Magness Arena, home of the Pioneers men's hockey team. Photo courtesy of University of Denver Athletics
For more than 70 years the University of Denver has had one of the country’s top collegiate hockey programs. During that span, the Pioneers have brought home a total of eight national championship trophies — in 1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005, and most recently in 2017 when they beat Minnesota Duluth. With that track record, the Pioneers are tied for second with the University of North Dakota in all-time national titles, trailing the University of Michigan which has claimed nine national titles.
Sustained success like that doesn’t come without a constant flow of talented players coming into the program on a regular basis. Note that from 1949, when the Pioneers hockey program was founded, until now, there have been roughly 75 alumni who have skated in the NHL, but this list isn’t just about success in pro hockey, but rather what each player accomplished while wearing a Pioneers sweater. So, out of thousands of names, who are the top five hockey players in University of Denver history? Keep reading to find out.
The first pick for this list played arguably the most important position on the ice — goalie. Top Pioneers goalies include Wade Dubielewicz, who spent time with the team from 1999-2003 before going on to an NHL career playing for the Minnesota Wild, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Islanders. But Tanner Jaillet, the No. 5 pick, is the Colorado Hockey Hub's selection for best goalie the school has had.
From 2014-18, Jaillet played 135 games and produced an overall record of 82-27-16, boasting a 0.925 save percentage despite allowing 257 goals. He also helped lead the school to its eighth national title in 2017 and received the Mike Richter award, which goes to the nation’s top goaltender, in that year. Jaillet has the stats and the hardware to back up his position on this list.
Keith Magnuson had 16 goals and tallied 75 assists in 96 games played as a defenseman in a University of Denver sweater. He was a part of the 1968 and '69 teams that won back-to-back national championships. Magnuson was also a two-time All-American while playing with the Pioneers and was elected to the Denver Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Following his collegiate career, Magnuson played 10 years with the Chicago Blackhawks between 1969-79 and was proven to be a solid defenseman. His plus/minus was plus-170 over his career with the Blackhawks. Magnuson died in an auto accident in 2003.
Glenn Anderson only spent the 1978-79 season with the University of Denver but he’s perhaps the most recognizable Pioneer to play in the NHL. During his lone season in Denver, Anderson led the Pioneers offensively with a 55-point season while playing right wing.
Following that season, Anderson skated for Team Canada in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow before spending an incredible 16 seasons in the NHL. Anderson was part of the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty in the 1980s and won five Stanley Cups as part of the team. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2008.
Dallas Gaume manned the center position for the Pioneers from 1982-86 and is the team’s all-time leader in points (266) despite playing for a Pioneers team that was on a bit of a decline. Despite those team struggles, Gaume was a bright spot with his standout play. He helped lead the team to a 34-13-1 overall record in the 1985-86 season, which to this day remains a school record for the highest number of wins in a single season. He also tallied the highest-scoring University of Denver season of all time — putting up 99 points.
Gaume later went pro, skating with the Hartford Whalers for a handful of games before moving across the Atlantic Ocean to play for the Trondheim Black Panthers in the GET-ligaen, a Norwegian pro league, for most of the 1990s.
Last but not least is Craig Patrick. Many likely recognize his name and probably know him best as the assistant coach of Team USA’s men’s hockey team during the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Patrick, however, was a Pioneer long before he won a gold medal as an assistant coach.
Patrick played right wing in Denver from 1966-70 and was a part of the Pioneers’ back-to-back championship runs in 1968 and ’69, alongside Magnuson. Under Colorado Sports Hall of Fame head coach Murray “the Chief” Armstrong, Patrick and his teammates took down North Dakota and Cornell to claim their national titles. Patrick once proclaimed his greatest accomplishment was winning those national championships and graduating from the University of Denver.
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