Tonight the Denver Cutthroats kick off their inaugural season with the first regular season game of 2012-2013.
The Fish, as they're affectionately called, will be facing the Missouri Mavericks in their home opener. Governor John Hickenlooper will be on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck at 7:05 pm MST. The Cutthroats will play all 33 of their home games this season in the historic Denver Coliseum, which celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this year. Also on hand will be the team's mascot, Gill.
In April 2012, the Central Hockey League announced that Denver, Colorado, had been awarded a new expansion franchise set to take the ice for the 2012-2013 season. The Denver Cutthroats entered into an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche in July 2012. Under the agreement, the Cutthroats become an additional resource for player personnel and development needs for the Avalanche and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters. Avalanche players and prospects can be assigned to the Cutthroats throughout the 2012-13 season for developmental purposes. The Avalanche also have the option of promoting Cutthroats players to their NHL and AHL clubs. The team's name comes from Colorado's state fish, the Greenback Cutthroat Trout.
John A. Hayes: Owner
Hayes, who is president and CEO of the Broomfield-based Ball Corporation, is leading the investment group which owns the new franchise.
Brad Lund: Governor
Lund, 46, brings more than 20 years of experience in the CHL to the Denver area. From 1992-2008, he served as the lead executive of the Oklahoma City Blazers. During his tenure, the Blazers were at the forefront of the minor-league hockey landscape leading the CHL in attendance all 16 years, averaging 9,123 fans per game – which led all of minor league hockey. He’s been named the CHL’s Executive of the Year on three occasions, and played a key role in the startup of the CHL’s Missouri Mavericks – who’ve been among the league leaders in attendance over their three-year existence.
Eric Newendorp: General Manager
The Moore, Oklahoma native is no stranger to minor-leauge hockey, having spent 10 years with the CHL's Oklahoma City Blazers before joining the ECHL's Colorado Eagles in 2003 to help launch the franchise for it's inaugural season. At the time of their launch the Eagles were a CHL member club. Both the Blazers and the Eagles reached impressive attendance goals as Oklahoma City consistently ranked among the top minor-league hockey franchises in average attendance, while the Eagles began what's turned into a minor-pro record for consecutive sellouts.
Brent Cullaton: Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations
The 37-year-old Cullaton (KUHL-uh-ton) has spent the past three seasons as general manager and head coach of the WSHL’s Boulder Jr. Bisons. In his time leading the Tier-III junior program, he compiled a career record of 114-40-8 and an appearance in the 2010 Thorne Cup Finals. He’s familiar with the CHL having played eight years in the league, appearing in 275 games. From 2003-06, he appeared in three consecutive President’s Cup Finals for the Laredo Bucks – winning two championships. The Petawawa, Ontario native enjoyed his best season statistically in 2007-08, when he tallied 92 points in 57 games as captain of the CHL’s Rocky Mountain Rage in Broomfield, Colorado.
Behind the Bench
Derek Armstrong: Head Coach
Armstrong, 38, returns to the Denver area where he skated for the International Hockey League’s Denver Grizzlies and won a championship during their 1994-95 campaign. After being drafted by the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders in 1992, the Ottawa, Ontario native appeared in 477 NHL games over a 14-year career with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and St. Louis Blues. In his lone season with the Grizzlies, he recorded 13 goals and 18 assists in 59 games.
On the Ice
CHL teams carry a 19-man roster. The Cutthroats opening night roster includes:
# 37 - Aaron MacKenzie: 6'0" / 185 / Defense / Captain
MacKenzie (muh-KEN-zee) brings with him eight years of pro hockey experience, including six in the American Hockey League and a handful of games with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. The 31-year-old also skated four seasons at the University of Denver, recording 19 goals and 54 assists in 157 games from 1999-2003. MacKenzie spent the first six years of his pro career at the AHL level with the Worcester Sharks, Peoria Rivermen, and Lake Erie Monsters. During his 2008-09 season with Lake Erie, the Terrace Bay, Ontario native was called up twice to the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, skating in five games. MacKenzie was named team captain during his final two seasons with Peoria (2006-08). For the past three years, the defenseman was overseas, playing in Europe and Asia. Prior to attending the University of Denver, MacKenzie appeared in 49 games for the USHL’s Thunder Bay Flyers, registering eight goals and 12 assists.
#27 - Kyle Quincey: 6'2" / 206 / Defense
Quincey played each of the past three years in Denver for the Colorado Avalanche before being traded from Tampa Bay to Detroit in exchange for a 2012 First Round Pick. The Red Wings drafted Quincey in the fourth round of the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The Kitchener, Ontario native has appeared in 257 NHL games scoring 18 goals and 95 points.
#26 - Nick Laporte: 6'5" / 202 / Defense
One of a handful of players to make the team after attending the Cutthroats' Open Tryouts in August, Nick Laporte began his pro career in the FHL, playing for the 1000 Islands Privateers. In 24 games, he had 1 goal and 5 assists. The 23-year-old is described as being a physical force on the ice, bringing the Cutthroats size and grit.
#22 - AJ Gale: 5'11" / 180 / Right Wing
Gale (GAYL), 25, is set to begin his fourth professional season and third in the CHL. The Nanaimo, British Columbia native recorded 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 14 games last year competing overseas in Denmark. From 2009-11, Gale tallied 41 goals and 48 assists for 89 points in 120 CHL games between Wichita and the Texas Brahmas.
#21 - Steve Makway: 6'5" / 230 / Defense
Makaway (MAHK-way) is set to begin his ninth year as a professional and sixth in the CHL. Last season, Makway appeared in 64 games for the CHL’s Evansville IceMen, recording four goals and 38 assists. Over six CHL seasons, the 29-year-old has skated in 289 games between Evansville, the Wichita Thunder, Mississippi RiverKings, and Laredo Bucks. Makway also played with the Flint Generals and Missouri River Otters of the United Hockey League in 2005-06, the Cincinnati Cyclones and Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL in 2008-09, plus the Dundee Stars of the UK-based Elite Ice Hockey League in 2010-11 along with his time in the CHL.
#20 - Mario Boilard: 6'2" / 200 / Center
The 22-year-old Boilard (BWAH-lard) will begin his second pro season after appearing in 46 games for the CHL’s Evansville Icemen last year. The Sainte-Justine, Quebec native racked up 193 penalty minutes in his rookie campaign and chipped in six points along the way (three goals, three assists). Prior to turning pro, Boilard played a four-year junior career in Quebec and Alberta.
#19 - Brett Lutes: 6'1" / 190 / Left Wing
Lutes (LOOTS) was voted to the CHL All-Star Game last season and was a seventh-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Last year, the Riverview, New Brunswick native tallied 20 goals and a career-high 42 assists for the CHL’s Dayton Gems. He finished as the Gems’ second-leading scorer with 62 points. During his past three seasons in the CHL, the 30-year-old has averaged nearly a point-per-game, amassing 159 points in 168 appearances with the Gems and Colorado Eagles.
#17 - Luke Fulghum: 6'0" / 185 / Right Wing
After appearing in 161 games over four years at the University of Denver, the 31-year-old Fulghum (FUHL-juhm) spent his first three full seasons as a pro between the ECHL and American Hockey League, registering 58 goals and 49 assists in 170 contests. He’s spent the past four years competing in the UK-based Elite Ice Hockey League.
#16 - Tony Mosey: 5'10" / 175 / Forward
Mosey played for the Florida Everblades of the ECHL during the 2010-2011 season after a college career with St. Cloud State of the WCHA. He joined the Everblades (23 games, 3g/1a) mid-season after being dropped from St. Cloud State in Jan 2011. Mosey had been arrested and charged with felony damage to property in Stearns County. He signed with the Everblades a few weeks after St. Cloud's championship win at the Florida College Hockey Classic .
#15 - Ben Wilson: 6'0" / 180 / Center
The 21-year-old Wilson is entering his second stint in the Central Hockey League after spending 10 games last season with the Allen Americans, combined with his 30 games in the AHL with Lake Erie. The 6-foot, 180-pound Wilson appeared in two games this season for the Monsters, registering an assist. The Calgary, Alberta native spent the final two years of his junior career (2009-11) in the Western Hockey League, playing 138 games for the Calgary Hitmen.
#14 - Andrew Coles: 6'1" / 195 / Left Wing
Coles is another player to come out of the Cutthroats' open tryouts. This will be the 23-year-old's first venture in professional hockey after spending two years in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, playing for Portage College (18 games, 0g/7a) and Grant MacEwan College (24 games, 4g/5a).
#12 - Phil Tesoriero: 5'10" / 175 / Defense
The last of three players to make the team from the tryouts, Tesoriero is a local, hailing from Boulder, CO. He's played for the Davenport University Panthers for the past three seasons, registering 11 goals and 21 assists in 115 games. Tesoriero, 25, will also be making his pro hockey debut this season.
#10 - Jamie MacQueen: 6'1" / 185 / Forward
MacQueen, 24, appeared in five games last season for Lake Erie after completing a four-year career at Bemidji State University where he tallied 24 goals and 23 assists in 147 games. The 6-foot-1, 185 pound product of London, Ontario began the preseason in camp with the Monsters.
#9 - Troy Schwab: 5'8" / 192 / Center
The 27-year-old Schwab (SHWAHB) registered 19 goals and 36 assists in 54 games during his 2010-11 campaign alongside Gale in Wichita. Last season in Germany, Schwab amassed 45 points in 46 games (19 goals, 26 assists). After completing a four-year career at Lake Superior State University, Schwab finished his 2009-10 rookie season scoring 53 points in 67 games for the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs.
#8 - Sean Zimmerman: 6'2" / 220 / Defense
Zimmerman, 25, will return to play in his hometown of Denver, Colorado after spending the last five years in the American Hockey League. He has appeared in 274 AHL games with six different teams over his playing career. In 2008-09 he also appeared in 20 CHL games with the Arizona Sundogs, registering three assists. Zimmerman was a sixth-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in National Hockey League’s 2005 Entry Draft. He most recently spent the past two seasons in the Anaheim Ducks system, playing in 63 games for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, scoring a goal and nine assists.
#4 - Gabriel Beaupre: 6'2" / 200 / Defense
Beaupré (19) was drafted by Avalanche in the 6th round of the 2011 NHL entry draft. He played in QMJHL for Val-d´Or Foreurs appearing in 240 games and registering 50 points (11 goals and 39 assists). After an invite to the Lake Erie Monsters' training camp, Beaupre was signed to a one-year deal. The Monsters assigned the defenseman to the Cutthroats' roster shortly thereafter.
#3 - Markus Lauridsen: 6'1" / 201 / Defense
Lauridsen (LORE-ihd-sehn) began the preseason in training camp with the Monsters after completing a two-year junior career with the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers where he won the 2012 Clark Cup championship and registered 40 points in 102 total games (11 goals, 29 assists). The 21-year-old hails from Hellerup, Denmark and represented his home country in the World Junior Championships each of the past four years. He claimed a silver medal in 2008-09 and 2009-10, then captured a gold medal in 2011-12.
#31 - Kieran Millan: 6'0" / 190 / Goalie
Millan, 23, was selected in the fifth-round of the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the Cutthroats parent club, the Colorado Avalanche. The Edmonton, Alberta native finished a four-year career at Boston University with an 81-42-12 record in 138 appearances, a 2.57 goals against average, and a .914 save percentage. Millan was a four-year starter in Boston and led the Terriers to the 2009 National Title in his freshmen season with a 1.94 GAA and a .921 SV% to compliment his 29-2-3 record.
#35 - Kent Patterson: 6'1" / 180 / Goalie
Patterson, 23, was the Avalanche’s fourth-round selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The St. Louis Park, Minnesota native recently completed a four-your run at the University of Minnesota where he held a 2.46 GAA and a .912 SV% in 88 career games with a 44-29-9 record. In his senior season for the Golden Gophers, Patterson was named All-WCHA First Team with a 2.32 GAA and 28 wins on the year.
Andrew Coles will start the season in the IR, and Sean Zimmerman will serve a three-game suspension at the start of the season. Zimmerman’s suspension was handed down by the league earlier this week as the result of a hit during the team’s final preseason contest against the Tulsa Oilers.
Logo and Jerseys
The logo was designed by the Denver-based branding, marketing and design agency Adrenalin. The design is meant to incorporate specific Colorado characteristics, including the trout, mountains and rivers in the Rockies.
Among other ventures designed to support local hockey, the Cutthroats will partner with eight local hockey programs as part of their first "Amateur Hockey Coalition" for the upcoming 2012-13 Central Hockey League season. The local programs involved include Arapahoe Youth Hockey, Arvada Hockey Association, Boulder Hockey Club, Colorado Rampage Hockey, Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, Foothills Hockey Association, Hyland Hills Jaguars, and Littleton Youth Hockey Association. Along with a donation to each organization, the Cutthroats will increase their community outreach efforts by offering each program fundraising opportunities, ticket packages for members, player appearances at practices and skill sessions, plus additional forms of support. Fans will also see some of the youth teams involved in the "Amateur Hockey Coalition" compete on the ice at a Cutthroats game this season as part of the intermission entertainment.
The inaugural season of Cutthroats hockey will air live on 1600 AM The Zone for hockey fans in the Denver market to listen to. 45 of the Cutthroats 66 regular season games are currently scheduled to air, and playoff games can be added to the schedule as the season progresses. Brien Rea (RAY) will serve as the play-by-play voice for each of the team’s broadcasts and will also host pregame and postgame content. The 2012-13 season will be Rea’s eighth broadcasting hockey. He’s previously worked for three other teams in the Central Hockey League (Austin Ice Bats, Odessa Jackalopes, Arizona Sundogs) and also called games for Lake Forest College. The St. Louis, Missouri native was the broadcaster for the CHL’s All-Star Game in 2011 and 2012.
In addition to the 45 games airing on 1600 The Zone, fans will also be able to catch every regular season and playoff game online at http://www.denvercutthroats.com or on the Cutthroats mobile app for iPhone and Android phones through the team’s online broadcast stream.
Single-game ticket prices start at $15 for Lower End Zone seating and range up to $44 for Glass Level seats. In between are seating levels in the Cutthroats Club ($32), the Lower Prime level ($27), and the Lower Bowl ($19). Glass Level and Cutthroats Club Level ticket holders receive access to the team’s VIP club with their ticket purchase. Currently eight-game and 16-game mini-plans, 33-game full season ticket packages, and group packages are on sale. Fundraising opportunities are also available for youth hockey and other non-profit organizations, including Hockey on the Rocks. A full seat map with price levels can be found at http://www.denvercuthroats.com and fans can speak with a team representative directly by calling (303) 688-5297.
*all information via the Denver Cutthraots