The University of Denver hockey team was already the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season champion and a top seed for the upcoming NCAA championship tournament. But yesterday, the accolades continued to roll in, as this year’s squad earned more individual awards at the WCHA awards banquet than any Pioneer team since 1978.
The Denver Post reports that senior wing Rhett Rakshani, junior goalie Marc Cheverie, and sophomore defenseman Patrick Wiercioch made the all-WCHA first team; senior center Tyler Ruegsegger made the second team; sophomore wing Joe Colborne made the third; and freshman defenseman Matt Donovan made the all-rookie team.
On top of that, Cheverie (right) was named the WCHA player of the year, and coach George Gwozdecky was named the WCHA coach of the year, his fourth such honor. The team is lined up for even more praise: Rakshani and Cheverie are both top 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker award, awarded annually to college hockey’s best player (via ESPN).
Gwozdecky has had amazing success at DU, guiding the team to its 12th WCHA regular-season championship and an overall 27-7-4 record this year, according to the DU Pioneers Web site. With Gwozdecky at the helm, DU has won two NCAA championships (2004, ’05), four WCHA playoffs championships, and three WCHA regular-season titles (2002, ’05, and ’10). Cheverie is modest when it comes to discussing his award, despite the fact that he may be the best goalie in college hockey.
“I think anytime a team has the kind of success we’ve had, there’s going to be a lot of individual awards,” he tells the Post. “But all in all, we can’t do it without each other.”
Photo courtesy DenverPioneers.com.