Men's Ice Hockey

Denver Hockey Holds Annual Media Day

DENVER - The University of Denver ice hockey team held its annual media day on Tuesday afternoon at Magness Arena.  The event got underway with DU head coach Jim Montgomery speaking to the media contingent along with seniors Sam Brittain (Calgary, Alberta) and David Makowski (St. Louis, Mo.).

 

Quotes from Tuesday's press conference are below:

Denver Head Coach Jim Montgomery:

Opening Statement...

“We’re really excited for our journey to begin this next Saturday. Because of NCAA rules we haven’t been able to touch the ice and do as many repetitions as we’d like, but beginning next Saturday it starts in ernest. I’m really looking forward to seeing us grow and get better every day, individually, collectively and to see where we end up and through our successes and our failures during the regular season and how good we can be at the end of the year. “

“This group I’ve gotten to know over the last six weeks. I’m really excited about their attitude and demeanors. They’re fantastic student-athletes and right now I haven’t sat anyone down. We haven’t lost a game, we haven't been down a goal after a period so everything is rosy right now, but that’s what is exciting about the journey, when you face that adversity or you have that success is how you handle it. That’s what we need to do a group, focus on that every day. If we do that the results will take care of themselves.”

“In goal, we are led by our senior Sam Brittain, who I think is in the best shape of his life right now. He’s going to be leading the way with our two freshmen who he’s taken under his wing.”

“On defense, we return four defenseman who I’ve seen in practice already are 200-foot hockey players that can get it done at the defensive and offensive end that really excites me. They’re supported by three very talented freshmen. I’m really excited about our d-core.”

“Moving on to our forwards, we are led in our forwards by our junior class. Our sophomore and freshman are going to have to be relied upon to contribute for us in that depth throughout our forward line in order to play Pioneer hockey.”

On not being ranked…

“I think it’s a slight of a rookie head coach, is he going to be able to handle the next step. I think more importantly preseason polls mean nothing. Remembering back to the Avalanche in 2002 they added Selanne and Kariya and everyone was ordering their rings and it didn’t transpire that way. The medal is always what happens in the journey, not what happens on paper.”

On welcoming high expectations…

“That’s why I wanted this job. I think Denver is place where you can expect to have a chance at winning a National Championship and winning your conference every year. I wanted to come to an institution what wanted to do great things on the ice, in the classroom and in the community.”

On last five seasons being disappointing…

“I can’t answer that. I think they had some successes but I think that ultimately you want to win championships. I don’t know in the last five years that they’ve won enough championships. I know that if my next five years are comparable to the last five years I will view it as a disappointment.”

Do you anticipate winning a national championship in the next five years?

“That’s why I wanted this job.”

On your style of play…

“That’s to be determined as we get to know each other. I don’t describe my style of play as wide open; I think that when we have the puck we are a puck possession team. We want to make decisions that enable us to keep possession. When we don’t have it, we want to pressure team so that we get possession back.”

 

Senior Sam Brittain

Role as being the only two seniors…

“I think being one of the older guys, there’s a lot of responsibly for us because we want to have a great year this year. We also want to transition into the future. We have a big freshman class, ten freshmen, that’s huge. We want them to understand that being better day-to-day is the main goal and working on the little things ar the things that we can bring through experience. Our goal is to lead and help with the tough ups and down in your first year in college.”

Change to head coach…

“Like coach said earlier, we haven’t had a lot of time to work with them because of the NCAA restrictions. I think he’s very easy to talk to. He lays out exactly what he wants our team to play like, our play book and what our team mentality is so everyone is on the same page. I think that’s the biggest thing he’s laid out for us. It’s his first year so he wants us to know what he expects of us. Those expectations have been clearly outlined.”

On players looking to the pros instead of college…

“There’s a fine line. Our freshman class is unique. We have a lot of guys playing in the NHL right now, which is tough on a program. Usually you look at your juniors and seniors to lead for a championship. The teams that had success last year were built around juniors and seniors. Bringing in ten freshman this year, maybe there a few first or second rounders which will only benefit in the future when they stick around for three four years. When a team’s average age is 22 rather than 19, they will only lead to more success in the future.”

Losing starting spot last year…

“Last season didn’t go as well as planned, but right now we have a great group of guys, new conference, new coach, it’s a fresh start. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity.”

On not being ranked…

“Whether the media ranks us or doesn’t rank us, what’s in the dressing room is what counts. We know where we stand. We know the talent we have and what we’re capable of. I think that’s the most important thing. I don’t remember the last time they gave the trophy out to the team ranked first at the beginning of the season.”

 

Senior David Makowski

Role as being the only two seniors…

 “Our main goal is to win a National Championship. We have been working hard lately. A lot of guys have had really good summer. You have to give a lot of credit to our strength and conditioning coach. A lot of guys are in really good shape. I think with all of these freshmen, they’re all jumping on board right now. We have a good group. You have to give a lot of credit to our coaching staff. We’re really excited to start the season right now.”

Change to new head coach…

 “The biggest thing is holding each other accountable on the ice and off the ice. Going to class, getting the school work done, because we are student-athletes. Like he said, we haven’t been on the ice that much, but we’ve been having captains practices, getting together and doing a lot of stuff as a team. That’s oing to be really important for us especially with a lot of new faces in our locker room this year.

On not being ranked…

 “The big thing for us is just making sure we aren’t worried about where we’re positioned going into the season. We need to focus on what we can control and that’s kind of out of our hands right now. Certainly, everyone would like to be ranked one, but what that comes a lot of pressure. I think that with our team and this sport you have to prove yourself day in and day out. We just need to worry about doing our job day in and day out and those things will take care of themselves as the season unfolds.”

 

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