CU Denver hockey team takes to the ice for a game during inaugural campaign

The University of Colorado Denver Hockey Club wrapped up its inaugural season on Feb. 18 with a game against the Colorado School of Mines.

The CU Denver team, the first sports team on the Denver Campus, finished with a respectable record of 6-18, playing other club university teams in Colorado as well as out-of-state schools.

“It wasn’t bad for our first season,” said team captain Gordon Nytes. “It was a building year.”

A high moment came on Oct. 20 when the hockey team played a homecoming game against the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in at the Pepsi Center. CU Denver Chancellor Jerry Wartgow spoke to the team in the locker room before the game, calling them an “inspiration” for pioneering an athletics squad on campus, and dropped the ceremonial first puck at center ice.

CU Denver team lost 4-1, but the 250 Denver faithful enjoyed the atmosphere and cheered loudly throughout the game. Nytes, who led the effort to organize the team, scored the home team’s only goal that night.

Nytes said tryouts for next season will take place in September. He said visibility of the team — the club launched a Facebook page last fall — increased as the inaugural season wore on.

The team hopes to soon sell souvenir jerseys and other merchandise in the Auraria Campus Bookstore as a club fundraiser.

Support “has gotten better as time goes by,” Nytes said. “We’re going to recruit (new players) as best we can and just promote it.”

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