventional wisdom would say that DU is in the drivers’ seat this weekend. But anyone who knows DU’s recent adventures in Mankato, which include a 1-5-2 record the last eight games at Alltel Center against the Mavs, knows that strange things happen in this series, especially when these teams meet in Mankato.

With DU missing their best defenseman this week (Patrick Wiercioch is in Ottawa, Ontario attending the Canadian Natonal Junior Team selection camp), the Pios will need to compensate his absence from the lineup. Given that DU has struggled when Wiercioch was last out of the lineup for an injury, it will be very hard for DU to replace Wiercioch’s transition-starting first pass, and his power-play skills.

I think DU has the offensive and goaltending advantage this weekend, but I think the Mavs have the defensive edge, as Davis gives the Mavs the equivalent of what Wiercioch gives the Pioneers. DU will need to disrupt Davis, and keep him from feeding players like Berge. Playing at home also helps the Mavs, although DU might enjoy the larger ice surface.

Prediction: Split. MSUM wins Friday, 3-1. Denver wins Saturday 4-1

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Michigan Technological University Huskies

MacInnes Student Ice Arena, Houghton, Mich.
December 5-6, 2008
(above) Blizzard T. Husky

The Series
The No. 7/8 Denver (9-5-1, 5-4-1 WCHA) Pioneers travel to Michigan Tech (2-11-1, 1-8-1 WCHA) for a two-game WCHA series on Dec. 5-6 in Houghton, Mich. Puck drop is set for 5:07 p.m. MT both nights at MacInnes Student Ice Arena - both games will be webcast live on

DU owns a 101-81-18 advantage over Michigan Tech in the series that dates back to 1951. DU split (1-0 win, 2-1 loss) a two-game series last season at Tech. DU is 1-2-1 in its last four games at Tech and 6-2-2 in its last 10 games against the Huskies overall.

Huskies to Watch
Michigan Tech is struggling, and is winless in its last nine contests at 0-8-1. The Huskies were swept last weekend at Bemidji State (3-0, 2-1) to extend their losing streak to five games. The Huskies are led by sophomore forward Jordan Baker (7-2--9) and junior blueliner Drew Dobson (0-9--9). Forwards Brett Olson and Malcolm Gwilliam, who recently suffered a year-ending (and perhaps career –ending) illness have added seven points each, while Rob Nolan (1-8-1, 3.02 GAA, .890 Saves percentage%) and Josh Robinson (1-3-0, 2.96 GAA, .865 SV%) have shared goaltender duties.

About Michigan Tech University
Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech or MTU) is public university of about 7,000 students on a main campus mostly located on the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan in the city of Houghton.

Michigan Tech was founded in 1885 as the Michigan Mining School. Established by the state of Michigan to train mining engineers to operate the then-booming local copper mines on the UP, the school started with four faculty members and twenty-three students. The name soon changed to the Michigan College of Mines (MCM), then Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MCMT), and, in 1964, greatly expanded academic offerings propelled the school to its current designation as Michigan Technological University Although engineering is MTU’s dominant reputational claim to fame and still accounts for some 55 percent of all enrollment, the University also offers more than 120 degree programs, including natural and physical sciences, computing, business, technology, environmental studies, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Michigan Tech is ranked among the top half of all 249 national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s "America’s Best Colleges" and is ranked a "tech powerhouse" by the Princeton Review's "Best 361 Colleges." Michigan Tech is also ranked among the top 500 universities in the world by Shanghai Jiaotong University and number 159 in the nation by Washington Monthly Magazine. In 2007, PC Magazine ranked Michigan Tech the seventh most wired campus in the nation, and U.S. News and World Report ranked five graduate engineering programs among the best in the nation: earth sciences, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and materials science and engineering.

Michigan Tech students are primarily from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois, and about 11 percent are from outside the United States.

Michigan Technological University's Enterprise Program is considered by many to be the University's defining feature. Originally designed and implemented in the fall of 2000, the Enterprise Program allows students from different disciplines to work together to function as a professional company.

About Michigan Tech Hockey Program
Michigan Tech has one of the deeper and more interesting history and traditions in all of college hockey, dating back to the turn of the 20th century. At that time, (especially for a four year period between 1903 and 1907), the little copper mining town of Houghton, Michigan was the start and epicenter of early professional hockey in North America. With Copper being pulled out of the nearby mines, entertainment was needed for the miners, and early professional hockey was seen just the ticket, some ten years before the founding of the National Hockey League in 1917. The top pro players in all of Canada and the United States were recruited to play for the local team, the Portage Lakers, who became “world champion” in that era with a number of players that were later enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. That era ended when Canadian teams began offering more money, but for a while, Houghton will be always known as the birthplace of pro hockey.

At the turn of the century, local entrepreneurs had built a large indoor arena called the Amphidrome (left) to house the new sport, and it wasn’t long before the local college kids also began playing against local teams. Michigan Tech (then called the Michigan College of Mines) students first laced up the skates in around that time (see photo). By 1913, the local entrepreneurs also created a trophy called the MacNaughton Cup (named after the president of the local mining company, James MacNaughton) that was presented to local amateur teams. That trophy is now presented to the WCHA regular season champion, and remains under the stewardship of Michigan Tech.

The first school sponsored team appeared in 1919, and by 1920-22, Tech was facing teams such as Michigan, Notre Dame and Minnesota as well as local non-college teams in a sporadic, independent schedule. Some of the first coaches of the early Michigan Tech teams were Leon Harvey, Elmer Sicotte, Carlos (Cub) Haug, and Ubald J. (Bert) Noblet. Tech also played its early games in the Amphidrome, until it burned down in 1927, and was replaced by a quickly-constructed second wooden Amphidrome that year. That second arena, later renamed Dee Stadium in the 1940s (named after the builder, James Dee) would become the hockey home of the Huskies until the early ‘70s, and still stands today as a municipal ice arena for the City of Houghton.

By 1929-30, the school wanted to become more ambitious with its hockey program and then-coach Bert Noblet arranged for the hockey team to go on an Eastern tour to play against prominent Ivy League schools, such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Tech went winless on the tour but made the East aware of its hockey program. Additionally that season, Michigan Tech also whipped a local team from Eagle River, 30-0, to set a national one game scoring record that still stands.

While Michigan Tech continued to play hockey through the 1930s and 1940s, the Huskies accrued only two winning seasons in those 20 years. In 1948, Amo Bessone was named head coach of the Huskies. Bessone who would later become a legend coaching at Michigan State, had to deal with a terrible tragedy when on Jan. 14, 1950, Huskie player Bob Gitzen and team manager Dick Loutit were killed in an early morning bus accident on the trip home from a series at Michigan State. Bessone moved on to coach North Dakota in 1951, to be replaced by Al Renfrew. Michigan Tech then joined the newly formed Midwestern Intercollegiate Hockey League (the forerunner of today’s WCHA) that season. Renfrew’s next four seasons did not produce a winner, but in his 5th season, Renfrew’s 1955-56 squad went 21-7 to finish second in the league, and beat Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., 3-1, to earn the school’s first NCAA tournament bid to the Broadmoor Ice Palace in Colorado Springs for the four-team NCAA tournament. Michigan Tech won its first NCAA game in the semi-final, beating Boston College, 10-4 with the help of four goals from Ron Stenlund, but two nights later, the Huskies lost to Michigan, 7-5 in NCAA final. While Michigan Tech may have lost the championship game that night, the foundation was being laid for the glory years of the Michigan Tech hockey program.

The ‘glory years’ are synonymous with one big name: coach John MacInnes (left), who was named head coach at Michigan Tech on Nov. 30, 1956. Born in Toronto, Ontario, he had played goalie for the University of Michigan in the 1940s and also played for the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL before coming to MTU, where he would go on become one of the NCAA’s great coaching legends from 1956 to 1983, compiling a record of 555-295-39.

MacInnes’ first major milestone game would come in 1960, when Michigan Tech upset the U.S. Olympic Team, 5-2, in Houghton. That U.S. team went on to win the Gold Medal in Squaw Valley, Calif. the next month. Later that season, Michigan Tech beat North Dakota 4-3 and 5-4 in the WCHA playoff series held in Houghton to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four in Boston. Michigan Tech beat St. Lawrence 13-3 in NCAA semifinal game behind hat tricks from Gerry Fabbro and Lou Angotti. Michigan Tech also set an NCAA record, netting five goals in a span of 2:51 in that game. That record still stands today, but that would be the end of the joy that season, as the Huskies lost to Murray Armstrong’s Denver Pioneers, 5-3, in NCAA final at the Boston Arena (left).

The next season, Tech got a little bit of revenge on the Pioneers, when on December 12, 1960 Tech beat Denver 3-2 in Houghton on a Jerry Sullivan goal, overcoming a 2-0 first period deficit to hand the Pioneers their only defeat in DU’s magical 30-1-1 season, a Denver season that is regarded by many as one of the finest seasons in college hockey history.

1961-62 was a season for the ages at MTU as the Huskies went 29-3, with all three losses to Michigan. Michigan Tech was red hot down the stretch and did not lose a game after Jan 6, running off 12 straight before beating Minnesota 3-2 in overtime to record its first-ever first-place finish in the WCHA, and winning the school’s first ever MacNaughton Cup. Later, Michigan Tech stuffed Michigan and Michigan State in the WCHA playoffs, earning a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four in Utica, N.Y. where they obliterated St. Lawrence (6-1) and Clarkson (7-1) to claim the team’s 20th straight win and the 1962 NCAA Championship.

In 1964-65, the Huskies put together another magical year (24-5-2), defeating North Dakota 6-4 in Grand Forks to win the school’s second WCHA Championship and the MacNaughton Cup, a memory that is captured in the famous photo of legendary Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito (left) holding the Cup. "We had a tremendous hockey team at that time," recalled Esposito. "We were generally rated number one in the nation by most of the coaches and polls during the period (fellow MTU goalie) Rick (Best) and I played on the team." And it was a true rotation. During the 1965 playoff run, each goaltender took a turn versus Minnesota in the first round of the WCHA playoffs (Best with an 8-4 victory and Esposito a 3-3 tie), and Esposito was in net for the 6-4 championship over North Dakota. Advancing to the NCAA semifinals in Providence, R.I. , Best forged a 4-0 victory over Brown University, the first shutout by a goaltender in the first 18 years of NCAA playoff hockey. Esposito then anchored the Huskies in the championship game, an 8-2 blowout of Boston College to win the 1965 NCAA title. He would grow to be a famous goalie with the Chicago Black Hawks, and is likely the most famous name to ever be associated with MTU.

Another MTU WCHA title followed in 1966 (23-6-1), but the Huskies were unable to make the NCAAs as a result of a WCHA playoff loss to Michigan State.

In 1969, Michigan Tech won the WCHA at 21-9-2 overall and won the WCHA playoff games over Michigan State and Michigan, making the Frozen Four again in Colorado Springs, and losing to Cornell 4-3 in overtime in the NCAA semifinals. MTU’s Al Karlander scored a hat trick against Cornell’s famous goaltender Ken Dryden, who would become an NHL Hall of Famer when his NHL career began with Montreal after the NCAAs. Karlander’s first tally was :07 into the contest - an NCAA record that still stands today. Dryden’s Cornellians then fell to the Denver Pioneers, 4-3 in the NCAA title game, marking Denver’s 5th NCAA title.

In 1970, Tech again made the NCAA tournament after finishing tied for second place in the WCHA, only to lose to Clarkson in the NCAA semis, 4-3 and again to Wisconsin 6-5 in the third place game. And in 1970-71, Tech was excellent again, going 25-6-2 and winning the WCHA regular season title, but falling in the WCHA playoffs to North Dakota, 6-4.

The final MTU game played at Dee Stadium was on January 13, 1972, and their next game was played at the newly constructed $2.8 million, 3,000 seat Student Ice Arena on the Michigan Tech campus, which would later be named for MacInnnes, and is still the home of Huskies’ hockey.

In 1973-74, The Huskies had another WCHA Championship with a 29-9-3 overall record, and once again, found themselves in the NCAA Frozen Four, winning the first game 6-5 over Harvard, and facing league nemesis Minnesota for the NCAA Championship. However, the Gophers beat the Huskies 4-2 in the title game.

The 1975 season (32-10) would be the most recent high water mark of MTU hockey, and marks the last time a Huskies’ team would hold the NCAA trophy aloft. After finishing second in league play, the Huskies dumped Notre Dame and Michigan State in the WCHA playoffs. In the Frozen Four that year in St. Louis, the Huskies beat Boston University 9-5 in the NCAA semifinals, and on March 14, 1975, Michigan Tech got revenge for the 1974 NCAA loss to Minnesota and whipped Herb Brooks’ Minnesota team, 6-1, to claim MTU’s third NCAA Championship Trophy

The Huskies met Minnesota once again in the 1976 NCAA Championship game for the third consecutive year. It is the only time in NCAA history that two schools have met three consecutive years in the NCAA title game, and this time, it was Minnesota that emerged victorious in a title game played at the old DU arena in Denver. The Huskies had won the WCHA that year and advanced to the NCAA final with a double overtime 7-6 win over Brown University.

In 1980, the Huskies beat Denver 5-2 in Denver, Colo., as John MacInnes records his 502nd win to become college hockey’s then all-time winningest coach, and later that summer Michigan Tech announced that due to escalating travel costs, MTU would leave the WCHA to join the CCHA, along with fellow Michigan schools Nortthern Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan. Four years later, MTU rejoined the WCHA and has been there ever since.

In 1981, Michigan Tech completed two-game sweep of Providence in NCAA quarterfinal.

and made their 10th appearance in NCAA championships, where Michigan Tech was downed by Minnesota 7-2 at the Duluth Arena Auditorium in the NCAA semis. The Huskies did rally to finish 3rd by beating Northern Michigan in the consolation game. It would be the last time the Huskies would see the NCAA tournament, as they have not been back since.

On February 22, 1982, John MacInnes announced he was stepping down as head coach of the Huskies for health reasons, and in 1983, he died. The Glory Years of Michigan Tech would come to a grinding halt. No Michigan Tech team has had a winning season since 1983 and no MTU team has finished higher than 4th in the WCHA since then, and there has been no additional post-season hardware in the MTU trophy case, either.

Despite the lack of winning seasons, MTU has had a few wonderful moments to break up the many more recent years of disappointment, including 1994’s WCHA playoff defeat of top-seeded Colorado College (MTU had finished 10th in the regular season), 3-2 in overtime, to win series by a 2-1 count and pull off the biggest first-round playoff upset in WCHA history behind all-American goalie Jamie Ram. The game was the last ever at the historic Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, and cost CC a berth in the NCAA tournament. MTU, under coach Bob Mancini, would go on the WCHA Final Five, where the Huskies beat fellow UP rival Northern Michigan in the play-in game, but fell to Minnesota in the semi-final 6-1, as the magic playoff run expired.

In 1996, MTU had a 7th place finish in the WCHA, but managed another mini-playoff run, beating UMD in the first round, beating St. Cloud 4-3 in the WCHA Final Five play in game, then stunning eventual NCAA runner-up Colorado College 4-3 in the WCHA semi-final, only to run out of gas on day three against Minnesota in the WCHA final, 7-2. The Huskies would not be back to the WCHA Final Five until 2007.

In 2003, Jamie Russell become coach, and the high water mark of Russell’s tenure to date was in 2007, when 6th place MTU, behind the brilliant goaltending of Michael-Lee Teslak turned away all 18 Colorado College shots in a 1-0 victory in game three of a first round WCHA Playoff series. The win sent the Huskies to their first WCHA Final Five since 1996, where Wisconsin defeated MTU, 4-0.

Michigan Tech Traditions Winter Carnival
No Michigan Tech tradition can match Winter Carnival for national fame and overall involvement. The Winter Carnival started in 1922 and is held in February. Classes are suspended for two days and the event has grown to become one of the largest annual winter festivals in the nation. It features a huge, intricate snow statue competition on campus in which students (remember, a lot of MTU students are engineers in-training) construct snow and ice sculptures consistent with an annual theme. Some groups of students complete their work in a single evening, while the more grandiose are one month in the making. Statues must be pristine white and structurally sound; they must be self-supporting with no external scaffolding or hidden beams inside. Hockey also plays a big role at Winter Carnival and MTU usually plays well that weekend in front of rabid crowds, and a Winter Carnival King and Queen are crowned amid a variety of other winter activities.

As the school mascot is the husky (specifically, Blizzard T. Husky), the school's sports teams are known as the "Huskies". While the nickname is far older, the live mascot, Blizzard, was christened via a campus-wide competition on January 31, 1997. The "T" in his name stands for "The." He is often seen skating in the hockey arena before and during home games and participating in various other activities.

School songs
The most famous MTU musical tradition started in the late 1940s, when the MTU band, famous for wearing striped mining overalls, begin playing the "Blue Skirt Waltz" (then a popular polka tune) at home ice hockey games between the second and third periods. During the song, the fans linked arms and swung back and forth to the music. The tradition stuck. For the last 60 years since then, the ritual is repeated every game, and has become known as “The Copper Country Anthem”. It is truly one of the great traditions in all of college hockey, and should be experienced by all fans of the game.

Michigan Tech also has an official fight song:
We'll fight, Tech, fight Engineers, For banners bright, Engineers. The northern hills will sound our cry. We'll ring your praises to the sky. Then fight, Tech, fight Engineers, For right with might, Engineers. We'll win the game, the glorious name, Of the Michigan, Michigan, Michigan Engineers.

Copper Country Anthem (Blue Skirt Waltz)
I dream of that night with you, Lady when first we met, We danced in a world of blue, How can my heart forget. Blue were the skies, And blue were your eyes, Just like the blue skirt you wore. Come back, blue lady, come back. Don't be blue any more.
Famous Michigan Tech Alumni
* Lou Angotti. Former NHL player
* Joe Berger, NFL Player - Dallas Cowboys
* Melvin Calvin, Nobel Laureate and discoverer of the Calvin Cycle
* Chris Conner, NHL Player - Dallas Stars
* Tony Esposito, former NHL Player and Hall of Famer- Chicago Blackhawks
* David House, former Vice President of Intel
* Randy McKay, former NHL Player - Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars, and the New Jersey Devils when they won two Stanley Cups.
* Damian Rhodes, NHL Player - Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers
* Donald G. Saari, prominent game theorist
* Matthew Songer, CEO and founder of Pioneer Surgical Technology
* Andy Sutton, NHL Player - Atlanta Thrashers, New York Islanders
* John Vartan, mega-millionaire Pennsylvania businessman, developer, banker, restaurateur, and philanthropist
* Mike Zuke, former NHL Hockey player

About Houghton, Michigan
Houghton is the largest city in the Copper Country on the Keweenaw Peninsula. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 7,010. It is the county seat of Houghton County. Due to its location in the northwestern portion of the Upper Peninsula, Houghton is isolated from the state of Michigan’s most populous areas. It is farther to travel from Houghton to Detroit than it is from Detroit to Washington, DC, or Louisville, Kentucky.

Houghton was named after Houghton County, which was named after copper pioneer Douglass Houghton. Despite the common belief that Douglass Houghton was the discoverer of copper in the area, Native Americans had mined copper in and around what would later be Houghton thousands of years before European settlement. "French explorers had noted... [its] existence [in the area] as early as the seventeenth century, [and in] 1772 Alexander Henry had prospected for copper on the Ontonagon River near Victoria. When Horace Greeley said, "Go West, young man" he was referring to the copper rush in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula.

Many Cornish (Welsh) and Finnish immigrants arrived in the Houghton area to work in the copper mines - both groups have had a great influence on the culture and cuisine of the local area. For example, “Pasties” (Cornish meat pies eaten by miners) are still sold in town as a local delicacy.

The last nearby mines closed in the late 1960s, but MTU is still the largest employer in the area. The first known European settler of Houghton was named Ransom Sheldon, who set up a store named Ransom's near Portage Lake, though it is unclear whether this was in the same building as the 1852 Shelden and Shafer drugs, sometimes described as "the first commercial building constructed in Houghton.

In 1854, Ernest F. Pletschke plotted Houghton, which was incorporated as a village by Sheldon, C[hristopher] C[olumbus] Douglass and Capt. Richard Edwards three years later. In Houghton's first days it was said that "only thieves, crooks, murderers and Indians" lived there. The postwar boom and increasing demand for copper wiring fueled the development of Houghton in the 1860s and 1870s.

By 1880 Houghton had become "a burgeoning city and in 1883, the railroad was extended from Marquette, Michigan.

The Portage Lift Bridge crosses Portage Lake, connecting Hancock and Houghton, Michigan, by crossing over Portage Lake, which is part of the river and canal system that crosses the entire peninsula. The Portage Lift Bridge is the worlds heaviest and widest double-decked vertical lift bridge. Its center span "lifts" to provide 100 feet of clearance for ships. Since rail traffic was discontinued in the Keweenaw, the lower deck is used to accommodate snowmobile traffic in the winter. This is the only land based link between the north and south section of the Keweenaw peninsula, and is crucial.

Houghton typically has long and snowy winters (due to lake-effect snow, with an average of 208 inches each year) It is sometimes said that Houghton has "two seasons: winter's here and winter's coming.” While Houghton's winters may be the subject of humor, residents take the subject of snow and winter very seriously. Houghton not only accommodates winter, but celebrates it, and whose residents generally enjoy the season by participating in a variety of outdoor activities. Among those activities are cross country skiing, snow-shoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, ice skating and outdoor hockey, among other activities.
Since Houghton and Hancock, Michigan are very near each other, their combined area is often referred to as "Houghton-Hancock," though the towns are often fierce rivals, something particularly manifested by the sports rivalry between Houghton High School and Hancock Central.

Tourism is a major industry in Houghton. Summer tourism is very popular, especially among those wishing to tour old mines, visit various historical sites, and camp. Winter tourism is also very active from November through April, for snowmobiling, skiing and other winter sports.
Houghton figures in the novels The Truth About Fire by Elizabeth Hartmann and A Superior Death by Nevada Barr, and the poem "The Idea of Children at Houghton, Michigan" in Gavin Ewart's Penultimate Poems. Much of Ander Monson's Other Electricities takes place in Houghton.

The Series
While DU has struggled at Michigan Tech in recent outings, these teams appear to be going in opposite directions, with Denver playing its best hockey of the season, and Michigan Tech at its lowest point in the season so far. It would appear that the Pioneers are in excellent position for a road sweep, but in the WCHA, the expected often doesn’t happen.

DU has outscored its opponents, 14-2, during its current three-game winning streak, but the Pioneers are 0-3 on the road and 2-3 against unranked opponents. The Pioneers have been outscored, 9-5, on the road this season in losses to Colorado College (3-2) and St. Cloud State (4-2, 2-1) so we will see if DU can turn the corner in a hostile environment. Mark Cheverie has never won a road game, either. With DU averaging 4.67 goals per game in its nine wins so if the Pioneers can get the offense going, Michigan Tech will be in trouble. DU has scored the first goal in the last three games and is 7-1 when scoring first, so an early DU goal is likely a good sign.

On the other side of the coin, DU has only scored 2.0 gpg in its five losses and one tie, so expect MTU to play a defensive style to slow the faster Pioneer attack. Michigan Tech clearly does not have the offensive depth it had in the last few years, and with its goaltenders not yet able to save 90% of the shots they face, expect MTU to try to limit the DU shots on their own goal. Tech is also 21-0-3 when they score three goals or more.

While my head tells me that this series looks like a mismatch on paper, I think Michigan Tech is also overdue for a win. In the WCHA, road sweeps are not easy at all with the quality of teams, and while it would not surprise me to see DU sweep, I think DU has yet to win a road game for a reason – they have a hard time focusing on the road with such a young team.

Prediction: Split. DU wins game 1 on Friday, 4-1 while MTU gets revenge on Saturday, 2-1 (OT).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The United States Air Force Academy

Magness Arena, November 29, 2008
(above) Air Force Cadet Ice Arena

The No. 9 Denver Pioneers will host undefeated regional rival The #11 ranked US Air Force Academy from Atlantic Hockey Association in nonconference action on Nov. 29 at Magness Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. The game will be webcast live (fee) on and broadcast live on 560 AM.

DU is 27-3 against Air Force in the series that dates back to 1972, but last year Air Force ended DU's 19-game winning streak in the series with a 5-2 upset win last season at Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force teams always work exceptionally hard, and AFA players are always in peak physical condition, and now with more experienced players, Air Force is fast becoming a national caliber program.

Falcons to Watch
Air Force has outscored its opponents, 62-15, en route to its 12-0-0 perfect record. The Falcons and goaltender Andrew Volkening (12-0-0, 1.24 GAA, .944 Sv%) have held opponents to two goals or less in 11 games, including two shutouts. The Falcons boast three of the top four scorers in the nation in Brent Olson (5-16--21), Jacques Lamoureux (11-10--21) and Greg Flynn (4-15--19).

About The US Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA or Air Force) is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officers for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. The Academy's stated mission is "to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation."

It is the youngest of the five United States service academies, having graduated its first class in 1959. Graduates of the Academy's four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and most are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force. The Academy is also one of the largest tourist attractions in Colorado, attracting more than a million visitors each year

The Air Force Academy is among the most selective colleges in the United States. Many publications such as U.S. News and World Report do not rank the Academy directly against other colleges because of service academies' special mission. However, a few do; Forbes Magazine recently ranked the Academy 16th in the nation (just behind MIT and just ahead of Stanford and Pomona) in its "America's Best Colleges 2008" publication. Candidates for admission are judged on their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, athletics and character. To gain admission, candidates must also pass a fitness test, undergo a thorough medical examination, and secure a nomination, which usually comes from one of the candidate's members of Congress. Recent incoming classes have usually consisted of about 1400 cadets; just under 1000 of those usually make it through to graduation. Cadets pay no tuition and receive a monthly stipend, but incur a commitment to serve years in the military service after graduation, usually for 5 years.

The program at the Academy is guided by its core values of "Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do," and based on four "pillars of excellence": military training, academics, athletics and character development. In addition to a rigorous military training regimen, cadets also take a broad academic course load with an extensive core curriculum in engineering, humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, military studies and physical education. All cadets participate in either intercollegiate or intramural athletics, and a thorough character development and leadership curriculum provides cadets a basis for future officership. Each of the components of the program is intended to give cadets the skills and knowledge that they will need for success as officers.

Prior to the Academy's establishment, air power advocates had been pushing for a separate air force academy for decades. As early as 1918, Lieutenant Colonel A.J. Hanlon wrote, "As the Military and Naval Academies are the backbone of the Army and Navy, so must the Aeronautical Academy be the backbone of the Air Service. In 1925, air power pioneer General Billy Mitchell testified on Capitol Hill that it was necessary "to have an air academy to form a basis for the permanent backbone of your air service and to attend to the…organizational part of it, very much the same way that West Point does for the Army, or the Naval Academy for the Navy. Mitchell's arguments did not gain traction with legislators, and it was not until the late 1940s that the concept of the United States Air Force Academy began to take shape.

Support for an air academy got a boost with the National Security Act of 1947, which provided for the establishment of a separate Air Force within the United States military. In January 1950, the Service Academy Board, headed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, concluded that the needs of the Air Force could not be met by the two existing U.S. service academies and that an air force academy should be established.

Following the recommendation of the Board, Congress passed legislation in 1954 to begin the construction of the Air Force Academy, and President Eisenhower signed it into law on April 1 of that year. The original 582 sites considered were winnowed to three: Alton, Illinois; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; and the ultimate site at Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott, announced the winning site on June 24, 1954.

The Academy's permanent site had not yet been completed when the first class entered, so the 306 cadets from the Class of 1959 were sworn in at a temporary site at Lowry Air Force Base, in Denver on July 11, 1955. While at Lowry, they were housed in renovated World War II barracks.

The Class of 1959 established many other important traditions that continue until the present. Most notably, the first class adopted the Cadet Honor Code, and chose the falcon as the Academy's mascot.

The Vietnam War was the first war in which Academy graduates fought and died. As such, it had a profound effect on the development of the character of the Academy. Due to the need for more pilots, Academy enrollment grew significantly during this time. The size of the graduating classes went from 217 cadets in 1961 to 745 cadets in 1970.

One of the most significant events in the history of the Academy was the admission of women. On October 7, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation permitting women to enter the United States service academies. On June 26, 1976, 157 women entered the Air Force Academy with the Class of 1980. Women have made up just over 20% of the most recent classes.

The campus of the Academy covers 18,000 acres on the east side of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains, just north of Colorado Springs. Its altitude is normally given as 7,258 feet above sea-level, which is the elevation of the cadet area. The Academy was designed by architect Walter Netsch with the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

The buildings in the Cadet Area were designed in a distinct, modernist style, and make extensive use of aluminum on building exteriors, suggesting the outer skin of aircraft or spacecraft. On April 1, 2004, fifty years after Congress authorized the building of the Academy, the Cadet Area at the Academy was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The main buildings in the Cadet Area are set around a large, square pavilion known as the Terrazzo. The most recognizable building in the Cadet Area is the 17-spired Cadet Chapel. The subject of controversy when it was first built, it is now considered among the most beautiful examples of modern American academic architecture.

The organization of the Academy has characteristics of both a military unit and a civilian college. Like a civilian college, the students, called "cadets", are divided into four classes, based on their year in school. They are not referred to as freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, however, but as fourth-, third-, second- and first class cadets, respectively. Fourth class cadets (freshmen) are sometimes referred to as "doolies," a term derived from the Greek word δουλος ("doulos") meaning "slave" or "servant. Members of the three lower classes are also referred to as "4 degrees," "3 degrees" or "2 degrees" based on their class. First-class cadets are referred to as "firsties." In the military structure of the Cadet Wing, first class cadets (seniors) act as the cadet officers, second class cadets (juniors) act as the cadet non-commissioned officers and third class cadets (sophomores) as cadet junior non-commissioned officers or senior airmen.

The Cadet Wing is divided into four cadet groups, of ten cadet squadrons each. Each cadet squadron consists of about 110 cadets, roughly evenly distributed among the four classes. Selected first-, second- and third-class cadets hold leadership, operational and support jobs at the squadron, group and wing levels. Cadets live, march and eat meals with members of their squadron, and take part in many activities, notably military training and intramural athletics, by squadron as well. Cadets' military training occurs throughout their time at the Academy, but is especially intense during their four summers.

The Air Force Academy is an accredited four-year university offering Bachelor's degrees in a variety of subjects. Approximately 75 percent of the Academy faculty is comprised of Air Force officers, with the remaining 25 percent civilian professors, visiting professors from civilian universities and instructors from other U.S. and allied foreign military services. In recent years, civilians have become a growing portion of senior faculty. All graduates receive Bachelor of Science degree, regardless of major, because of the technical content of the core requirements. Cadets may major in a variety of divisional, disciplinary or inter-disciplinary subjects, including majors in engineering, the basic sciences, social sciences and humanities. Traditionally, the academic program at the Air Force Academy (as with military academies in general) has focused heavily on science and engineering, with the idea that many graduates would be expected to manage complex aeronautical, space and communications systems.

Despite the exceptionally high standards expected of cadets, faculty and staff, and the fact that the selection processes are among the most thorough and most rigorous to be found, the Academy has not been immune from scandal. The first Honor scandal broke in 1965, when a resigning cadet reported knowing of more than 100 cadets who had been involved in a cheating ring. One hundred and nine cadets were ultimately expelled. Cheating scandals rocked the Academy again in 1967, 1972, 1984, 2005 and 2007. The sexual assault scandal that broke in 2003 forced the Academy to look more closely at how effectively women had been integrated into cadet life.

About The US Air Force Academy Hockey Program
The Falcons are in the 41st season of varsity hockey at the Air Force Academy, but the origins of Air Force Hockey date back to infancy of the Academy. In 1958, a group of cadets began an intramural hockey team. Relying on freezing temperatures and the shadows from the dormitory, cadets donned football and lacrosse equipment and played hockey in the courtyard of Vandenberg Hall.

A few years later one of the greatest college hockey coaches ever, Vic Heyliger, became interested in such a fledgling program. With six national championships to his credit at Michigan in the 1950s, the “Father of Air Force Hockey,” came to the Academy in 1966 and guided the club team.

At long last came the night of Nov. 29, 1968, when the first varsity hockey game was played at the newly built Cadet Ice Arena, part of the Cadet Fieldhouse complex. The Falcons defeated the Colorado All-Stars, a group of former collegiate players, 8-6. The first game was not without its share of quirky moments. During the first shift in the first period, a slap shot was taken and went completely through the “shatter-proof” glass and onto the running track in the multi-purpose area.

Officially classified as NCAA Division I independent since 1968, Air Force played a mixed schedule of Division I and Division II opponent for many years, until admission into College Hockey America in 1999-2000 and into Atlantic Hockey in 2006-2007 guaranteed a fuller slate of Division I opponents.

The Falcons finally got their first taste of intercollegiate competition in the new arena and it was not pleasant. Notre Dame, another first-year program, swept the Falcons, 8-1and 5-4. Air Force gained its first home win with a 6-4 win over Ohio State on Jan. 17, 1968.

The program continued to gain momentum, posting its first winning season in 1970-71 with a 15-11-2 record. However, it was the following season that would be the Falcons’ breakthrough year. Heyliger hired his former All-American player at Michigan, John Matchefts, as an assistant coach and the Falcons posted a 25-6 record in 1971-72.

A few years later, in Matchefts’ first season as head coach, the Falcons posted a 24-5-1 mark for the school’s best winning percentage. What will best be remembered from that team is a pair of dramatic one-goal wins over Colorado College.

Matchefts went on to win 154 games in 11 seasons before passing the baton to his former standout, Chuck Delich. Delich, who still ranks eighth in NCAA history in career scoring, shattered every school record in his four year career.

After taking over the program in 1985, Delich garnered early success much like his predecessor. In his second season, he posted a 19-10 record, the most wins in 10 years. He then strung together a school-record five consecutive winning seasons in his 12 years while tying the school record with 154 coaching wins. During the Delich years, the Falcons posted a winning record against rival Army, including a 6-1-1 record at home against the Black Knights.

The third decade of Falcon hockey brought several changes to the program. Former DU coach Frank Serratore (left), who has coached at nearly every level of hockey, took over in 1998. His enthusiastic, disciplined style of hockey injected a new energy into the program, and Serratore engineered the Air Force program into a conference play, first with College Hockey America in 1999, and later with Atlantic Hockey in 2006. Additionally, he was able to establish deeper recruiting of players with junior hockey experience, rather than players straight from high school hockey (as was the case with most of the AFA recruited players in the first 30 years). The additional experience of the junior players has been a huge boost to the national competitiveness of the program in recent years.

Serratore has led the Falcons to more Division I victories than any other Falcon coach. In Serratore’s 10th season, he took the program to new heights. The Falcons claimed the 2007 Atlantic Hockey Association championship and played Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional in Denver, both firsts for any service academy team.

Serratore backed that championship season up with another ring as the Falcons won the 2008 AHA title and faced Miami in the NCAA Northeast Regional. Both years, the Falcons scared two of the top teams in the nation, falling by just one goal each team, including one in overtime.

One of the key players for the recent transformation of Air Force hockey into a national level program was Eric Ehn, the most decorated hockey player in school history, Ehn, a forward, who was a Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist in 2007, concluded his career last year with 146 points in 133 career games.

Air Force Traditions
Nickname and Mascot:
Members of the Air Force class of 1959, the first to enter the academy, picked the falcon as the mascot of the cadet wing in 1955. Later that fall, they enlisted the first falcon to serve the academy. The mascot was a peregrine falcon named “Mach 1," which refers to the speed of sound. Each bird that has served the academy has carried the Mach 1 name, but receives an individual name from the cadet group known as the falconers. The cadets that care for and train the mascots keep 12 to 15 falcons. For a falcon to be properly trained, the falconers spend an average of 300 hours of labor over a six-week period. Though they never completely domesticate the falcons, they train them to fly for more than an hour and make repeated stoops at a baited lure held by a cadet falconer.

Hailed as the NCAA’s only performing mascot, the Air Force Falcon is a crowd pleaser. The bird can achieve a speed of more than 200 miles per hour and makes the game day experience even more exciting by diving and zooming low over the heads of spectators. Besides the live falcon, a costumed Falcon mascot known as “The Bird” also serves in the Academy’s ranks, and is often seen parachuting into Falcon Stadium for football games.

Unlike many nicknames that have mysterious or meaningless origins, the Air Force Academy’s nickname suits perfectly. The qualities possessed by the falcon are reflected in many ways by the cadets the bird represents.

Falcons are known for unhesitatingly attacking and killing prey twice their size. Due to military weight standards, the Air Force teams are often smaller than the teams they play. Keen eyesight is another falcon characteristic that’s found in Air Force Cadets. Students at the academy must have perfect vision to fly our nation’s elite aircraft. The falcon’s heritage has also soared into the United States Air Force. Fittingly, one of the best weapons in the Air Force arsenal is the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

School Colors:
Blue and Silver

Fight Song: The US Air Force
Although not the Academy's official fight song, the first verse of the song is frequently played at Academy sporting events and at other functions, such as parades. "The U.S. Air Force" is the official song of the United States Air Force. It is informally known as "The Air Force Song," and is often informally referred to as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder", "Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder," or simply "Wild Blue Yonder."

Originally, the song was known as the 'Army Air Corps Song.' Captain Robert MacArthur Crawford wrote the lyrics and music in 1939. In 1947, the words "U.S. Air Force" in the title and lyrics replaced the original "Army Air Corps". On September 27, 1979, General Lew Allen, Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force, adopted it as the official song for the service.

In 1937, Assistant Chief of the Air Corps Brig. Gen. Hap Arnold persuaded the Chief of the Air Corps, Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover, that airmen needed a song reflecting their unique identity, and proposed a song competition with a prize to the winner. However, the Air Corps had no control over its budget, and could not give a prize. Liberty magazine stepped in, offering a purse of $1,000 to the winner.

Around 757 compositions were entered, and evaluated by a volunteer committee chaired by Mildred Yount, the wife of a senior Air Corps officer, and featuring several distinguished musicians. The committee had until July 1939 to make a final choice. However, word eventually spread that the committee found no songs that satisfied them, despite the massive number of entries. Arnold, who took over command of the Air Corps in 1938 after Westover was killed in a plane crash, solicited direct inquiries from contestants, including Irving Berlin, but not even Berlin's creations proved satisfactory. Just before the deadline, Crawford entered his song, which proved to be a unanimous winner.

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;

Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,

At 'em boys,
Give 'er the gun!

Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,

Off with one hell of a roar!

We live in fame or go down in flame.

Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Famous Air Force Academy Alumni

* Gen. Michael P.C. Carns, Class of 1959: Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
* Lt. Gen. Bradley C. Hosmer, Class of 1959: The first graduate in the order of merit in the first class at the Academy, the Academy's first Rhodes Scholar and the first graduate to return to the Academy as Superintendent
* Gen. Hansford T. Johnson, Class of 1959: The first graduate to be promoted to the rank of general (four-star); assistant secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment 2001-2005, and Acting Secretary of the Navy in 2003
* Gen. Robert C. Oaks, Class of 1959: Commander of Air Training Command and United States Air Forces in Europe
* Gen. George L. Butler, Class of 1961: Commander, United States Strategic Command
* Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, Class of 1963: The first graduate to be selected as Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, serving in that position from 1994-1997
* Gen. Howell M. Estes III, Class of 1965: Commander, United States Space Command
* Capt. Lance Sijan, Class of 1965: Prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, and the first graduate to be awarded the Medal of Honor. His story is told in the book Into the Mouth of the Cat by Malcom McConnell.
* Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Class of 1973: Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, 2008-
* Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, Class of 1974: Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force

35 Air Force Academy graduates have become astronauts - Here are some of them:

* Karol J. Bobko, Class of 1959: The first graduate in space, and the only astronaut to have flown on the maiden flight of two space shuttle orbiters
* Frederick D. Gregory, Class of 1964: Former Deputy Administrator of NASA, former acting Administrator for NASA, commander of two space shuttle missions, the first African-American to pilot the space shuttle and the first African-American to command any space vehicle
* Roy D. Bridges, Jr., Class of 1965: Director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center from 1997-2003 and Director of NASA's Langley Research Center from 2003-2005.
* Dr. Ronald M. Sega, Class of 1974: Former Under Secretary of the United States Air Force
* Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, Class of 1976: Currently serving as Commander, U.S. Strategic Command
* Brig. Gen. Susan J. Helms, Class of 1980: Space flights included 163 days aboard the International Space Station; currently serving as Commander, 45th Space Wing
* Steven W. Lindsey, Class of 1982: Two space flights as shuttle pilot, including flight with Sen. John Glenn. Another two spaceflights as commander, including the recent STS-121

Government, law and politics
* T. Allen McArtor, Class of 1964: Former Administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration; former CEO, Legend Airlines; current chair, Airbus, North American Holdings
* Gary A. Grappo, Class of 1972: U.S. Ambassador to Oman
* John C. (Chris) Inglis, Class of 1976: Deputy Director of the U.S. National Security Agency
* Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), Class of 1982: The first graduate to be elected to the United States Congress and currently the only female veteran serving in Congress

Business and industry
* Richard T. Schlosberg, Class of 1965: Former president and CEO of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and former publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times
* Charles E. Phillips Jr., Class of 1981: President of the Oracle Corporation
* Scott Kirby, Class of 1989: President of US Airways Group

* Gregg Popovich, Class of 1970: Head coach of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs who led the team to NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, and won the NBA Coach of the Year Award for the 2002-2003 season.
* Randall W. Spetman, Class of 1976: Athletic Director at Florida State University.
* Alonzo Babers, Class of 1983: Winner of two gold medals (400m and 4×400m relay) at the 1984 Olympics
* Chad Hennings, Class of 1988: Winner of the Outland Trophy; played nine seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and earned three Super Bowl rings; 2006 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.
* Troy Calhoun, Class of 1989: Head coach of the Air Force football team; former offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans.

About Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado. At 372,437, it is the second most populous city in the State of Colorado behind Denver and the 47th most populous city in the United States. In 2007.the Colorado Springs area had a population of 609,096. The city is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains.

While noted for its exceptional natural beauty and climate, Colorado Springs is not exempt from the problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth: overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budget issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced in the last 20 years.

It is a well known as a conservative city, as it is dominated by large military installations including Fort Carson, NORAD and the United States Air Force Academy, which make up the largest employers in the city. Also, a large percentage of Colorado Springs' economy is also based on high tech and manufacturing complex electronic equipment, second to the military in terms of total revenue generated and employment.

Additionally, a large number of religious organizations such as Focus on the Family and churches make their headquarters here, particularly Evangelical Christians, as well as serving as the headquarters for the US Olympic Committee and many national sports governing bodies.
Colorado Springs was founded in August 1871 as a residential community by General William Palmer, with the intention of creating a high quality resort community to benefit from the mountain location, his railroad and the proximity to mining affluence from a previous gold strike at nearby Colorado City. The flow of gold and silver ebbed as the decades passed, and Colorado City's economic fortunes faded with it; the miners and those who processed the ore left or retired. Because of the healthy natural scenic beauty, mineral waters, and extremely dry climate, Colorado Springs became a tourist attraction and popular recuperation destination for tuberculosis patients.
The Game

The 31st meeting between DU and AFA marks the first time in series history that both teams will be ranked, and Air Force heads into the CC/DU weekend as the lone unbeaten NCAA Division I hockey team at 12-0-0. DU is 18-2 against the Falcons in Denver dating back to 1972, and DU has historically had little trouble with Air Force in the first 25 years of the series, but that is changing rapidly with the ascension of the Air Force program.

Air Force ranks No. 1 in the nation in scoring at an incredible 5.17gpg, while Denver is No. 8 at 3.38 gpg. Air Force is No. 3 in defense at 1.25 gpg, and Denver is No. 27 at 2.62 gpg. On paper, this would appear to be mismatch in Air Force’s favor, but it’s fair to speculate that at least part of Air Force’s dominant numbers are a result of a schedule that has yet to see the Falcons play a team from a major conference, let alone a ranked team. That said, the AFA’s large margins of victory have been impressive so far, and I have every reason to expect that Air Force will be a very, very formidable test for the Pioneers.

DU Coach Gwozdecky has even gone so far as to call his team “underdogs” in the contest in the media this week, and given Air Force’s 5-2 beat down of the Pioneers last season, I am sure the Pioneers have many incentives to gain some revenge this weekend. Playing at home, I think the Pioneers should be sufficiently motivated, and Air Force will likely have had an intense game the night before against CC.

DU is coming off a Jekyll-and-Hyde split with Minnesota, where Friday, DU was awful in a 5-2 loss, but after a players-only team meeting and coach Gwozdecky’s benching of four regulars the next night, the Pioneers played great hockey in shutting out the top-ranked Gophers, 4-0. I would expect to see Patrick Mullen return to the lineup this weekend as a puck-moving defenseman with Patrick Wiercioch’s duties likely limited to the power-play only due to an upper-body injury.

The Falcons play a relentless forechecking game, and rely on goalie Andrew Volkening (12-0-0, 1.24 GAA, .944 Sv%) to keep the puck out, so expect Denver to look for transition opportunities and a strong first pass out of the zone to try and exploit the Falcons playing in the zone too deeply.

Prediction: Denver 5, Air Force 4

The Colgate University Raiders

Magness Arena, November 28, 2008
(above) Starr Rink on the campus of Colgate University

The No. 9 Denver Pioneers (7-5-1) host Colgate (4-4-2) from the ECAC in nonconference action on Nov. 28 at Magness Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:37 p.m. against Colgate on Nov. 28 The game will be webcast live (fee) on and broadcast live on 560 AM.

Denver is 3-1 all-time against Colgate in the series that started in 1969. DU defeated Colgate, 3-2, in the last meeting on Oct. 7, 2006, at the Ice Breaker Invitational in Oxford, Ohio. The Raiders visit Denver for the first time since Jan. 3-4, 1969.

Raiders to Watch
The Raiders are winless in their last five games at 0-3-2 after starting the season 4-1. Brian Day, a sixth round draft pick of the New York Islanders, is the best-known forward for the Raiders, and Austin Smith and David McIntyre join Day in leading Colgate in scoring with eight points each, while Quebecker Francois Brisebois has added seven points and a team-leading three power-play goals. Junior goaltender Charles Long has a 3-4-2 record with a 1.87 GAA and .924 Saves percentage.

About Colgate University
Colgate University is a small private liberal arts colle ge of 2,800 primarily undergraduate students located in the Village of Hamilton in Madison County, in central New York’s Chenango Valley. It was founded in 1819 as a Baptist seminary, but has since become non-denominational. And yes, the name of the school comes from the same family as the toothpaste…

In 1817, the Baptist Education Society of the State of New York was founded by 13 men (six clergymen and seven laymen). Two years later, in 1819, the state granted the school's charter, and in 1820, the school was opened. In 1823, Baptists in New York City (including William Colgate, who created the Colgate-Palmolive company, makers of soap and toothpaste) moved their seminary to Hamilton, NY to form the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution. This was the beginning of the Colgate family's involvement with the school.

The school changed its name to Madison University in 1846. In 1850, the Baptist Education Society planned to move the university to Rochester, but was halted by legal action. Dissenti ng trustees, faculty, and students founded the University of Rochester.

After seven decades of the Colgate family's involvement with the school, Madison University changed its name to Colgate University in 1890 in honor of William Colgate and his two sons, one of whom, J. B. Colgate (left), established the Dodge Memorial Fund of $1,000,000. The theological side of Colgate merged with the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1928 to become the Colgate Ro chester Divinity School, leaving Colgate to become non-denominational. In 1970, Colgate became coeducational.

About 95% of seniors graduate and most alumni proceed to graduate schools in law, administration, engineering, medicine, the arts and the sciences, as well as to financial, administrative or scientific occupations.

As of 2008, Colgate is ranked 18th in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of liberal arts colleges in the United States and 44th in the Forbes ranking of all U.S. universities.

About The Colgate University Hockey Program
Colgate began playing hockey in 1916, playing without a coach at first, and played only in sporadic years for the next 15 years, accumulating only about 35 total games prior to the 1932 season. At that point, J. Howard Starr took over the program as coach. During his tenure at Colgate, Starr established himself as the then-winningest hockey coach in Raider history. He guided the program for 15 seasons (1932-42, 1945-50) while posting an overall record of 86-72-4 including one undefeated season. His squads won the Lake Placid Intercollegiate Ice Hockey Tournament four consecutive years (1938-41).

After Starr left temporarily as coach in 1942, Greg Batt, a player on the 1942 Colgate team, took over as player-coach. Batt is considered one of the greatest hockey players in Colgate history. Batt guided the Red Raiders to an undefeated 11-0-0 season in 1943-43 . It is acknowledged that the 52 goals and 36 assists he scored in that campaign constitute an all-time Colgate record for goals, assists and points in one season. Batt was later invited to play in the 1948 Olympic Games. He also lettered three years in baseball and tennis, and would later become coach at nearby Hamilton College until the early 1980s.

Starr returned to coach Colgate in 1945, and led Colgate to a second undefeated season in 1946-47 at 14-0 and won the national AAU Championship, in the last season before the NCAA began hosting a National Tournament in 1948.

Colgate entered a fairly grim period throughout the 1950s, with no winning seasons until the 1961-62 squad went 18-6 in the newly constituted ECAC under coach Olav Kollevall. Perhaps the biggest bright spot of the ‘50s was the opening of Starr Rink in 1959, which while renovated in the 1990s, is still the hockey home of the Raiders. Starr Rink was one several arenas used in the filming of the 1977 cult hockey classic film, “Slap Shot”.

Coach Kollevall had some pretty good teams in the early 1960s, and his 1962-63 squad was the first Colgate team to go to the ECAC playoffs at 16-5-1. But the good times didn’t last long, as the Raiders fell into another long fallow period, with only two winning seasons between 1964 and 1978.

In 1977, Terry Slater, a 1961 St. Lawrence all-American player from Kirkland Lake, Ont. became coach of the Raiders, a job he would hold until December of 1991, when he died on his 54th birthday, four days after suffering a tragic stroke at his home.

Slater had some good teams in his early years, including the 1980-81 team, that went 21-12-2 and made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time as a #4 seed, losing in the quarterfinals to Minnesota in Minneapolis by 9-4 and 5-4 scores in the two-game, total-goals series.

Slater would later guide the Raiders to 12 more winning seasons in his next 14 years as coach, racking up 280 wins, 180 losses and 23 ties. In the calendar year before he died, Slater guided the Raiders to the best season in school history in 1989-90, when the Raiders went 31-6-1, cruised to the ECAC regular season title, and the won ECAC tournament title in Boston behind the goaltending of Dave Gagnon. As host of an NCAA quarterfinal series as a #2 seed, the Raiders beat Lake Superior State, 3-2 and 2-1 in the two-game total goals series to advance to the Frozen Four in Detroit. In the national semi-final against Boston University, the Raiders edged the Terriers 3-2 in a thriller, setting up a showdown with Wisconsin in the NCAA final. Unfortunately for Colgate, the Raiders took a series of early penalties. The opportunistic Badgers jumped on the Raiders for some power play goals, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and crushing the hopes of the Raider faithful en route to a 7-3 final score.

Current coach Don Vaughan took over the program in 1992-1993, and after a pair of down years, returned Colgate to six straight winning seasons, culminating in 2000, when the Raiders went 24-9-2 and returned to the NCAA tournament as a #4 seed, taking Michigan to overtime before falling 3-2 in Albany, NY.

Vaughan returned to the NCAA tournament as a #4 seed in 2004-2005, when the Raiders went 25-11-3 and fell to Colorado College 6-5 in the NCAA regional in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Colgate Traditions
Nickname and Mascot:
For much of its history, Colgate's sports teams were called the "Red Raiders." The origin of the name is disputed: some claim it was in reference to the school color (maroon); others believe it was a reference to the team's ability to defeat its much larger rival, the Cornell University "Big Red." However, the controversial Native American mascot reflected a third possibility. In the 1970s, the school debated changing the name and mascot due to concerns that it was offensive to Native Americans. At that time the name was kept, but the mascot was changed from a Native American to a hand holding a torch. In 2001, a group of stud ents approached the administration with the concern that the name "Red Raiders" still implied a Native American mascot. The school agreed to drop the word "Red" from the team name starting in the 2001-02 school year, due to concerns about the lingering association of "Red" with previously used Native American iconography (whether or not the use of the term "Red" was intended as such). A new mascot, a red-haired, lantern-jawed costumed colonial man called “Raider” with a tricorn hat, was introduced in 2006-07

The number 13 is considered to be lucky to Colgate. It is said that Colgate was founded by thirteen men with thirteen dollars and thirteen prayers. This manifests itself in a number of ways, such as Colgate's address (13 Oak Drive); zip code, 13346, which begins with 13 and the last 3 numbers add up to 13.

School Colors:
The early Colgate color was orange, but a Special School Committee on Colors decided to adopt “Colgate Maroon” on March 24, 1900. Gray was added later.

Fight Song Lyrics:

Words by F. AL Hubbard 1905
Music by R. L. Smith 1912

Hark the strains of martial music ringing, Sounds of voices raised in joyous singing, Colors proudly waving to the sky, A host is drawing nigh. Just watch them; They march and sing along a triumph song, It is the wearers of the old Maroon And this is what they sing: Chorus: Fight, fight, fight for dear old Colgate! With heart and hand now we'll win for thee! Oh, we will fight, fight, fight for Alma Mater, On to victory we're marching! Fo es shall bend their knee before us, And pay their homage to pow'r so great, So let us send out a cheer and banish all fear, While we are fighting hard for old Colgate. Famous Colgate alumni Arts and Business

* Charles Addams (1933), New Yorker cartoonist known for macabre drawings and inspiring the “Addams Family” TV and Movie franchise
* Bob Balaban, television and movie actor
* Gillian Vigman (1994), actor/comedian ("Sons and Daughters", "MADtv")
* John Marks (1931), creator of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," etc.
* Francesca Zambello (1978), opera director, manager
* Jay Chandrasekhar (1991), director (Super Troopers, "Arrested Development", Club Dread)
* Kevin Heffernan (1990), actor/comedian (Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beerfest)
* Broken Lizard, comedy troupe (Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beer Fest)
* Chris Paine (1983), documentary filmmaker (Who Killed the Electric Car?)
* Peter Rowan, bluegrass musician, songwriter ("Panama Red")
* Lawrence Bossidy (1957), chairman, CEO, Honeywell International; former CEO, AlliedSignal Inc.
* Ben Cohen (1973), co-founder and president, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (did not graduate)
* Cyrus Eaton (1941), chairman, Eaton Corp.
* Armand Zildjian (1944), former head of the Avedis Zildjian Company
* Ed Werner (1971) and John Haney (1972), co-inventors of Trivial Pursuit

* A. Peter Burleigh (1963), U.S. ambassador to the Philippines
* James Courter (1963), former New Jersey congressman and candidate fo r governor
* Louis Frey (1955), former congressman from Florida
* Charles Evans Hughes (1884), chief justice, U.S. Supreme Court 1930-41
* Peter Peyser (1943), former U.S. congressman 1971-77, 1979-83
* Adam Clayton Powell (1930), Pioneering African American N.Y. congressman
* William P. Rogers (1934), former U.S. secretary of state under Nixon
* Dean P. Taylor (1925), U.S. Congressman, New York 1943-1961

* Gloria Borger (1974), U.S. News & World Report, Washington Week, CBS special correspondent
* Monica Crowley (1990), Richard Nixon biographer; political and international affairs analyst, FOX
* Michael Gordon (1972), chief military correspondent, bestselling author, New York Times
* Howard Fineman (1970), chief political correspondent, senior editor, Newsweek
* Andy Rooney (1942), CBS-TV: 60 Minutes commentator, columnist
* Bob Woodruff (1983), ABC News foreign correspondent
* Joe Castiglione (1968), former TV play-by-play man for the Cleveland Indians, currently radio play-by-play man for the Boston Red Sox


* David Conte (1971), Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and Director of Scouting for the New Jersey Devils
* Rich Erenberg (1984), former running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
* Dan Fortmann (1936), Hall of Fame guard, Chicago Bears in the 1930s
* Adonal Foyle (1998), center, Orlando Magic
* Kenny Gamble (1988), former running back, Kansas City Chiefs, also an assistant athletic director at Colgate and executive with Reebok
* Bruce Gardner (1994), former forward, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets, and New Jersey Devils
* Greg Manusky (1988), former linebacker, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, and Kansas City Chiefs, now defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers
* Andy McDonald (2000), center for the St. Louis Blues
* Mike Milbury (1970), former defenseman for the Boston Bruins, forme r coach for Boston and the New York Islanders, former General Manager of the Islanders, and TV analyst for ESPN, NBC, TSN, and NESN
* Mark Murphy (1977), former safety, Washington Redskins, former Athletic Director at Colgate and Northwestern University, President of the Green Bay Packers
* Steve Poapst (1991), former defenseman, Chicago Blackhawks
* Eugene Robinson (1985), former safety, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks
* Mark van Eeghen (1974), former running back, Oakland Raiders
* Ernest Vandeweghe (1949), former player for New York Knicks, former surgeon for L.A. Lakers

About Hamilton, New York
Hamilton is a town in Madison County, New York, United States. Hamilton is situated in the heart of New York State’s leather stocking country, made famous in th e writings of James Fenimore Cooper. The population was 5,733 at the 2000 census. The town is named after the American patriot, Alexander Hamilton. Much of the town serves Colgate University. The location was formerly called Payne's Corners.

The Town of Hamilton was established in 1795, before the county was formed, from the Town of Paris in Oneida County, New York. The original town was reduced to create new towns in the county. Hamilton is located in the center of New York State on Route 12B, just 20 miles south of the New York State Thruway (I-90) and 30 miles east of I-81. Homes, shops and a country inn center on a village green that is the site of a weekly farmer’s market.

The Game
Having not seen the Raiders play this year, it’s hard to know what kind of Colgate team will show up in Denver as the first stop in a two-game Colorado swing against DU (Friday) and CC (Saturday). Will we see the Colgate team that went 4-1 to start the season, or the more recent 0-3-2 team that has played the last 5 games?

Against ranked teams this November, Colgate lost to then #9 Princeton 2-1 on OT, then lost and tied against #14 Cornell 4-1, and 2-2, then tied #18 Harvard 2-2 in last weekend, so chances are, even when it doesn’t go the Raider’s way, it’s a close game.

“We have to be focused and ready to play,” said Colgate head coach Don Vaughan. “We are looking forward to the challenge of facing two top 10 teams (in Denver and Colorado Springs)

The Raiders, 4-4-2 overall, head out west following a 1-0 loss to Dartmouth and a 2-2 tie to then 18th-ranked Harvard, last weekend at Starr Rink. Colgate will bring one of the nation’s most stingy defenses into the weekend. Led by a veteran laden cast of blueliners and goalie Charles Long, the Raiders have allowed 1.90 goals per game, which ranks in a tie for 11th nationally. Colgate’s penalty kill remains one of the top in the country as well. The Raiders, also tied for 11th, have successfully killed off 57 of 62 attempts against, including 21 of their last 22.

Long has started nine of the first 10 games and sports a 1.87 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. The junior is 16th in the country in goals against average.

DU is coming off a Jekyll-and-Hyde split with Minnesota, where Friday, DU was awful in a 5-2 loss, but after a players-only team meeting and coach Gwozdecky’s benching of four regulars the next night, the Pioneers played great hockey in shutting out the top-ranked Gophers, 4-0. The Pioneers have the nation’s eighth best offense (3.38 GPG), and the game may hinge on the effectiveness of DU’s power play against Colgate’s 11th best PK. (92%). Goaltender Marc Cheverie, who this year has been up and down, appears to be righting the ship, and I would expect to see Patrick Mullen return to the lineup this weekend as a puck-moving defenseman with Patrick Wiercioch’s duties likely limited to the power-play only due to an upper-body injury.

With the confidence coming off shutting out the nation’s best team last weekend, and playing on home ice, Denver certainly would be the favorite on paper. However, with the students away from campus on winter break and a heated local rivalry game looming on Saturday against Air Force, a classic “trap scenario” awaits the Pioneers if they are not totally focused on the Raiders.

Prediction: Denver 3, Colgate 2 (OT)