Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Colorado College Tigers (4-0-2)

Magness Arena, Denver November 1
Colorado Springs World Arena, November 3

The No.4 ranked University of Denver Pioneers (4-1) host the nation’s top-ranked Colorado College Tigers, coached by Scott Owens (left), in the renewal of one of college hockey’s best rivalries -- the pursuit of the Gold Pan Trophy. As usual, sellout crowds are expected in both arenas.

Denver holds a 152-105-10 (.588) advantage over Colorado College in the storied rivalry that dates back to 1950. CC has held possession of the Gold Pan Trophy the last two seasons and owns a 6-2-2 advantage over DU in the last 10 contests. The Pioneers are 89-46-4 against CC in Denver and 60-59-5 against the Tigers in Colorado Springs. The Pioneers are 1-3-1 in their last five games against the Tigers overall and 1-3-1 in their last five games against CC in Denver.

Tigers to Watch
The Defending MacNaughton Cup Champion Tigers are led by goaltender Richard Bachman, and forwards Chad Rau, Eric Walsky (left) and Bill Sweatt. Bachman, the 2007-08 WCHA Rookie and Player of the Year, is 3-0-2 with a 0.97 GAA and .963 Sv% in 2008-09. Bachman, who has two shutouts, allowed three total goals in CC’s two ties last weekend at Clarkson. Rau leads the Tigers with 10 points on five goals and five assists and has long been a proverbial thorn in the Pios’ side with his ultra quick release and penchant for bagging shorties, while former UAA Seawolf Eric Walsky has eight points and speedster Sweatt five. Colorado College ranks No. 2 in the nation on the penalty kill at 97.7% (43-for-44). Head coach Scott Owens has posted a 227-121-27 mark in 10 seasons at CC.

About Colorado College:
The Colorado College (familiarly known as CC) is a private, selective liberal arts college in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was founded in 1874 by General William Palmer. The college enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduates at its 90-acre campus, 70 miles south of Denver. While it shares many similarities with the arch rival University of Denver (Both private and expensive, both have national student bodies and both student bodies love skiing and hockey) the major difference is the orientation of the schools. CC focuses solely on liberal arts and is mostly undergraduate, while DU is a medium sized university with business, liberal arts and professional schools and a 50/50 undergraduate balance. Also, CC is a famously liberal school (albeit in a conservative city) while DU is more conservative as a school but situated in a more liberal city.

Colorado College is known for its unusual "block plan," which divides the year into eight academic terms; a single class is taken during each block. Students study only one subject for three and a half weeks, which advocates say allows for more lab time, field trips, and other more intensive learning experiences. Blocks are only three weeks long in summer school, during which there are also graduate blocks of differing lengths. In parallel with the students, professors teach only one block at a time. Classes are generally capped at 25.

The current President of the college is Richard Celeste, former Governor of Ohio, ambassador to India, and Director of the Peace Corps.

Colorado College was instituted as a liberal arts college which would foster Christian outreach by its graduates and faculty in the New England tradition. Like many U.S. colleges and universities that have endured from the 19th century it now is secular in outlook, though it retains its liberal arts focus.

The college's first building, Cutler Hall, was occupied in 1880; the first bachelor's degrees were conferred in 1882. Phi Beta Kappa was chartered in 1904. Under President William F. Slocum, who served from 1888 to 1917, the campus took the shape it held until the 1950s. Since the mid-1950s, the campus has been virtually rebuilt. New facilities include three large residence halls, Worner Campus Center, Tutt Library, Olin Hall of Science and the Barnes Science Center, Honnen Ice Rink, Boettcher Health Center, Schlessman Pool, Armstrong Hall of Humanities, Palmer Hall, El Pomar Sports Center, and Packard Hall of Music and Art. Bemis, Cossitt, Cutler, Montgomery, and Palmer Halls are some of the remaining turn-of-the-century structures on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the William I. Spencer Center.

CC’s sports programs are primarily NCAA D-III, except for hockey and women’s soccer, which are Division I. CC and DU were once fierce rivals in many sports, and the two schools played the first football game west of the Mississippi River back in 1885. CC won 12-0, but the victory was tarnished when CC later revealed that a number of players on that team were not CC students.

About the CC Program:
Colorado College started playing hockey in the late 1930s when the Broadmoor Hotel converted its seldom-used indoor riding academy into an ice rink. The Broadmoor World Arena, originally called the Broadmoor Ice Palace, served as CC's home for 55 seasons before being demolished at the conclusion of the 1993-94 campaign.

CC has done a remarkable job in building a powerhouse program when one consider the size of the school, the distance from hockey hotbeds (far) and the strong academics and liberal arts nature of the college . Making it even more special is the fact that the program almost went bust in 1994, when many years of losing seasons and escalating costs put the program at a crossroads. After brushing aside faculty members who called for the end of hockey, CC made a great hire in then coach Don Lucia, who took the Tigers back to the NCAA finals in just a couple of seasons, built a new arena with the help of the city and USA Hockey, and today, have enjoyed strong contender status in the upper echelons of the NCAA. Lucia went on to Minnesota, but CC has remained a contender ever since.

However, ask many Denver Pioneer fans when CC won its last NCAA title and the answer “1957” comes quickly. Yes, Ike was still President when the Tigers brought home the hardware that year in beating Michigan, and the CC fans have been waiting ever since. The Tigers won the NCAA Division I championship twice during the formative years (1950 and 1957) of the NCAA tournament when it was always played in Colorado Springs, were runners up three times (1952, 1955, 1996) and made the NCAA Tournament eighteen times, including every year since 1995 except 2000, 2004 and 2007. In 2005, CC played in the ­Frozen Four against Denver in Columbus, but suffered a 6-2 setback when they could not stop the Denver power play that April afternoon.

While the Tigers have been a strong program since the mid 1990s, there were many years of disappointing hockey between the 1957 NCAA title and Lucia’s arrival in 1993, as the Tigers had just four winning seasons and one NCAA appearance in that time span .

Tiger Hockey officially made its debut on January 21 of 1938 in an 8-1 loss to a team sponsored by Giddings Department Store in Colorado Springs. Colorado College finished the campaign with three victories and nine defeats under playing coach and team captain John Atwood of Watertown, Conn.

The program made significant strides forward the following season under new coach Garrett Livingston, whose leadership the next four years helped vault CC to national prominence. While several New England students with backgrounds in high school hockey joined the team, the strongest addition was Ernie Young of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. When Young returned in the fall of 1939 for his second year at the school, he brought four more Canadian players with him - Jack Chamney, John "Chick" Ross, Wilmer "Spike" Wilson and Harold McClay -all from his home province.

With Livingston at the helm, those players helped the Tigers sweep the University of Michigan, 4-2 and 4-3, in their first-ever intercollegiate series early during the 1939-40 season. Colorado College also played games against Colorado Mines, the Montana School of Mines and the University of Southern California, champion of the Pacific Coast League, that season. Enthusiasm reached a feverish pitch among CC hockey supporters for the next few years, with games at the World Arena selling out on a regular basis. By winter of 1942, the Tigers had earned a reputation as one of college hockey's "Big Four," along with USC, the University of Illinois and Dartmouth.

Due to World War II, no games were played in 1942-43 or '43-44, but the sport was rejuvenated at Colorado College and nationwide in 1944-45. With the return of former players and the addition of seven more Canadians, the Tigers quickly were on the rise again. Cheddy Thompson, who came to Colorado Springs when he was assigned to 2nd Air Force Headquarters here, took over the coaching duties in the fall of 1945 and held the position for the next decade.

In cooperation with the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado College sponsored the first National Collegiate Athletic Association Hockey Championships at the end of the 1947-48 season. The tournament would be held at the Ice Palace for the next 10 years, with CC participating seven times - in 1948, '49, '50, '51, '52, '55 and '57. Thompson was at the helm when CC won its first NCAA championship in 1950 and finished as runner-up in 1952 and '55. He was named national Coach of the Year in 1952 by the United States Hockey Coaches Association.

In 1951, Colorado College helped found the Mid-West Collegiate Hockey League, which changed its name to the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League in 1953. Other charter members were the University of Denver, Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota and North Dakota. The WIHL evolved to become the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in November of 1959, with the present-day WCHA consisting of five of its original seven teams plus the University of Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State University and Alaska Anchorage.

Four Colorado College coaches - John Matchefts (1968-69), Jeff Sauer (1971-72 and '74-75), Brad Buetow (1991-92) and Don Lucia (1993-94 and '95-96) - have earned WCHA Coach of the Year honors. Matchefts (2007) and Sauer (2003) both have been named recipients of the prestigious John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award for their contributions to the overall growth and development of ice hockey nationwide. Lucia (1993-94) and Tony Frasca (1962-63) each were named national Coach of the Year by the U.S. Hockey Coaches Association. Still another, Bob Johnson (1963-66), went on to the National Hockey League where he guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship in 1991. Johnson earlier had served as head coach of the 1976 United States Olympic Team and of the NHL's Calgary Flames, as well as a three-year stint as executive director of USA Hockey.

More than 20 former Tigers actually have played in the NHL, including recent Tigers Noah Clarke, Mark Cullen, Jack Hillen, Curtis McElhinney, Toby Petersen, Richard Petiot, Tom Preissing, Peter Sejna, Brett Sterling, Mike Stuart, Colin Stuart and Mark Stuart, who was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2003. Two Colorado College products – Red Hay with the Blackhawks in 1961 and Doug Lidster with the New York Rangers in 1994 and Dallas Stars in 1999 have had their – names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

University Traditions:
Nickname – Tigers
College lore has it that in the late 19th century, the CC Trustees made the decision in homage to Princeton University's tiger emblem. Nearly a hundred years after in 1994, a group of CC students began a campaign to change the mascot from the tiger to the greenback cutthroat trout, the Colorado state fish. When the subject came to a vote, the tiger won by a narrow margin: 468 for, 423 against. The Tiger mascot is named “Prowler.

School Colors
Black and Gold

Scientia Et Disciplina (Science or Knowledge and Discipline)

Famous CC Alumni
Diana De Gette, US House (D-Colo.)
Ken Salazar, US Senator (D-Colo.)
Lynne Cheney, Wife of US Vice President Dick Cheney
Steve Sabol, President, NFL Films
Dutch Clark, NFL Hall of Fame (Detroit Lions, New York Giants)
Red Hay, NHL Player and administrator
Peggy Fleming, US Gold Medalist Figure Skater

The City of Colorado Springs
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 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 (who also founded CC and co-founded the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad), with the intention of creating a high quality resort community to benefit from the mountain location, the 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.

Famous Colorado Springs Residents
* Silent film star Lon Chaney
* Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage
* Focus on the Family founder James Dobson
* Cassandra Peterson (better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark)
* Automobile racer Bobby Unser
* Former British ice dancer Christopher Dean

The Series:
While CC has gotten the better of DU in the last few years in regular season action, DU still likes to point out that in the last DU/CC meeting in WCHA and NCAA playoff tournaments, it is the Pioneers who have emerged victorious. All of it fuels the long-held rivalry, which has taken on even greater fervency as both programs are nationally ranked.

The Tigers like a fast up-tempo style of play with some very experienced and dangerous forwards, and with the high quality of goaltending and defense on the squad, there is no question why they were a consensus pick to win the WCHA. So far this season, the goaltending and defense have been fine, but the offense power everyone expected from CC has been largely fueled by the top line of Sweatt, Rau and Walsky, while the second and third lines have been less productive than expected. DU needs to particularly contain Rau and Mike Testuide (brother of Pioneers’ captain JP Testuide) who always seem to play exceptionally well against Denver. CC is going to be tested defensively, as they have not seen an offense this year as potent as Denver.

The Pioneers on the other hand, have had great offensive success on three lines and from the defense, while the defensive and goaltending have been a little less stout than expected. Accordingly, DU hopes it can tighten up a bit on the backline, and CC is going to try and upgrade and balance the scoring output. Both teams have plenty of speed.

All that said, emotion plays a big role in the series, and DU in recent years has not played at the same emotional level as CC has, and I am sure that coming off a tough loss to Ohio State and trying to get the Gold Pan back should help the Pioneers play at a higher emotional level. I also think the Tigers will come into the series with a high level of emotion as they have for the last few years.

Looking at the quality of players on both benches, I think we’re in for a split, with the Pioneers getting the first one in Denver and CC getting revenge at home. I am predicting a 3-2 Pioneer victory on Friday and a 4-2 CC win on Sunday. CC this year seems to have a little more trouble on the smaller rink, while Denver has yet to play on a large surface this year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Ohio State University Buckeyes (1-2-1)

Magness Arena, Denver October 24-25
Homecoming and DU Hall of Fame Weekend

The No. 2 ranked University of Denver Pioneers (3-0) host The Ohio State University Buckeyes from the CCHA(1-2-1) during Homecoming and University of Denver Hall of Fame Weekend. Sellout crowds are expected.

The Pioneers are 4-2 all-time, including a 3-2 mark in Denver, against Ohio State in the series that started in 1973. When the Pioneers and Buckeyes met last time on Oct. 3, 2003, DU thumped OSU 5-2 at the Lefty McFadden Invitational tournament in Dayton to open the season, with the Pioneers going on to win the NCAA Championship. The Pioneers have scored five or more goals in their last three meetings against Ohio State and have outscored the Buckeyes, 32-21, in six meetings.

The ‘Puck Bucks’, a very young OSU team with 22 underclassmen, improved to 1-2-1 after splitting a two-game series against Lake Superior State last weekend in Columbus. Lake State defeated OSU 7-3 on Oct. 17, but the Buckeyes earned the split with a 4-2 win on Oct. 18. The Buckeyes opened the season with a loss (7-3) and tie (3-3) against in state rival Miami (Ohio).
Buckeyes to Watch

Sophomore forward John Albert leads the team in scoring with 2-4—6, Sophomore Hunter Bishop has 5 poitns and rookie phenom Zac Dalpe, who played in juniors in Wayne Gretzky’s hometown of Brantford, Ont., earned CCHA Rookie of the Week honors after a four-point weekend against the Lakers. Goalies Joseph Palmer (0-2-1, 5.36 GAA, .836 Sv%) and Dustin Carlson (1-0, 4.01 GAA, .854 Sv%) have each played three games, and both have struggled. OSU is 3-for-24 (12.5%) on the power play and 20-for-28 (71.4%) on the penalty kill. Head coach John Markell is 243-236-47 in 15 seasons at Ohio State.

About the Ohio State Program:
Ohio State first laced up the varsity skates in 1963 in the what is now the old OSU Ice Rink, which is connected to St. John's Arena (the former basketball home of the Buckeyes), and a stone’s throw from the famous “Horseshoe” of Ohio Stadium. The OSU ice rink was notoriously grim from the very beginning seating about 1,000 people on bleachers with a low ceiling, with additional standing room for another 200 people. The men’s played in the OSU Ice Rink from 1963 until 1998, when they moved in to the Value City Arena at the Jerome Scottenstein Center, the 17,500 seat home of OSU Hockey and Basketball and the largest hockey arena in the NCAA today. Poineer fans behold the Value City Arena with great reverance, as it was site of the 2005 NCAA Denver title in Columbus. The old OSU rink is now home to the OSU women’s hockey team.

OSU began hockey in 1963 as part of the now defunct Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association under former Colorado College coach Tom Bedecki, who had won CC’s last NCAA Championship in 1957 as coach of the Tigers. After a couple of losing seasons, Bedecki was replaced by Glen Sonmor, who coached only a year at OSU before moving on the coach the Minnesota Gophers. Current Toronto Maple Leafs TV analyst Harry Neale took over the reins for the next four seasons and coached OSU from 1966-70. “We only had four scholarships, which we wound up splitting between eight kids” Neale told the Toronto Sun in 2006 …We didn’t win many games, but I helped (Buckeyes football legend) Woody Hayes win two titles” (Neale was also physical fitness instructor that helped the Buckeye football team) and also taught beginners hockey to several OSU football players, including Jack Tatum, later an all-pro Safety with the Oakland Raiders.

When the MCHA folded in 1971, OSU joined a new league, the CCHA which has been founded that same year as a collection of fledgling hockey programs that would not become eligible to send a team to the NCAA tourney until 1977. In 1971, under coach Dave Chambers, the Buckeyes finished 24-5 and won the regular season CCHA championship, and conference tournament championship, but was not eligible for NCAA tourney play due to the league’s youth and composition.

Former Buckeye Jerry Welsh took over the team as coach in 1975, and would hold the job for nearly 20 years without an NCAA tournament appearance, with a career record of 328-381-56.

Current coach John Markell took control of the hockey Buckeyes when Coach Welsh retired and has been there ever since, with a winning record and over 200 victories, but more importantly the Buckeyes have gathered 5 NCAA tournament appearances, and one Frozen four appearance in 1998, when the Buckeyes fell to Boston College in Overtime, 4-3 in Boston.

In the 2003-04 season, the Buckeyes found themselves on the top of the CCHA hill for the first time since the 1971-72 season, as the Buckeyes defeated the Michigan Wolverines in the CCHA Tournament final, but the Bucks fell to Wisconsin 1-0 in the NCAA East regional.

Since the completion of the Value City Arena, the Buckeyes have had excellent facilities that have helped in recruiting, but OSU hockey in the football and basketball-mad city of Columbus has had a hard time generating consistent fan support as it has at other large Big 10 universities.

About the Ohio State University
The Ohio State University (OSU) was founded in 1870 as a land-grant university under the name of the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school was originally situated within a farming community located on the northern edge of Columbus in Central Ohio. While some interests in the state had hoped that the new university would focus on matriculating students of various agricultural and mechanical disciplines, Governor (and later US President) Rutherford B. Hayes foresaw a more classic, comprehensive university and manipulated both the university's location and its initial board of trustees towards that end. Later that year, the university welcomed its first class of twenty-four students. In 1878, and in light of its expanded focus, the college permanently changed its name to the now-familiar "The Ohio State University"

Today, OSU is huge – it is currently the largest single-campus university in the United States with more than 52,000 students on campus, and over 60,000 system wide. For comparison, the entire University of Denver undergraduate student population (4900) is smaller than the freshman class at OSU (6100).

Despite improving academic programs, OSU is still probably best known for its enormous varsity sports program driven by its famous football program, with nearly 40 varsity sports and an athletic budget of over $100 million, more than 5 times the athletic budget of the University of Denver Football at OSU generates more than $60 million and returns a profit of nearly $30 million on its own, which allows OSU to fund nearly 40 sports and still have millions left over in profit to plow back into the school.

Columbus, Ohio – Home of the Buckeyes

Columbus is the capital and the largest city of the U.S. state of Ohio with a city population of 711,470 in the 2000 census, and metropolitan area population of 1,754,337. Located near the geographic center of the state, Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County, although parts of the city also extend into Delaware and Fairfield counties. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. The city has a diverse economy based on education, insurance, healthcare, retail, and technology. It is probably best known as the headquarters for companies such as Wendy’s, Nationwide Insurance and The Limited.

University Traditions:

Nickname: Buckeyes
According to OSU, the use of the term Buckeyes to refer to Ohio State University sports teams derives from the even wider use of the term to refer to all residents of the State of Ohio. The university's Athletic Council officially adopted the term in 1950, but it had been in common use for many years before—certainly it was firmly established by 1920, and most records indicate that it had probably been used with some frequency to refer to Ohio State and its athletic teams since before the turn of the century.

As with many such terms that seem to have evolved rather than been decreed, the history of "buckeye" is a bit fuzzy. The buckeye (aesculus glabra) is a tree, native to Ohio and particularly prevalent in the Ohio River Valley, whose shiny dark brown nuts with lighter tan patches resemble the eye of a deer. Settlers who crossed the Alleghenies found it to be the only unfamiliar tree in the forest. Perhaps its uniqueness contributed to its popularity because it had few other attractions. Pioneers carved the soft buckeye wood into troughs, platters, and even cradles. Before the days of plastic, buckeye wood was often used to fashion artificial limbs. The nuts, although inedible, are attractive and folk wisdom had it that carrying one in a pocket brings good luck and wards off rheumatism. However, in general, the trees and their nuts are of little practical use: the wood does not burn well, the bark has an unpleasant odor, and the bitter nut meat is mildly toxic.

It was the presidential election of 1840, though, that put the term permanently in the vocabulary. William Henry Harrison, who had traded his Virginia-born aristocratic background for a more populist image as a war hero and frontiersman living on the banks of the Ohio River just west of Cincinnati, adopted the buckeye tree and buckeye nuts as campaign symbols. At the Whig convention, Harrison delegates carried buckeye canes, decorated with strings of buckeye beads. The buckeye nut was a precursor to today's campaign buttons. The buckeye became indelibly linked with Ohio.

The Ohio buckeye is one of 13 recognized members of the genus Aesculus, seven native to North America, one to Europe (the horse chestnut) and five to Asia. The Ohio buckeye's five-fingered leaflet, along with the nut, are sometimes used as symbols for The Ohio State University and are incorporated in its Alumni Association logo. Buckeye leaf decals are awarded to Ohio State football players for outstanding efforts on the field; players with many buckeye leaves on their helmets are indeed honored.

It is rare for an athletic team to be named after a tree; but the Buckeye name is so ingrained in the history and lore of the state and the university that few stop to consider how unusual it is.

Mascot: Brutus Buckeye
In 1965 Brutus Buckeye hit the scene when student Ray Bourhis, along with other members of the student organization Ohio Staters Inc., convinced the OSU athletic council of the idea of a Buckeye as Ohio State’s live mascot. At the time, other schools used animals for their mascots and actually had the animals present at the games. Bourhis thought the only animal fitting for Ohio was the buck deer, but bringing an actual buck to games would have been virtually impossible. The buckeye was later named Brutus in an all-campus naming contest and began his career as a large fiber glass shell which weighed forty pounds. Since then, Brutus has gone through several updates, and today is a much more lightweight and active part of Ohio State sporting and spirit events.

School Colors

Ohio State's official school colors since 1878, Scarlet and Gray were chosen by a group of three students in a lecture room in University Hall because "it was a pleasing combination...and had not been adopted by any other college," noted selection committee member Alice Townshend Wing.

OSU Fight Song

In 1915, OSU student William A. Dougherty, Jr., set out to write the fight song for his alma mater. Introduced at a pep rally for the 1915 Illinois OSU football game, Fight the Team Across the Field made its Ohio Field debut at the same game. Though the lyrics are geared to the football field, it has become a rallying song for all Buckeye teams. While it has been arranged in many different ways and used for many purposes, its most popular appearance is at Buckeye football games.


Across the Field

Fight the team across the field,
Show them Ohio's here
Set the earth reverberating
with a mighty cheer
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Hit them hard and see how they fall;
Never let that team get the ball,
Hail! Hail! the gang's all here,
So let's win that
old conference now.

Script Ohio:

The signature formation of the Ohio State Marching Band performed before, during halftime or after home football games but also has been presented in a reduced version on the ice for hockey games.

Actually first performed by the rival University of Michigan Band in 1932, the OSU band perfected the formation in the mind 1930s. Each time the formation drill is performed, a different fourth-or fifth-year sousaphone player has the privilege of standing as the dot in the "i" of "Ohio." At exactly 16 measures from the end of an old French military March "Le Regiment," the drum major struts out toward the top of the "i," with a senior sousaphone player high-stepping a couple of paces behind. As the crowd's cheering crescendos, the drum major stops and dramatically points to the spot, and the sousaphone player assumes the post of honor, doffs his or her hat and bows deeply to both sides of the stadium or arena.

Famous Ohio State University Alumni

Ohio state is a huge school, and has turned out one of the largest alumni groups in the world. Here is a sampling of well-known Buckeyes

Arts and literature

· George Wesley Bellows, painter (1905) (attended but did not graduate)

· Roy Lichtenstein, artist (BFA, 1946; MFA, 1949; honorary doctorate, 1988)

· James Thurber, author and humorist (attended but did not graduate)


· Leslie Wexner, CEO, chairman and founder of Limited Brands corporation (B.S. 1959)


· Patricia Heaton, Emmy Award-winning actress on Everybody Loves Raymond (B.A., 1980)

· Melina Kanakaredes, actress, star of Providence and CSI: NY (attended but did not graduate)

· Richard Lewis, comedian, actor, writer (B.S. (1969)

· Dwight Yoakam, Country musician, actor

Current United States Senators

· Sherrod Brown, United States Senator from Ohio (M.A., 1981)

· Thomas R. Carper, United States Senator from Delaware (B.A., 1968)

· George Voinovich, United States Senator from Ohio (J.D.)


· Curtis LeMay, United States Air Force general (World War II and Cold War) (B.S. 1928)

· Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killer

Olympic Medalists

· Glenn Ashby Davis, Track and Field 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Gold Medal; 1960 Rome Olympic Games Two Gold Medals

· Paul Hamm, Gymnastics 2004 Athens Olympic Games Gold Medal, Two Silver Medals

· Jerry Lucas, Basketball 1960 Rome Olympic Games Gold Medal

· Jesse Owens, Track and Field 1936 Berlin Olympic Games Four Gold Medals


· John Havlicek, NBA star, Basketball Hall of Fame

· Clark Kellogg, former NBA player, TV sports analyst

· Bobby Knight, Basketball Hall of Fame (B.A., 1962)

· Jerry Lucas, NBA star, Basketball Hall of Fame

· Greg Oden, 1st Team All-American, 2007, selected with the number one pick of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers

· Arnie Risen, four-time NBA all-star Basketball Hall of Fame

· Fred R. Taylor, long time former OSU head basketball coach, Basketball Hall of Fame


· Galen Cisco, MLB pitcher (1961-1969)

· George Steinbrenner, N.Y. Yankees owner


· Paul Brown, famous coach, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and namesake of Paul Brown Stadium (M.A. 1940)

· Earle Bruce, College Football Hall of Fame coach

· Cris Carter, former NFL wide receiver

· Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, Heisman Trophy Winner 1955

· Eddie George, Heisman Trophy winner 1995, former NFL football player

· Sid Gillman, NFL coach and Pro Football Hall of Fame

· Randy Gradishar, NFL linebacker, College Football Hall of Fame member

· Archie Griffin, only two-time (1974 & 1975) Heisman Trophy winner, current president of The Ohio State University Alumni Association

· A.J. Hawk, NFL linebacker for the Green Bay Packers 2005 Lombardi Award Recipient

· Woody Hayes, Ohio State football coach and educator, M.A.

· Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN sports analyst and former OSU quarterback

· Urban Meyer, head coach of the Florida Gators (M.A. 1988)

· Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler, Former football coach of the Michigan Wolverines (Master's 1952)

· Troy Smith, 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Baltimore Ravens

· Jack Tatum, football player for the Oakland Raiders, author

· Paul Warfield, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver

· Bill Willis, Pro Football Hall of Famer and first African-American pro football player


· Jack Nicklaus(attended)

· Tom Weiskopf


· Ryan Kesler, current NHL hockey player

· Jamie Macoun, longtime veteran ice hockey defenceman in the NHL

· Rod Pelley, currently playing for the New Jersey Devils in the NHL

· R.J. Umberger, current ice hockey player in the NHL for the Columbus Blue Jackets

· Dave Steckel, current ice hockey player in the NHL for the Washington Capitals

The Series:
OSU has had a checkered start to the season, and that’s not at all surprising for such a young team, which played only two upperclassmen last week. Coach Markell is hoping for a “Top 6” finish in the CCHA, but the Buckeyes are considered by most to be a little too young at this point to challenge the top teams in the CCHA this season. With frosh Zac Dalpe. A second round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, breaking out as CCHA Rookie of the Week last week, he is likely the key to the Bucks’ offensive success this weekend, but realistically, OSU needs a more consistent goaltending performance to have a chance at victory this weekend.

The Pioneers, on the other hand, are coming into the homecoming series with confidence at 3-0, scoring progressively more goals (5-6-7) in their three games, all against ranked teams. On paper, it looks as though Denver should be able to get the sweep, and I think this is the likely outcome. That said, Denver needs to get some more focus out of goalie Marc Cheverie, who has been adequate but inconsistent to date. The Pioneers also need to be wary of a “trap” weekend, with arch rival Colorado College on the docket next week.

Prediction: Sweep. Denver 4, OSU 1 on Friday, Denver 3 OSU 2 on Saturday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The University of Wisconsin Badgers (0-2-0)

(above) The Kohl Center has the largest attendance in college hockey

Magness Arena, Denver October 17-18
WCHA Opener for Both Teams

The Denver Pioneers host the Wisconsin Badgers in what promises to be an exciting new chapter of a growing rivalry between the schools beyond the usual quest for WCHA supremacy. In the last meeting between the schools, the Badgers ran the Pioneers straight out of the Kohl Center in Madison in the NCAA regional, 6-2, ending the Pioneers’ season in bitter fashion. Wisconsin had historically struggled against the Pioneers in Madison in recent years, but last year, the Badgers were likely fueled by memories of the “Randy Schmidt incident” – a controversial botched video review that robbed the Badgers of the tying goal in a hotly contested league game at Magness Arena won by the Pioneers last January.

The Badgers hold a 70-51-9 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1968. DU is 1-4 in its last five games against Wisconsin and 5-5 in its last 10.

This offseason also added a little fuel to the fire when Patrick Wiercioch, a highly coveted recruit of both schools, decided to break his verbal commitment to Wisconsin after the Badgers wanted him to play another year of junior hockey, rather than come to Madison to compete for a spot on a crowded Badger backline. Instead, Wiercioch decided (perhaps nudged a bit by the Ottawa Senators, the holders of his draft rights) that he was ready for college hockey now, and chose to come to Denver to take the spot of DU defensive recruit David Carle, who had been forced to retire from hockey due to a heart condition.

The Badgers roll into Denver 0-2 after a tough opening weekend on the East Coast. UW lost the opener to last years NCAA Champion Boston College 5-4 in a close contest, and then took one on the chin in a 5-1 loss at New Hampshire. Wisconsin started two goaltenders (Shane Connelly and Scott Gudmandson) and each allowed five goals last weekend. The Badgers went 0-for-16 on the power play and 16-for-19 on the penalty kill.

Badgers to Watch
Wisconsin returns five of its top six scorers from last year, including Ben Street, Blake Geoffrion, Michael Davies and Jamie McBain. The Badgers welcome eight newcomers to the roster, including freshmen Jordy Murray and Ryan Little, who lead the team with two points each. From my perspective, coach Mike Eaves is building a strong defensive talent base, but a lot of that talent is still young and developing. Wisconsin is at it best in tight games, and look for the Badgers to try and disrupt DU’s transition game.

About the Wisconsin Program:
According to Wikipedia and the UW web sites, records indicate that ice hockey was played at Wisconsin before 1900, but the first varsity game was played in 1921. Coaching changes were frequent and seasons were short, due presumably to relying on nature to provide suitable outdoor conditions, and the University dropped the sport in 1935.

The modern era of Badger Hockey began in 1963, with the decision of athletic director Ivan B. Williamson. The Badgers started out ambitiously, playing as an independent team and scheduling 8 games against Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams, losing all 8 games. However, the persistence eventually paid off. Late in the 1965-66 season, the Badgers finally broke through, beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-4 in overtime, their first win over a WCHA opponent. At the end of that season, Coach John Riley retired, and UW hired "Badger" Bob Johnson (left), a former Minnesota Gopher player who would build the UW program into what it is today. Johnson would become one of the most the most legendary American hockey figures of all time, coaching not only the Badgers to NCAA glory, but winning a Stanley Cup as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and becoming an international fixture with USA Hockey as a coach and administrator.

The next milestone for UW hockey was WCHA membership, which came for the 1969-70 season. The Badgers shocked the hockey world by gaining an NCAA tournament berth in their first season as members of the WCHA. The early success captivated fans, who packed the 8,600 seat Dane County Coliseum off campus and made the arena what Sports Illustrated termed the “Montreal Forum of College Hockey”.

More success would follow under Johnson. After again earning an NCAA bid in 1972, the Badgers won their first national championship in 1973, over the Denver Pioneers. The 1977 UW team further cemented Wisconsin Hockey in the national landscape, by sweeping the WCHA regular season, tournament, and NCAA tournament titles. Behind the efforts of four first team All-Americans, Mike Eaves (the current head coach of UW) 1980 Olympic hero Mark Johnson (Badger Bob’s son and now coach of the UW women’ team), Craig Norwich and Julian Baretta) the 1977 team won the title in amazing fashion, getting an equalizing goal late in regulation and winning goal in overtime in the final against Michigan. Another player on that team, grinding forward George Gwozdecky, would later become the coach of the Denver Pioneers, cementing his own legend in Denver.

The early 1980s were a glory period for Badger Hockey. The Badgers reached the NCAA title game three consecutive times in 1981, 1982, and 1983. The 1981 title was especially sweet for the Badger faithful, coming with a defeat of archrival Minnesota in the championship game. After again reaching the championship game in 1982, where the Badgers lost to North Dakota, the program was dealt a double blow with the resignation of "Badger" Bob Johnson. He left Wisconsin after 15 seasons with 3 NCAA championships, a record of 367-175-23, and having built the program into an NCAA powerhouse.

The pain of 1982 was quickly eased in 1983, however, with the hire of former Badger assistant coach Jeff Sauer. Sauer turned around and won the 1983 NCAA championship in his first season. Wisconsin defeated Harvard 6-2 to earn the program's 4th NCAA title. Under Sauer's leadership, the Badgers would qualify for eight consecutive NCAA tournaments from 1988 to 1995, winning the program's 5th NCAA title in 1990, with a 7-3 victory over Colgate in Detroit. Also, Sauer presided over the team's move from the venerable Dane County Coliseum to the new, on-campus Kohl Center in 1998. The Badgers have been tops in college hockey attendance every year since moving to the Kohl Center, where crowds of 13,000 -15,000+ are the norm, with a rowdy band and and fully engaged student section. Wisconsin is also credited with the inventions of the "Sieve" cheer, now heard all over college hockey. A game in Madison is a special experience that all hockey fans should experience.

In the mid 1990s, Badger hockey hit a bit of a lull, earning NCAA bids in 1998 and 2000, but generally underachieving compared to the high standards of the 1970s and 1980s. The 1999-2000 team featured a duo of 2nd overall NHL draft pick Dany Heatley and Steve Reinprecht, won the MacNaughton Cup, and earned a #1 position in the polls for most of the season, only to be upset by Boston College in the NCAA regionals. Two seasons later, during the 2001-2002 campaign, coach Sauer announced his retirement.

Sauer's replacement was hotly debated. Denver’s George Gwozdecky was considered, but elected to stay at DU, and the selection came down to Mike Eaves and Mark Johnson, with Eaves getting the nod due to deeper coaching experience in the NHL and abroad. While Eaves still holds the record as UW's all-time leading scorer, he is a much more defensive-minded coach. His first season at UW was full of hardship and controversy, including one of the worst records in the modern era. However, in 2003-2004, Eaves brought the Badgers just short of the Frozen Four, falling in overtime to Maine. After a disappointing finish to the 2004-2005 season, the Badgers returned to national prominence by winning the 2005/2006 NCAA championship by winning the Frozen Four held in nearby Milwaukee. He is looking to return the Badgers to the pinnacle again, but recent teams have lacked the scoring depth needed to win Frozen Fours.

About the University of Wisconsin
Founded in 1848, the original idea of UW was to start the university near the seat of the state government in Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin. UW was founded the same year that Wisconsin became a state, and the University began with 17 students in rented rooms at the Madison Female Academy. Since then, it has grown to become one of America’s largest research universities, with over 42,000 students in 20 different schools, and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin system over $900 million in research funding.

Early UW academic successes included the 1913 and 1916 discoveries of Vitamins A and B by UW scientist, Elmer V. McCollum, and the 1923 process for adding vitamin D to milk. In 1940, UW developed Warfarin, an important blood thinner,
(also known as Coumadin) and named it after the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

In the 1960s and 70s, Madison and UW became a hotbed of anti-war protests including the August, 1970 bombing outside the Army Math Research Center in Sterling Hall, killing post-doctoral researcher Robert Fassnacht.

In 1988, two UW Madison students, Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson founded the Onion humor newspaper, and in 1998, UW cell biologist James Thompson first isolated and cultured human embryonic stem cells.

UW is a member of the Big 10 conference as well as the WCHA, and has really upgraded its athletic programs in recent years, and with no other comparable school in the state, UW Madison has a deep and passionate statewide following with large alumni chapters across the world.

Madison, Wisconsin
Known as one of America’s great college towns, the City of Madison is the State Capital with over 220,000 residents, and over 500,000 in the metropolitan area, the second largest city in Wisconsin after Milwaukee. The city was founded in 1836 as planned capital for the new Wisconsin Territory, and had only 626 people when UW was founded in 1848. The UW Campus has over 900 acres that occupy much of central Madison, sitting on an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota in south central Wisconsin.

During the American Civil War, Madison served as a center of the Union Army in Wisconsin. Camp Randall, on the west side of Madison, was built and used as a training camp, a military hospital, and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. After the war ended, the Camp Randall site was absorbed into the University of Wisconsin. Camp Randall Stadium was built over the site in 1917.

Today, the city is known for both its liberal leanings and for its reputation as a party town, helped along by 40,000+ UW students and the bars of State Street. It's a white collar place with a lot of culture, recreational opportunities and cheap alcohol.

University Traditions:

Nickname – Badgers
The nickname "Badgers" was borrowed from the state of Wisconsin. The territory was dubbed the "Badger State," not because of animals in the region, but rather because of an association with lead miners. In the 1820s and 1830s, prospectors came to the state looking for minerals, and without shelter in the winter, the miners had to "live like badgers" in tunnels burrowed into the hillsides. The badger mascot was adopted by the University of Wisconsin in 1889.

Logo and Mascot:
"Buckingham U. Badger", aka “Bucky Badger” was chosen in a student contest in 1949. The current emblem, a scowling, strutting badger wearing a cardinal-and-white striped sweater, was designed by Art Evans in 1940. Bucky wears a cardinal red and white Wisconsin sweater along with a gruff look on his face (the costumed-mascot version is decidedly cheerier, with a beaming smile).He also has a history of playfully fighting other team's mascots like the University of Minnesota's Goldy Gopher or Purdue University's Purdue Pete. Although fighting is no longer allowed by NCAA mascots, Bucky still frequently interacts with other mascots through skits. Bill Sagal was the first costumed Bucky Badger. The original Bucky costume was introduced at a pep rally on Friday, November 11, 1949, before the next day's Homecoming football game against Iowa. Carolyn (Connie) Conrad, a UW art student, designed the original chicken wire and paper mache head. Sagal, then head cheerleader, wore his regular cheerleader trousers and sweater and added boxing gloves.

The modern Bucky Badger logo was part of a group of "comic collegiate badger mascots" created by the Anson W. Thompson Company of Los Angeles in 1940. The company was one of several that manufactured decals and other logowear for universities. The UW athletic department first used the logo on the cover of the 1948 Football Facts and Centennial Sports Review. In 2003, Bucky was given an update, with simplified lines and the "motion W" on his sweater.

Wisconsin School Colors:

Cardinal and white are the official colors of UW’s sports teams, and the color of cardinal shade or red comes originally from Catholic Cardinal’s Cassock (robe). Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa State, USC, Stanford and Wisconsin all use Cardinal as a school color, which is very close shade to crimson, the color of the Pioneers.

Wisconsin Fight Song
"On, Wisconsin!" is the fight song of the Wisconsin Badgers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is also the official state song of Wisconsin. "On, Wisconsin!" was also the cry that Arthur MacArthur, Jr. used in the Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge, in the Civil War.

The tune was composed in 1909 by William T. Purdy, with the intention of entering it into a competition for a new fight song at the University of Minnesota. Carl Beck, a former University of Wisconsin-Madison student, convinced him to withdraw it from the contest at the last minute and allow his alma mater to use it instead. Beck then wrote the original, football-oriented lyrics, changing the words "Minnesota, Minnesota" to "On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!" (The eventual winner of the competition became known as the Minnesota Rouser).

The lyrics were rewritten for the state song in 1913 by Judge Charles D. Rosa and J. S. Hubbard. The song was widely recognized as the state song at that time, but was never officially designated. Finally in 1959, "On, Wisconsin!" was officially designated as the State Song. The song is actually in the public domain and used by hundreds of high school and small colleges, and is even used as the fight song of the CFL’s Saskatchewan RoughRiders.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
Run the ball clear down the field,
A touchdown sure this time. (U rah rah)
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game.

Famous University of Wisconsin Alumni
The University of Wisconsin has many distinguished alumni including aviator Charles Lindbergh, Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, writers Saul Bellow, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen Ambrose and Eudora Welty, TV personalities Edwin Newman, Greta Van Susteren and Jeff Greenfield. Famous UW politicians include Dick and Lynn Cheney, Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, as well as musicians Steve Miller and Boz Skaggs.

Famous Sports Alumni include Alan Ameche, Ron Dayne, Troy Vincent and Crazy Legs Hirsch (Football), NBAers Michael Finley and Devin Harris, Baseball Hall of Famer Addie Joss, NHL Hockey players Chris Chelios, Dany Heatley,Tony Granato, Mike Richter and Gary Suter, and Olympians Eric Heiden, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Carly Piper and Horse trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

The Series
Wisconsin rolls into Denver agitated and angry after an 0-2 start and ranked 20th, while the Pioneers are ranked fourth and are coming off a dominant third period against Notre Dame and are playing with confidence after the 5-2 victory over the Irish.

Wisconsin is deeper in the defensive talent than DU is, but the Pios have a deeper offensive attack. I also like Cheverie a little more than the Wisconsin goaltending so far, (Shane Connelly and Scott Gudmandson) who are allowing 5 goals per game.

I think Wisconsin is better than its record, and I would not be at all surprised to see UW take points in Denver this weekend, especially after owning the Pioneers in the last few games. But I also think Denver has respect to play for after last years early NCAA exit at the hands of Bucky. The key to the series will be Denver's ability to use its offensive advantages as Wisconsin's defensive talent continues the gelling process.

I am predicting a split. 2-1 Wisconsin on Friday, 5-3 Denver on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0-0)

Magness Arena, Denver Sat., Oct. 11 - U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game

(above) The Irish celebrate upsetting Michigan in the NCAA semi-final in Denver last year

The Denver Pioneers host the most famous athletic brand name school in America when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to town for the 2008 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game this Saturday. The last game the Irish played was in Denver, but not against the Pioneers, when the Irish lost the 2008 NCAA title game against fellow Catholic school rival Boston College at Denver’s Pepsi Center last April.

Denver has played the Irish 57 times since the first series in January of 1971 when the Pioneers defeated the Irish, 6-3 and 4-2. The Pioneers sport a 34-10-3 lifetime record against ND, including a split series in South Bend, Ind. last year.

Fighting Irish to Watch:
This year’s Irish team is ranked #4 in both national polls (USCHO and USA Today). The CCHA coaches’ poll picked the Irish to win the league, while CCHA media picked Notre Dame to finish second (after Michigan).

Over 80% of the Golden Domer’s goal-scorers return, including pre-season all-CCHA forward Erik Condra, who bagged 38 points last season, and one of the nation’s premier offensive defensemen, junior Kyle Lawson, who added 26 points from the blue line last season. Goaltender Jordan Pearce returns as well, and Pioneer fans should also look for co-captain Christian Hanson, who finished strongly last season for ND, and whose father, Dave, was an ex-NHLer who starred as one of the Hanson Brothers in the famous 1977 hockey cult movie classic, Slap Shot.

(above) ND Goalie Jordan Pearce backstops the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish

About the Notre Dame Program:
Notre Dame began playing sporadic varsity hockey on the lakes of South Bend from 1912-1927, often led by ND football players. In fact, one of the Irish’s best goaltenders in those early years was Jim Crowley, who later became immortalized as one of the “Four Horsemen” -- a famous Notre Dame football backfield of the early ‘20s. Crowley’s hockey career was cut short by famed Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, who wanted Crowley on the football field and not the ice.

(above) Jim Crowley (third from left) was one of the ‘four horsemen’ as well as an early Notre Dame hockey goalie

He later became head football coach at Michigan State and Fordham, as well as commissioner of the All-America Football Conference, an early pro football league.

After a long absence from campus, due to a lack of indoor ice facilities, Notre Dame began to get serious about hockey again in the 1960s. Under coach Lefty Smith, a new 2,800-seat hockey arena was constructed as part of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center, the twin domed sports complex that the Irish have called home ever since. Smith still works at Notre Dame, as manager of the arena.

(above) ND’s Home Arena, The Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center (ACC,) was built in the late 1960s

Irish hockey returned at the varsity level in 1968 for three independent D-I seasons and joined the WCHA in 1971-72, where it remained until 1980 with only a couple of winning seasons. At that time, the Irish (along with fellow WCHA members Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan Tech) all jumped to the geographically closer CCHA to combat rising travel costs. Notre Dame played in the CCHA for a couple of seasons, but financial pressure forced the program to drop to club status until 1988, when it resumed as a varsity D-I independent with the intent to join the CCHA in 1992, where it has been ever since.

Quite frankly, for such a storied athletic powerhouse with global brand recognition created by a long history of national football excellence, the Notre Dame hockey program failed for many years to receive the kind of internal attention it deserved. That changed when then 10-year coach (and former NHLer) Dave Poulin finally broke through in 2004 with the school’s first NCAA appearance after a 20-15-4 season. Poulin’s troops followed the NCAA season, however, with a terrible 5-27-6 season in 2004-2005. Poulin then stepped aside to take an administrative position, clearing the way for a new coach who had succeeded at many other levels before leading the program to their current highly successful phase. Selected by Notre Dame after two NCAA titles at Lake Superior State, and a stint at USA Hockey, where he built the USNTDP into a successful program, Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson is now the winningest active coach in America in terms of win percentage, at over .700

"When I first took over here, I thought it would probably take five years before we could actually get to this pinnacle," Jackson told the Ann Arbor News last year. With an appearance in last year’s NCAA final game, it is clear Notre Dame is going to be a force for some time to come -- especially when the old Joyce ACC arena is renovated in the coming years.

About the University of Notre Dame:
Notre Dame’s Golden Dome was built in the 1880s, and tops out at 225 feet, slightly taller than the 215-foot Williams Tower at DU’s Ritchie Center

In what the school characterizes as an “outburst of missionary zeal”, Notre Dame was founded in 1842, when Father Edward Sorin, a 28-year-old French priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, with only “$310 cash and three log buildings in various stages of disrepair in the middle of the northern Indiana frontier, had the temerity to christen his enterprise the University of Notre Dame du Lac.” (University of Our Lady of the Lake)

Over the years, Notre Dame grew just outside South Bend, Indiana, to become one of the great bastions of American Catholicism, bolstered in national fame by the arrival of legendary football coach Knute Rockne in 1918. Rockne won 88% of his games, including six national championships and five undefeated seasons, creating a football program that put Notre Dame on the athletic map during the golden age of American sports. Rockne innovated the game with popularization of the forward pass, and Notre Dame was made even more nationally famous by legends such as the “Four Horsemen”, “the Gipper” (George Gipp) and the famous school fight song. At a time before television, Notre Dame became the first national college athletic brand, helped along by the gradual acceptance of American Catholics into mainstream society at that time, many of whom identified with Notre Dame’s success and remain today as “subway alumni”.

Today, the University is seen by many as America’s finest Catholic University, with about 11,000 students, 8,000 of whom are undergraduates, and about 80% of whom identify as Catholic. For many years limited to men, Notre Dame became co-ed in 1972. The Notre Dame endowment was worth $6.5 billion in 2007 -- 14th largest among US colleges and universities.

To get a flavor of Notre Dame, one need only rent the movie Rudy (1993) which details the true story of football walk-on Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. which was filmed with Notre Dame’s cooperation. True Notre Dame fans also weep during Knute Rockne, All American (1940) which stars Ronald Reagan as the dying football star George Gipp.

South Bend, Indiana:
The Notre Dame campus is located in Notre Dame, Indiana, an unincorporated northeastern suburb of the city of South Bend, Indiana, about 90 minutes from Chicago by car or train. South Bend has a city population of 107,000 and a metro area population of 313,000. Best known now as the home of Notre Dame, South Bend was a fur trading post on the St. Joseph River in the 1800s and later became a powerful manufacturing city in the 20th century. South Bend peaked in the 1950s and 60s, when up to 130,000 people called it home -- including the headquarters of Studebaker Automobiles, which closed in 1963. Since then, the area has been transitioning into an economy dominated by education, health care, and small business.

Probably the most famous resident of South Bend is Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885) the editor of the South Bend Free Press who later went on to become Speaker of the House and Vice President of the United States under President Grant in the 1870s. Colfax later became the namesake of Denver’s major east-west avenue, and in another odd twist of fate, died of a heart attack in Mankato, Minnesota after trying to walk between two train depots when it was -30 degrees outside.

University Traditions:

Nickname – Fighting Irish
It is not clear how Notre Dame's athletic nickname, "Fighting Irish," came to origination. According to the Notre Dame web site, it may have even begun as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward athletes from a small, private Catholic institution, although they also suggest that a more generally accepted explanation lies elsewhere. According to Notre Dame, “the press coined the nickname in the 1920s as a characterization of Notre Dame athletic teams, their never-say-die fighting spirit and the Irish qualities of grit, determination and tenacity” (likely part of the heritage of the Irish Brigade of immigrant soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War). Notre Dame had competed under the nickname "Catholics" during the 1800s and became more widely known as the "Ramblers" during the early 1920s in the days of the Four Horsemen, when Notre Dame was known to play teams far away from campus.

Notre Dame alumnus Francis Wallace popularized the term “Fighting Irish” in his New York Daily News columns in the 1920s. University president Rev. Matthew Walsh officially adopted "Fighting Irish" as the Notre Dame nickname in 1927.

Logo and Mascot:
The Notre Dame leprechaun was named the official mascot in 1965. It features a side view of the figure with his dukes up, ready to battle anyone that comes his way. Although the original logo dates from the mid 60s period, it has been updated slightly in recent years. The live version is a student, chosen annually at tryouts, dressed in a cutaway green suit and Irish country hat. The leprechaun wasn't always the official mascot of Notre Dame. For years the team was represented by a series of Irish terrier dogs. The interlocked ‘ND’ letters also date from the 1960s.

Notre Dame mascot, letters and live leprechaun
Note that The University of North Dakota also uses a similar interlocking ND letters to Notre Dame, but the North Dakota letters must, according to North Dakota’s graphic standards, be identified as North Dakota (as above), whereas Notre Dame’s letters do not require additional identification.

Notre Dame School Colors
Although Notre Dame’s official colors for athletics have long been listed as gold and blue, the color of the Irish home football jersey has switched back and forth between blue and green for more than 50 years. The hockey team tends to stick to blue and gold.

Notre Dame Fight Song
One of the most recognizable collegiate fight songs in the nation, the "Notre Dame Victory March" was written by two brothers who were Notre Dame graduates. Michael J. Shea, a 1905 graduate, wrote the music and his brother, John F. Shea, who earned degrees in 1906 and 1908, wrote the words. The song was copyrighted in 1908 and a piano version, complete with lyrics, was published that year.

Rally sons of Notre Dame:
Sing her glory and sound her fame,
Raise her Gold and Blue
And cheer with voices true:
Rah, rah, for Notre Dame
We will fight in ev-ry game,
Strong of heart and true to her name
We will ne'er forget her
And will cheer her ever
Loyal to Notre Dame
Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory.

Famous University of Notre Dame Alumni
Notre Dame has an impressive list of alumni, including many in politics, perhaps the most famous of whom is fellow University of Denver alumnus Condoleeza Rice, current US Secretary of State. Rice earned her BA at Denver, went to Notre Dame for her master’s degree, and returned to Denver for her Ph.D. Notre Dame has also produced 16 members of Congress over the years, including William Miller, who was Republican Barry Goldwater’s Vice Presidential running mate in the 1964 US election. Notre Dame also produced Bruce Babbitt, former Arizona governor and Secretary of the Interior.

Media is another strong suit of Notre Dame alumni, where TV hosts Regis Philbin and Phil Donahue are alums, as are sports journalists Red Smith, Don Criqui, Hannah Storm and Ted Robinson.

But of course, Notre Dame’s best known sports alumni are probably in fooball (Knute Rockne, Joe Montana, Paul Hornung, Charlie Weis) and Carl Yazstremski in baseball, while hockey fans would recognize some the 14 Irish players to play in the NHL, including Dave Poulin, Jack Brownschidle, Mark Eaton, Bill Nyrop and Yan Stastny, brother of former DU Pioneer all-American Paul Stastny.

The Game:
Notre Dame comes to Denver without having played an exhibition game yet this year, so it’s difficult to predict how this team will perform. But as the fourth-ranked team in America, we can all assume the Irish will be very, very formidable opposition for the Pioneers. The Pioneers would probably like to establish the tone early and capitalize on the fact that the Irish have not played a game this year, and that it may take Notre Dame a little while to find their game timing. If the Irish are anything like last year’s NCAA finalists (and many of those players return), the Pioneers can expect a strong forecheck and excellent, experienced depth at all positions.

I think the teams likely have a very similar talent level this year – good forwards and a mobile defense. Denver may have home ice and an extra exhibition behind them, but Notre Dame is a slightly more experienced and accomplished team, with a more experienced goaltender.

I am predicting a 3-3 tie for the final score.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The University of Alberta Golden Bears

(above) The University of Alberta are the defending Canadian University National Champions

Preview Of Series
The Denver Pioneers host the 2008 Canadian Intrauniversity Sport (CIS) Hockey Champion University of Alberta Golden Bears to start the season with the annual DU home exhibition game against a Canadian University.

These two teams have a series history that dates back to Denver’s first season of hockey in 1949, with the Pioneers sporting a 23-7-3 series advantage over the Golden Bears, with DU scoring 194 goals and letting in 121 over the years. The last time the teams met in 2001, DU hammered the Bears by a 6-2 count. Alberta’s last win over the Pioneers came in 1999, with a 5-4 OT victory.

This years’ Golden Bears squad has already played 5 pre-season games, and won four of them. In the home opener, the Bears bombed Concordia (Alta.) College 12-2, then lost a close home contest to the Edmonton Oiler Rookies by a 3-2 count before a capacity crowd on Sept. 15, despite outshooting the young Oiler pros 37-27. The Bears then traveled to Saskatoon for the annual Huskie Classic Pre-season Tournament, where they beat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, 4-3 and the University of Manitoba Bison, 2-1.

Golden Bears to Watch
Jason Fransoo: Fransoo made his debut in Golden Bear silks during the Oiler rookie game last season and promptly set-up the game winning goal. The smooth skating and passing defender will take over the top PP unit after notching 14 points in 24 games last season. Put up 43 points in 71 games for Everett (WHL) in 2006-07.

Aaron Sorochan:
Sorochan was absolutely brilliant in the CIS gold medal game last season, where he made 40 saves and helped the Bears to their 13th National title and third in the last four years. He finished second among Conference goalies in 2007-08 with a 2.52 GAA an 18-5-0 record and a.899 save percentage.

Ian McDonald: The six-foot-three, 210-pound third year center finished second in Golden Bear scoring last season with 28 points in 28 games and was named the University Cup MVP after scoring four goals and two assists to lead all players at the National tournament.

Eric Hunter: Named to the CIS All-Rookie Team after scoring 26 points in 24 games last season. Hunter is a force on the ice as the 6’1” 194lbs winger likes to get involved.

About the Alberta Program

The University of Alberta (U of A) is the best and most decorated college hockey program in all of Canada. Since the formation of the CIAU in 1961 (now known as the CIS) the Golden Bears have won an amazing 13 University Cups as Canadian national champions, including the last three straight in 2008, 2007 and 2006.

Six of those titles came under legendary coach Drake won 17 conference titles to go with the six national crowns, and also coached the Alberta football team, incredibly winning national titles in both sports in the same season in 1968. He would also go on to coach Team Canada in the 1980 Olympics as well briefly with the Edmonton Oilers. He retired as the winningest college hockey coach in North America, and the arena at the U of A is named in his honor.

About the University
The University of Alberta is celebrating the 100th year of classes this year as the first classes took place in 1908. Growth was slow in the early years, as the school had about 5,000 students by 1958, but exploded in the modern era to day’s enrollment to almost 37,000, with 73% from Alberta. It is generally considered to be one of Canada’s top 5 universities today, and academic strengths in research and the sciences.

If you want to see the school without leaving your warm and comfy living room, you can rent one of these movies as The U of A campus has appeared several times on the screen, including Running Brave (1983) starring Robbie Benson, Small Sacrifices (1989) starring Farrah Fawcett, and Angel Square (1990) with Ned Beatty.

University Traditions
A representation of the topography of Alberta rendered in the colors of the University. At the base is a prairie wheat field symbolizing Alberta's agricultural industry. The wavy gold line above suggests the hills and rivers of Alberta and, in particular, the setting of the University campus. The top of the shield is in gold and separated from the rest of the shield by a line suggesting the Rocky Mountains. The book of learning dominates the design.

A Grand-Duc d'Amérique, or Great Horned Owl, the provincial bird and an accepted symbol of knowledge.

The Pronghorn, taken from the Provincial Coat of Arms, and the golden bear, mascot of the University. Both wear collars of the University colors, as does the owl.

Compartment (base of the Coat of Arms)
A grassy mound with wild roses, the floral emblem of Alberta

Quaecumque vera - Whatsoever things are true (Phil 4:8)

Nickname – Golden Bears
While the Bears nickname was first mentioned in a school athletics road event in Winnipeg in 1931-32, the specific men’s ports team to which it was first applied is unclear. Copies of the March 10, 1933 Gateway school newspaper describe a game in which the university’s Alberta Bears basketball team fell to the Calgary Moose Domers 37-36 in one of the best basketball games of that era, a provincial playoff game at Crescent Heights Gym in Calgary.

Logo: Golden Bear
The University of Alberta Golden Bear logo was designed in the mid 1960s by U of A Athletic Director Ed Zemrau and his friend, Keith Randolph. If the name Ed Zemrau sounds familiar to Pioneer fans, it should, because Zemrau was a DU all-American and captain of the 1958 NCAA Championship hockey team, the first of DU’s seven national championship teams.

Pioneer fans recently saw Zemrau (photo left) at Magness Arena at the 2005 NCAA Banner raising game, where he carried the 1958 NCAA Trophy,representing his teammates. Zemrau later became athletic director at the U of A for many years, and was a dominant figure in amateur sports in Canada. According to 2007 article in the Edmonton Journal, the Bear was “based loosely off branding by University of California Golden Bears at the time. Is supposed to look like it's possibly smiling at you from one angle, but also give off a look of unmatched toughness.”

“GUBA” (which stands for the rather grandiose title of “Great University Bear of Alberta”) is the mascot of U of A’s men’s teams. GUBA made his debut on campus in early seventies —the creation of Chuck Moser, a then U of A assistant athletic director who was inspired by seeing BYU’s active cougar mascot while at a basketball tournament in Hawaii, while Honeymooning with his wife. Moser reportedly turned to his wife and said, "This is what I'm going to do when I get home - I'm going to get a mascot for the Golden Bears." Student Dave Zaharko, who went on to become a CFL linebacker, was credited with generating the mascot’s name as part of a student contest.

School Colors – Evergreen Green and Gold
According to the University’s web site, The original suggestion for green and gold University colors came from Marion Kirby Alexander, who drew her inspiration from the autumn colors of the river valley below the campus. Her husband, William Hardy Alexander, Professor of Classics, relayed the suggestion to the Faculty meeting of 5 October 1908, the University Senate approved the combination of green and gold as particularly appropriate to the new University of Alberta. The green represents the wide stretches of prairie land flanked by deep spruce forests and is symbolic of hope and optimism; the gold represents the golden harvest fields and is symbolic of the light of knowledge.

Fight Song
Alberta Cheer Song (1915) (revised Alberta'), R.K. Michael (words), Chester Lambertson (music)

Ring out a cheer for our Alberta
A song of praise to Varsity.
For the splendor of our mountains
Our prairies green and gold.
Ranked beneath whose glowing colors,
Thy legions march enrolled.
Our memories will live forever
Beloved University.
We will fight for thee and cheer
And ever hold thine honor dear.
Our Alma Mater U of A
Green and gold! Quaecumque Vera!
Guide us through each coming era,
Guide us on through battle gory
To a new and greater glory

Famous Alumni
Most of U of A’s famous alumni are famous only in Canada, but there are a few names that Americans might recognize. Golden Bear Joe Clark was actually Prime Minister of Canada for less than a year from 1979 to 1980. And Golden Bear Ed Stelmach is the current Premier of Alberta. He never graduated though…

For most of us, probably the most famous U of A alumni are those connected to the game of hockey. Former longtime NHL president Clarence Campbell (a U of A Rhodes Scholar) heads the list, followed by George Kingston ’60, who would go on to become the first head coach of the San Jose Sharks (92-93). Dr. Randy Gregg, an orthopedic surgeon who spent 10 NHL years playing on the Edmonton Oilers on their great teams in the mid 80s, where he won 5 Stanley Cups. Daryl Katz, the Billionaire owner of the Edmonton Oilers is also a U of A Alumnus. There are 13 former Golden Bear hockey players who saw NHL time, the most recent of whom are Cory Cross, who played for six NHL teams between 1993 and 2006 and Brent Severyn, who spent 10 years in the NHL with six different reams between 1989 and 1999, including some time with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996-1997. The Golden Bears also boast a rarity – a player who played in the NHL BEFORE playing college hockey (yes – ex-pros are eligible in Canada to play college hockey). His name was Dean Clark, who played for the Edmonton Oilers in 1983-84, and played for the U of A in 1986-87.

EDMONTON: Home of the Golden Bears

Edmonton, Alberta (City population 750,000) with a metro area population of just over a million people, is the northernmost North American city to have a million or more in population. It’s the booming Oil and Gas hub of northern Alberta, and while it may not be as large as Calgary, it has the distinction of being the provincial capital of Alberta. Average temperatures in January is 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Brr.

Edmonton shares a fierce rivalry with the City of Calgary for Alberta dominance, and that civic and political rivalry spills over into all sports, including the NHL (Oilers vs Flames). The CFL (Edmonton Eskimos vs. Calgary Stampeders) and into Universities, where the University of Alberta Golden Bears hate the University of Calgary Dinos.

DU vs. Alberta
Denver normally kicks around Canadian competition, but expect this game to be closer for several reasons.
Defending CIS Champions – This Alberta program is the best in Canada, and that’s a big factor. They’ve already played 5 more games this year than DU has, including a game against the Edmonton Oilers Rookies.

Age and Experience
– Typically, Canadian university teams are older and more experienced than their NCAA counterparts, which sometimes helps to offset the NCAA talent advantage.
We doubt that DU coaches have seen this UA team play this year, so there is the element of surprise….