Friday, January 20, 2017

DU Prof Wants Sanctuary Status On Campus

 (above) DU Assistant Professor Armond Towns wants to ban the Feds from looking for Illegal Aliens on Campus

Sanctuary Campus Letter (December, 2016)

From: On behalf of Armond Towns
Date: Friday, January 6, 2017 at 9:36 AM

The nationwide sanctuary campus movement has gained momentum since the presidential election and the DU community is looking forward to the start of winter quarter to continue our own efforts to create a sanctuary campus.

All members of the community are invited to a meeting to discuss the movement, ways to ensure our campus remains safe for all of its community members, and plans for a march to the Chancellor's office to ask that the administration support our efforts.

The meeting will take place January 6 at 5:30 at Sie International Relations Complex 1108. The tentative date for the march is January 19. More details to come.

Please mark your calendars and help us spread the word.

Below is a letter sent to the chancellor that details the steps necessary for DU to become a sanctuary campus. We have compiled this list drawing on actions and efforts recently adopted by public and private universities around the country.

December 29, 2016
Dear Chancellor Chopp,

In the wake of the presidential election, we, University of Denver Community Members, strongly urge you to immediately investigate the possibility of our campus serving as a sanctuary for students, staff, faculty and their family members who face deportation under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s proposed policies. We understand the current controversial nature of using the term “sanctuary.” Yet, we believe that our shared commitments and efforts to vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of all of our undocumented and persecuted community members are intended to establish and affirm our University campus as a safe and inclusive space in these uncertain times.

Faculty members have raised concrete actions that the University of Denver can take to support and protect valued members of our community. We write in support of their suggestion. The following is a list of actions that we would like the University of Denver to implement in order to demonstrate our commitment to inclusive excellence as well as the safety and well-being of our undocumented community.

· The University of Denver should not voluntarily participate with or allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) / Customs and Border Protection (CBP) / U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on our campus unless required by warrant, subpoena or court order. If they are on campus without a warrant, subpoena, or court order, DU campus security should ask them to leave. Further, DU should not share any information about any undocumented student, staff or faculty with these agencies unless presented with a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, or unless authorized by the student, staff or faculty or required by law

· Any request by ICE, CBP and/or USCIS for information or to access the University of Denver should be immediately forwarded to the Office of the Chancellor, DU police and the general counsel's office for review. The Office of the Chancellor should create a committee of qualified faculty and staff that can ask for the agent’s credentials, ask the agent why he or she is requesting access, and ask the agent what evidence of reasonable suspicion exists. Immigration personnel should provide written authority from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit of DHS and/or the Department of Homeland Security instructing them to enter University of Denver property and for what purpose.

· University of Denver Campus Safety should not assist ICE, CBP and/or USCIS or Denver PD in efforts to identify and deport or otherwise punish undocumented DU students, staff or faculty. And DU campus security should not contact, detain, question or arrest students solely on their suspected or known immigration status.

· The University of Denver should notify the DU community, especially staff who work most directly with students and student data, in the event that immigration officials request or attempt to come to campus.

· The University of Denver should not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation. This is particularly important considering that the president-elect seeks to surveil and identify Muslim community members.

· The University of Denver and the Office of the Chancellor should reconfirm its commitment to supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

· If DACA is terminated, as the president-elect has threatened to do, the University of Denver should increase financial aid and other support to undocumented students who stand to lose their ability to continue their education and/or their right to work.

· The University of Denver should continue to admit students consistent with its nondiscrimination policies so that undocumented students should be considered for admission under the same criteria as U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

· The University of Denver should develop/expand resources for undocumented students, staff and faculty and build/enhance partnerships with community and legal organizations with regards to immigration services and support.

It is our responsibility to ensure that DU remains a place that actively protects the rights and safety of its community. We owe it to the most vulnerable members of our community to ensure that it stays that way.

If President-elect Trump implements his promised policies and we do nothing, DU's commitment to diversity, justice, and inclusion will be inconsequential. This is not a moment in which we can afford silence or passivity.

Awaiting your action,


University of Denver Community Members

Armond R. Towns, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Studies
University of Denver

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Student Group Seeks To Ban Boone On DU Campus

(above) Chancellor Chopp & Boone in happier times

A student group most likely organized by the Black Student Alliance at the University of Denver have posted a series of demands online [See document below].  These demands appear to undermine all Academic freedom of expression by students, alumni & staff at the University of Denver.

The "unofficial" Denver Boone mascot, the Greek System, current and future DU employees and student groups who don't subscribe to the "multicultural agenda" appear to be targeted.

DU's Faculty of Color, a multicultural Alumni group and the Black Student Alliance are seeking to ban and prohibit Boone's entry into sporting events & on campus. A fictional cartoon character that was created by the Walt Disney Company in the late Sixties is being labelled "racist" in a well orchestrated campaign.

You can't make this up.

List of Demands for
 The University of Denver Administration
We Demand…
  1. An institutional commitment to cultural heritage programming.
  1. Extend ONEDU initiatives to support and provide an institutional budget for heritage/history month programs and events by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  2. With preference for the following months:
  1. February - Black History Month
  2. March - Women's History Month
  3. May - Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
  4. June - LGBT Pride Month
  5. September – Latinx Heritage Month
  6. October - LGBT History Month
  7. November - Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month
  1. Strictly prohibit organizations with foundations, principles, or affiliations that do not align with the university's current values from existing and becoming a recognized organization on DU’s campus.
  1. Remove existing campus affiliated organizations with foundations and/or principles that do not align with the University of Denver’s current values and commitment to inclusive excellence by Fall 2017.
  1. Mandate Inclusive Excellence workshops, similar to the B.O.S.S. training program.
  1. Require all Greek and Non-Greek student organizations on campus to participate in the Inclusive Excellence workshop(s) by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  1. Hire an external entity to assess and report on current campus climate and inclusion practices and a project manager to oversee the implementation of suggestions.
  1. Hire external entity and announce assessment plans by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  2. Encourage this external entity to remain transparent and consult with students and staff during assessment process.
  3. Offer feedback presentation to all faculty, staff, and students at DU to discuss findings.
  1. Create a review committee of diverse constituents, including students, faculty, and staff, to review and improve the university honor code.
  1. Revise the honor code to be more explicit and intentional in regards to student and institutional accountability practices in regard to hate speech, implicit bias incidents, etc. by Spring 2017. 
  1. Require students to demonstrate commitment to/understanding of Inclusive Excellence during the admissions process to gauge levels of understanding and use that data to inform inclusive excellence initiatives on campus.
  1. Require students applying to the university to write an essay articulating their understanding of Inclusive Excellence. This is a productive filtering method to ensure that DU only admits students who believe in/understand the values DU wants to uphold.
  1. Implement as an optional essay during the regular decision application period for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  2. Implement as a mandatory essay on all future applications, starting with the 2017 early action application for the 2018 – 2019 incoming class.
  1. Recruit more full-time psychologists with demonstrated experience in multicultural competence, services and outreach.
  1. There is only one postdoctoral fellow (Dr. Erin Unkefer), with a one-year commitment, focused on this area. A full-time psychologist will have more robust historical context of being an underrepresented student at DU, as s/he will be here for several years. Additionally, given the stigma often surrounding mental health services, a full time psychologist can create strong bonds with students over a long period of time. We expect at least one full-time psychologist to be hired or for Dr. Unkefer to be offered a full-time position by Fall 2018.
  2. Increase medical and mental health service providers of color and who identify as LGBTIQ. An increase of providers in this field is expected by Fall 2018.
  1. Hire new faculty and support existing faculty willing to implement and facilitate Race, Inequality & Social Change (RISC) curriculum.  
  1. Create a structure in which RISC curriculum is mandated as a degree requirement by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.
  2. Hire more faculty capable of teaching RISC courses. An increase in faculty is expected by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  1. Establish Ethnic Studies department.
  1. Courses in Ethnic Studies address that traditionally, the role of Asian Americans, Blacks, Mexicans, Latinos and Native Americans in American history are undervalued and ignored because of Eurocentric bias and hegemonic racial and ethnic prejudice. Ethnic Studies courses also often encompass issues of intersectionality, where gender, class, and sexuality also come into play. Taking into account the racial climate of DU, curriculum like this, be it optional or mandatory is necessary. We would like to see this implemented by the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.
  1. Create and implement mandatory online modules on race, similar to Alcohol Edu, to be completed before arriving on campus in order to prepare students to engage in discussions around race relations, inclusivity, and social inequality.
  1. Incorporate discussions around race relations, inclusivity, and social inequality into Discoveries Orientation week to be implemented by the 2017-2018 academic year.
  2. Create mandatory course similar to FSEM revolving around Inclusive Excellence and the resources offered through Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence to be piloted by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  1. Increased transparency from the University of Denver and its administration when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
  1. Transparency about current state of diversity and climate (Inclusive Excellence) on campus including:
  1. Marketing to prospective students about current student demographics
  2. University wide communications about set goals and efforts in progress in pursuit of said goals
  1. Establish realistic/tangible short-term and long IE goals
  2. Do not "put up a mask" when talking about Inclusive Excellence. Instead, more frequently, acknowledge the issues that DU is facing with Inclusive Excellence, and acknowledge what DU is doing to combat these issues.
  3. Put up a poster on the Driscoll Bridge that contains information on crucial initiatives started by the University as well as its progress. This is expected to be updated quarterly.
  4. Increased staff, faculty, and administration participation in student-led events pertaining to campus climate.
  5. We expect to see progress on these initiatives by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  1. Hire more staff to lead and/or assist with diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  1. This includes:
  1. One new full-time professional hired to work in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to support the work that they do.
  2. One new full-time professional hired, preferably a Director, to work specifically on efforts related to domestic and local college access.
  1. We would like to see a consolidation of university college access efforts into one centralized office or initiative (I.e. programs offered by VIP and CCESL, Urban Debate, Black Women Lead and Black Male Initiative Summit, Bridge Project, Pio Prep, and Pio visits, etc.)
  2. In addition, we would like to see DU make an institutionalized commitment to college access in an effort to help change the perception of DU within the local communities of color in Denver.
  1. One new Assistant Director hired specifically for LGBTIQA initiatives and support.
  1. LGBTIQA support is currently one of many responsibilities of the professional staff at CME, we believe LGBTIQA support should be prioritized and developed into its own area within the division of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence.
  1. We expect to see progress on these hiring requests by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  1. The implementation of more inclusive visual markers and an assessment of current visual markers.
  1. Charge MarCom to create and implement a more representative mascot that celebrates inclusion and diversity while acknowledging the history of the university.
  1. The term "pioneer" is highly problematic for many, especially our Native American students, as it defined as a person who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area.
  1. Place more paintings, plaques, statues, and other visual markers that represent the histories of different cultures around the campus.
  2. Assess and determine where paintings/artwork need to be removed and where plaques need to be installed that acknowledge the individuals and history in which they are named for.
  3. We expect to see progress on these initiatives by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
  1. Strict elimination of Boone's presence at the University of Denver.
  1. Prevent Boone (retired in 1998) from appearing at DU events and activities. The University of Denver shall prohibit any office, department or entity utilizing university funds to reproduce, display or support the image or appearance of Boone in conjunction with all University sponsored events.
  2. Implement and enforce consequences for anyone allowing Boone in public spaces.
  3. We expect to see enforcement by the Fall 2017 quarter.
  1. Student meeting with the complete Board of Trustees at least twice during an academic year.
  1. This will improve the university's transparency, as well as give students opportunities to voice their concerns.
  2. We expect these meetings to start during the Fall 2017 quarter.

Friday, June 28, 2013

DU Sends Out Mascot Survey To DU Community

Dear Fellow Pioneers,                 

This spring, a Denver Pioneer Mascot Steering Committee was originally formed by students at the University, and was soon expanded to include Alumni, Faculty and Staff.  Our mission is to create a Denver Pioneer mascot character that enables and celebrates school spirit, is representative of our Pioneer community and consistent with our values.
Several things to keep in mind about this project
  1. DU will continue to be the Denver Pioneers.
  2. The crimson and gold colors will not change
  3. The use of the Arch Denver and Interlocking DU logos will remain as you know them today. 

Over the past several months, we conducted over 45 focus groups, 15 open forums and just as many one on one interviews with alumni, undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff and other key stake holders.    We compiled many great ideas, including the 20 key attributes for a great Denver Pioneer mascot character.

From the findings of this extensive research, we have worked with professional concept developers and designers to develop mascot concepts. 

Today you will be asked to provide your evaluation of three Denver Pioneer mascot character concepts against the 20 attributes created by the community.  We are asking you to participate in this very important survey among our entire community of students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends to help create a new Denver Pioneer mascot character.

Your opinions will play a critical role in this process, and will help determine if any of the three concepts move forward.

So please take the survey now.  The questionnaire should take about 12-15 minutes of your time, and your answers will remain confidential.   To participate, click on or copy and paste the following website in its entirety,

Please note that the survey will let you pause, but you can only take it once.  Please complete the survey by Wednesday, July 17.

Thank you in advance for your time.  Go Pios!

In Pioneer Spirit,
Sam Estenson
Will Guy
Co-Chairs, University of Denver Mascot Steering Committee

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Boone Photo in Joe Scott's Office

(above) Notice Boone photo upper left

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DU Sends Out Mascot Email to Alumni

Dear University of Denver Alumni:

You are a vital part of our DU family, and as part of our efforts to keep you informed we want to let you know of upcoming plans at the University to conduct a study that will result in the adoption of a new mascot. The study, initiated by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), will seek to include the input of all segments of our campus community. As an alumnus, your feedback and involvement will be a critical part of the process.

To help you understand more about this study, it’s important to provide you with some background on mascots at the University of Denver. We currently do not have an official mascot and have not had one since 2008.

Over the last few weeks, there has been considerable controversy surrounding the "Denver Boone" figure that was our mascot some years ago. As you may know, "Boone" has not been the mascot of the University since 1998. An effort to resurrect Boone was mounted by student and alumni groups in 2008, and this led to the assembly of a University committee to gather opinions from different sectors and consider the matter at length. It quickly became clear that Boone was a polarizing figure that did not reflect the growing diversity of the DU community, but rather was an image that many women, persons of color, international students, staff and faculty members found difficult to relate to as defining the pioneering spirit. Consequently, it was decided that Boone would not be our official mascot.

The current Boone figure that is seen at athletic events is in keeping with what was outlined in a letter sent to the community in 2008, allowing students and alumni groups to use the image as a celebration of the past, to the extent they may choose. The figure is not used in any official manner by the University, nor is any financial support provided by DU for its use by others.

The study will not be evaluating support for Boone; rather, it will be looking toward a new mascot that the entire DU community can get behind and embrace. The University has offered its support to the student government task force through its office of Marketing and Communications.  During the next couple of months, a professional research study will gather input from students, alumni, staff, faculty and other members of the community about how we can express ourselves as Pioneers in a new mascot.  This is a similar process that led to the new University logo that was successfully launched last year.  The USG plans to engage in this effort through spring quarter, with a recommendation to be forwarded to the Chancellor’s office and the Board of Trustees.

Over the years, the University of Denver has evolved to become a diverse community that strives to be welcoming and inclusive for everyone. It is our intention to continue to involve all of the University’s many constituencies in this process and work collaboratively to find a celebration of school spirit that reflects our identity as the Pioneers, embraces our growing diversity and represents the exciting future of our institution.

We appreciate your continued support of the University of Denver.  Please send your comments to and include your name, class year and contact information. 


Kristine Cecil
Associate Vice Chancellor for University Advancement &
Executive Director of Alumni Relations

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boone Is Not A Viable Option Bill Passed By USG

(above) The Student Senate's Dirty Deed Done Dirt Cheap

Resolution No: 4 

Authors: Craig Hirokawa (SOCS Senator), Alisa Brown (Sophomore Senator), Zach Gonzales (AHUM Senator)

Co-Sponsors: Harper Hill (Chair of Campus Climate), Jackie Faust (Senior Senator), Katherine Snow (Off Campus Senator), Emily Wetmore (SECS Senator), Vanessa Teck (Senior Senator) 

Whereas; Boone is not the official school mascot of the University of Denver, nor is he supported by the administration of the university; and, 

Whereas; the Undergraduate Student Government acknowledges alumni support of Boone as a part of their history with the University of Denver, but recognizes that the campus climate has shifted, 

Whereas; Boone continues to be a point of contention for undergraduate students, especially surrounding matters of school spirit and who is participating in school spirit activities; and, 

Whereas; the Undergraduate Student Government allocates the Student Activity fee, with student organizations being the dominant recipient of this allocation; and, 

Whereas; the Undergraduate Student Government has attempted to establish an element of consistency among the student organizations, namely through OrgSync., Finance Committee visits, and standardized finance guidelines; and, 

Whereas; the Undergraduate Student Government has strongly advocated for and participated in the School Mascot Task Force because the administration has made it clear that which has made it clear that Boone is not a viable option for a school mascot; therefore, 

Be it Resolved; that the Undergraduate Student Government re-affirms that the governing body does not support Boone; and, 

Be it further resolved; that the Spirit Committee will help reinforce this Resolution by taking a proactive approach when approving or sponsoring any Spirit Committee events; and, 

Be it further resolved; The following committees, operating as direct subsidiaries of the Undergraduate Student Government, including the Academic Affairs Committee, Diversity Committee, International Student Committee, Senate Affairs Committee, Spirit Committee, Student Organizations Committee, and Sustainability Committee,
will not use their funds to purchase any merchandise with the image of Boone on it, effective immediately; and,

Be it further resolved; that the Constitution and Bylaws will reflect the spirit of the resolution; and, 

Be it further resolved; when the School Mascot Task Force has finalized, produced and approved, with administrative support, a new school mascot, there will be a 30 day transition period; at the conclusion of this period, any funds provided by the Undergraduate Student Government cannot go towards the purchase of any merchandise with the image of Boone on it; and, 

Be it further resolved; during this 30 day transition period, the Undergraduate Student Government and the School Mascot Task Force will notify the student body of all policy changes, hold forums for students and student organizations to ask questions, purchase a new mascot costume, and any other necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition; and, 

Be it further resolved; after the 30 day transition period, any entity funded by the Undergraduate Student Government that is found to be using funds to purchase merchandise with the image of Boone may have their funds frozen, at the discretion of the Finance Committee and their perception of prior understanding of the rules and the severity of the situation; and, 

Be it further resolved; that if an organization is found to have used USG funding for Boone merchandise after the 30 day transition period, the SOC will review the licensing status of the organization, and will convene to discuss the funding decision of the organization. Depending on the severity of the offense, licensing status may be revoked by the sole discretion of the SOC. After a second offense, licensing status will be revoked without exception. 

Passed the 26th day of February 2013. 

I, the undersigned, hereby certify that the foregoing Resolution Number 4 was duly adopted by the USG Senate.
Senate Action:
USG Vice President USG President

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012-13 Preseason LetsGoDU SuperPoll™

LetsGoDU Super Poll
1). Denver - Undefeated
2). Boston College - Has one game losing streak vs. DU
3). Minnesota - Gangnam Style Dance Party injury to Freshman recruit
4). UND - No players arrested & cited by police last weekend
5). Ferris State - Invited to join NCHC "Waiting List"
6). Michigan - Has losing all-time record against DU
7). Miami - Recruiting Pipeline to major juniors wide open
8). Notre Dame - NCHC traitors
9). Cornell - Has never defeated DU in Frozen Four

Last). Colorado College - Last National Championship was during Eisenhower administration

* The LetsGoDU Super Poll is a scientific analysis factoring strength of schedule, player statistics and coaching tendencies. Then Denver is placed in the one hole, CC is placed last and the rest of the teams more or less settle where they might likely finish.

Friday, August 14, 2009

DU Legend & Campus Lounge Owner Jim Wiste

(above) DU Alum Jim Wiste pictured with Joanie at the Snoopy Senior Hockey Tournament this summer is Santa Rosa, California

Editor's Note: As a lead-in to the upcoming 60th anniversary celebration of Denver Pioneers hockey, LetsGoDU begins four-part series comprised of stories coming out of last month’s Snoopy Tournament in Santa Rosa, CA in which the DU alumni team successfully defended their Marcie (60A) Division championship.

In this first installment, Jim Wiste (DU '69) shares his insights with Hockeys Future writer D.J. Powers on a variety of topics including playing for the legendary Murray Armstrong, current head coach George Gwozdecky, and how he came to own one of the DU hockey community’s favorite gathering spots, the Campus Lounge. The "Campus" located near DU, is annually ranked as one of the best Neighborhood Bars in Denver by Westword.

Exclusive to LetsGoDU
By DJ Powers

Q: Let’s start off with DU Hockey's upcoming 60th Reunion Celebration. Are you planning to be there and what are some of your thoughts about it?

JW: Oh yes! I think it’s going to be fantastic. It’s 60 years when hockey started in Denver. A guy by the name of Doug McKinnon is going to drop the first puck. He was DU’s first captain. I think there are two players from the original team that I think was in ’49. There were seven coaches and I think there are seven NCAAs (championships). I think it’s going to be great for the university and great for the players to come back. We had a 50-year reunion obviously ten years ago and now this is our 60th year. I don’t know if there’ll ever be another one just because all of the coaches may not be alive much longer that have coached (over the years).

Q: How did you come to play for the University of Denver?

JW: Well, in those days it was really surprising because Murray was the only person that recruited that also coached. He would look in the papers to see who was doing well and then he would maybe make an appointment to see your parents. He made one trip up to Saskatchewan and would come into my living room and sit down. Then he would say to my father “you know, if he were my son this is what I would suggest that he should do.” (Laughs) You know, he kind of hurt the university because his recruiting budget was probably only about 3,4, or 500 dollars and he drove everywhere. Back then it was a handshake. You didn’t sign a Letter of Intent. I didn’t know if I had scholarship until I came down and found out that I was in the dorms and that my books were free. So I thought ‘oh, maybe I have a scholarship.’ But now, it’s like everything else. Now, they make big thing out of a (player) signing with all of the legality of it and other teams trying to get somebody. But back then it wasn’t anything complicated. So it was just Murray saying that he wants a player on his team and he tells him. Other than that, it wasn’t anything fancy.

Q: What was it like playing for Murray?

JW: Well, Murray was kind of a legend in his own time because he had good teams and was the best motivator that I’ve ever seen. I played pro for ten years and I’d never seen a better motivator. Murray could motivate you. He was a salesman in his younger days and he could sell you. He would grab you by the hand as you walked out of the dressing room before a really important game and he would look into your eyes, be spitting into your face and say “good luck to you, son.” Then you would go out there and as we (players) used to say the piss is running down your leg during the national anthem, so you’d better be ready for the game. When Murray motivated you, he was good at motivating you. They only had one coach, so it was hard to teach a lot of players. We worked on fundamentals and did skating drills and different other things, which were really important, but not like it is now. They have film that they can break down everything and they can tell you if your little pinky is out of joint. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but you can back it up.

Murray was also respected. Out of respecting him, you worked hard for him. He was a man’s man. I think he was honest with his players and he worked you hard. Now I think the players have got it so soft. But I think the players today will tell you that they have a broader variety of things to do. They’ll do weight programs and running and so forth, whereas we were just mainly on the ice.

Q: What were some of the best things that Murray had taught you that you were able to take with you and apply to yourself as both a hockey player and as an individual?

JW: I think the integrity for being an honest person. He always used to have this saying that you could look yourself in the mirror in the morning when you’re shaving and you’ve given your best. That’s kind of one of the sayings that he had. There’s a book out that somebody wrote on Murray’s sayings because he always had these sayings. Like if you got hurt, he would always say ‘tape an aspirin to it. It’s a long way from your heart. You’re ok.’ And these were things that we all put into our repertoire and still say to each other. If you had a question, Murray would say ‘honest to God, Jim?’ George (Gwozdecky) has done a great job with the players too, but they’re two different eras. And people try to compare the two and you can’t. George has got to have guys out there looking for new players. He has to have help. Murray couldn’t have done this.

Q: What are some of the similarities do you personally see between Murray and George?

JW: I think George has great respect by his players. He has great character and doesn’t put up with anything if there’s a problem. The team comes first to him, and Murray was like that too. Actually they’re both kind of a lot alike in a way. George has made a name for himself, won some NCAAs (championships), and has been one of the top five coaches (in the NCAA) for about the last four or five years. It’s hard to come into the situation that he did after Murray Armstrong, who was here for 25 years. But George has made his own niche and I think winning those championships were important. So I think George and Murray are lot alike in their characters.

Q: Obviously not any player can play at DU. It takes a special type of player that could not only play at DU but also succeed there. Players who’ve come here such as Rhett Rakhshani and Tyler Ruegsegger, and even recent former players like Gabe Gauthier and Adam Berkhoel had not only the talent, but have (or had) the character that made them fit so well into the DU system. In terms of character, how are these players similar to those that played at DU when you were there?

JW: I’m fortunate to be able to skate with them. I met Rhett Rakshani and can see why he’s the captain. Mark Rycroft when he was here at DU was like him (Rakhshani) too. So they’re no different from the players that played for Murray. The same kind of guys that play for George played for Murray. Both are character people, as well as other guys like J.P. Testwuide. It’s a fraternity and in those guys, you can see that they pick it up. Just looking at their skills on the ice, you can tell that they’re way better than we were. But we never got a chance to meet them through the old-timers hockey. When you look at a player on the ice, they’ve got a helmet on and a mask. And you hardly recognize them until their senior year. And now we get to see them in the dressing room. George has a deal where he’d have alumni come in and talk to the team. You ask him what he wants you to talk and he would say whatever you want. And he’d even open the door up. And we’ve all done that. Alot of the players (that are alumni) have. So I think that’s pretty good on George’s part that he would take the chance on allowing us to talk about anything to the team that we wanted, whether it be what it’s like to be a freshman or anything about hockey or about life. I think the players always enjoyed it because a lot of the older guys would have things to say. And I give George credit because that’s like saying ‘come into my bedroom and you can say what you want.’ He wasn’t afraid to open the door. That shows me that he is self-sufficient with his own operation. When you can say that, you’re not hiding anything because I can walk into the dressing room and say I think this or that. Now George would say ‘say what you want to say. I don’t care what you talk about, just talk about something.’ I’ve had a lot of my other (Snoopy) teammates do it and we’ve all approached it from different angles. Some have approached it on a humorous angle and some have approached it on a serious angle. Well, I think that brings character into it. So I give George credit for that. He’d just look at you and say ‘do what you want to do.’ I’ve talked to them (the team) a couple of times and depending on how well the team is doing or what’s happening, it’s hard to tell them when they’re in first place what they’re doing wrong. Yet when they’re struggling, it’s not my job to tell them what to do right because I’m not their coach, but George has opened up those doors and just told me to say what I want to say.

Q: Let’s shift gears here for a bit and talk about the Campus Lounge. How did that all come about?

JW: Well, when I finished hockey, I had played about ten years, I wanted to do well in something and had no idea. I really hadn’t done anything in ten years, so with my degree I thought it was tough, but I wanted to be my own boss. I’ve always loved the food business, and actually the Whites owned it. John White played for DU and I knew his dad pretty well. One day he skated with us and asked if he ever wanted to sell his business. Each time we skated, I’d talked about it a little more. And the funny thing about it was that I didn’t know a thing about the restaurant business. Maybe it was a good thing because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought it. (Laughs) So that’s how I bought it and it’s been 33 years. It’s kind of nice because when I go and watch sports and talk sports, I’m fortunate to do something that I enjoy doing. Sure, there are a lot of tough things, but it’s been good to me. The DU people have been good to me. They’ve frequented my place. The faculty and other sports teams like the Boston Bruins or the Chicago Blackhawks would come in too. So that’s how I got into the business.

Q: I know that you had played professionally for a number of years. So what was it like making that huge jump from college to the pros?

JW: We were probably, and really and truly, the first college players to come out. There were players such as Keith Magnuson, Cliff Koroll, and myself, along with Tony Esposito with Chicago. College players never played in the NHL back then. Now it’s unbelievable. It was good and bad because players would take an extra run at you because you were a “college player” and maybe felt that you weren’t tough enough. They were jealous of you because you had a college education. So we were kind of the pioneers of that. I’m proud of that. Now you look down the roster and there’s I don’t know how many college kids that are in the NHL. It’s unbelievable. But we were really the first to come out. I think college players are more dedicated and I think they have a vision of what they want to do. I’m not downgrading the other guys, but that’s how much college hockey has come along too. Like when DU starts each year, they may have eight freshmen coming in and by the senior year they may have two or three because the rest have all turned pro already. So that shows the quality that they have and things like that. So we were kind of the pioneers on that end. I remember going to Chicago’s camp. We trained before we even went to camp and the other pros didn’t. We were in better shape and focused on what we were doing a little more. Now all of the pros do that. Maybe we helped them in a way that they didn’t know about because it’s an all-year job now. In the old days, you went to camp thinking that you could get into shape in about two or three weeks. Now these guys are practicing all the time.

Q: As an outsider, I have the opportunity to look at how you guys interact with one another both at the rink and away from it. And while all of you are friends and come from different mothers, you’re all brothers too.

JW: Well there’s an old saying that if you can’t be yourself around your friends, then they’re not your friends. If I can’t say what I want to say around my friends, then they’re not my friends. I might say the wrong things, but I can do it. Who else can I do it around? Who will forgive me or who will help me? So a lot of people look at us and say ‘you guys are kind of honest with each other.’ We’ll look at each other and say you’ve got this wrong in a joking way or you might say ‘you’re being an ass.’ (Laughs) So that’s the biggest compliment that you can pay your friends is to be yourself among them. And you know, it doesn’t come overnight. You have to gain that respect or have that respect to give. So I think we’ve done that and it’s carried on. At least I hope it has carried on. There have been a couple of hiccups along the way, but how can you have a program that doesn’t? When you’re on top, there’s nowhere to go but down a little bit. DU has been picked first this year and that’s the kiss of death in a way, but you know what? I’d rather be picked first than last. I think that shows the strength of our program too. We all go to the games and we all support them. The reunion is going to be great. I think it’s always tough too because we’re all at that part in our lives where we’re going to lose a few each year. So that’s tough.

Q: Would you say that “family” is a more generally accurate description of the team, especially in the way you guys support one another?

JW: Oh yeah, and we all are. We’re sitting there tonight, playing in the over-60 group, we all know that we can’t do the things that we used to do, but we’re just sitting there cheering each other on. If a guy gets hurt, we’re all concerned. We’re friends and we’re here because of that. There’s still that competitiveness. You can’t lose that because let’s face it you still want to win. If you can look into mirror and say that I gave it my best, then that’s all that matters. Even when I played pro, I remember one of the older pros that was our goalie say to me after we had been beaten 7-2, “I played the best that I could.” And I thought, he was right. He tried his best and did his best. If don’t play your best, then you’ve got a problem. Maybe you could say that I could’ve been in better shape or more prepared. But those go on in life and in business. So be prepared and be there. Hockey is no different than running a business. You’ve got to be organized and have leadership and do a lot of things, so those things carry on. I think they’re important. I’m fortunate enough to be here talking to you and say that I’m a Pioneer and I’m proud of it.

Q: In your personal opinion, how would define a Denver Pioneers hockey player?

JW: I would like to define him as dedicated, sincere, honest, hard working, and compatible with other people. Maybe we would like to have everything but we can’t. But I think a lot of those qualities are maybe 80 percent of what they are because if he isn’t then all the other guys would give him a hard time. Like maybe we would have a guy that’s a little bit of problem and we would all say ‘c’mon, you have to lighten up.’ (Laughs) We would govern ourselves. We’ve always done that. I think they still do that. So when you bump into a guy and if he’s a Pioneer, then he’s your friend. And if he needs help, you help him. If he needs some advice, then you give him some advice. And I think it’s sincere. So those are the things that you look upon as a Pioneer.

Q: What was the greatest memory that you took from your time at DU?

JW: I think winning an NCAA championship was a great memory. But I don’t like to say that everything is about winning because I know some guys that didn’t win. They always say that you’ve won an NCAA championship. That’s not really it. I think the friendships with guys like Cliff Koroll, Keith Magnuson and the guys that I met that I went to school with is a great memory. And it’s not just in hockey either. The people that I’ve met when my life changed and I couldn’t mention them all was the best thing that I’ve gotten out of it. So if you asked what the biggest thrill from hockey, I’d say winning the NCAA championship. They always say that what you can go back to is priceless, which are the friendships that we formed. And we’re all still good friends.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

DU Women's Golf Wins NCAA East Regional

(above) DU won the NCAA East Regional Championship on Saturday

From: Golfweek

When Denver got word they were being shipped across the country to the NCAA East Regional, the players didn’t pout or worry that they weren’t getting any respect.

Instead, they held an Ultimate Frisbee draft.

“We’re a little unique,” coach Sammie Chergo said, smiling.

With a healthy mix of fun and focus, Denver won the program’s first NCAA regional title Saturday at the University of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course. The sixth-seeded Pioneers posted a 1-under 279 – the only sub-par round of the tournament – to erase an eight-shot deficit and top Alabama, the second seed, by four shots.

Senior Dawn Shockley notched the round of the tournament – a 4-under 66 that included five birdies. Senior Katie Kempter shot 68, and sophomores Sarah Faller and Stephanie Sherlock chipped in with a 72 and 73, respectively.

Any thoughts that the Pioneers couldn’t hang with SEC and ACC powerhouses were squashed. After all, why stress about golf when the day is still young?

“No one on our team ever gets too jacked up about golf,” said Shockley, who was the Colorado high school basketball player of the year as a senior at Estes Park High. “You’ve got to have a balance because golf can be a lot.”

That’s why, instead of pounding range balls after their rounds, the Pioneers drove a half-mile down 2nd Ave. from the Mark Bostick Golf Course to UF’s football facility. There, they put on custom-made T-shirts, marked off the field and played Ultimate Frisbee. Even coach Sammie Chergo suited up.

“It’s very easy for us to leave our games at the course,” said senior Katie Kempter. “That’s a huge part of our team.”

When Chergo started the program from scratch in 1997, she recruited players who were well-rounded in a number of sports. If golf wasn’t pursuit No. 1, that was OK. Her current squad features former softball, soccer, basketball and hockey players. Kempter even admitted to being a “marching band geek” in high school.

It’s a no-nonsense formula that has clicked, especially in the last few years. Denver won five events in the 2006-07 season and received its first regional bid, then followed that season with five team titles and a sixth-place showing at the NCAA Championship last season.

This year, Denver won three times, including its sixth consecutive Sun Belt Conference title.

Now, they’re heading back to the Big Dance knowing they belong.

“To see what’s been building, it’s so rewarding for me,” Chergo said. “But for them, too, for how they’ve grown with this program.”

DU will play in the NCAA Championships held May 19-22 at the Caves Valley Golf Club hosted by Georgetown University.

Friday, April 17, 2009

DU Alum Butler Playing Like NHL Veteran

(above) DU Alum Chris Butler was the biggest surprise for the Buffalo Sabres this season

From: Buffalo News
John Vogl

It was clear to anyone watching that Chris Butler was staying in Buffalo. Andrew Peters saw it. So in a gesture of kindness and teammate kinship, Peters plucked the Sabres rookie from his lonely days in a hotel and invited Butler to live with him and his wife.

It didn't take long for Butler to go from house guest to family member. Butler is a smart, thoughtful guy whose etiquette floored his hosts. Whenever Erin Peters would get up from the kitchen table or prepare to leave a room, Butler would rise from his seat in a show of chivalry and respect.

The respect immediately flowed both ways.

"He's as mature as they get for a 22-year-old," Andrew Peters said. "He's a professional in every sense of the word. He treated my wife with the most respect, and that went a long way. That's what I mean by gentleman. He's a really, really good kid. He's like a young brother."

The housing arrangement worked, but it's unlikely to continue next season. Butler may as well start shopping for his own place because he's not going anywhere. The defenseman figures to be a Sabres regular for years.

In a season littered with disappointments, Butler was the Sabres' biggest success story. He was called up in December when injuries thinned the blue line. He played too well to go back to Portland. He finished with 47 games and was second on the Sabres with a plus-11 rating.

"Chris Butler probably surprised all of us with his play," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He put together basically a solid half-season for us. That is a bright spot."

The Sabres sent Butler to Portland this week so he can take part in the American Hockey League playoffs. It's a chance to get a feel for postseason intensity since he is a first-year pro.

But he certainly doesn't play or act like a first-year guy. Peters mentioned Butler's maturity, and it is evident on the ice and in the dressing room. His chats are full of insight, whether he's talking about the overall negativity of mainstream media or what it's like to be on the ice with Teppo Numminen and Craig Rivet.

"If you look at my defense partners from this year, Craig Rivet just played his 800th game, Teppo has played over 1,000 games and is a potential Hall of Famer," Butler said. "The amount of things that I learned from them, the little things from just being around them, made me that much of a better player."

The even better news for Sabres fans is Butler feels he's nowhere close to his potential. He had two goals and four assists, numbers he's planning to boost.

"As you adjust and as you grow more and more confident and comfortable at this level, I think I can start to evolve into the kind of player that I want to be," Butler said. "I'm not even close to where I think I can be at this level. I think I can be more of a two-way defenseman. I think I can do a better job of picking spots and getting up in the rush, do a better job of blocking shots. The goal this summer is to get a lot stronger so I can handle guys down low a lot better.

"I don't know if it's my mind-set that has to change, but I think some games I kept things too simple. I would kind of make a pass and let other guys do the work, whereas I feel I can get up in the rush, I can make plays."

The Sabres are eager to see it. Ruff was impressed by Butler's ability to shake off bad games — he had back-to-back minus showings just once — and sees the University of Denver product growing into a top-pair defenseman.

"His mental makeup is very good for the game, so that overall was a good year for him," Ruff said. "He had a game here or there that he didn't like, but he was able to bounce back and put some games together that were very good for us, too. He's got the mobility for it. He's got the head for it, and he's got good work ethic."

He's also got the drive. He wants to ingrain himself with the Blue and Gold, not just be a guest in someone's home.

"I want to be here for all 82 games next year and make more of a difference instead of just kind of being a role player per se," Butler said. "I kind of look at it as what can I do better and how can I make us a more successful team next year?"