Athletics & Recreation / News

The rising NHL tide wasn’t able to wash away DU’s Shore line

Drew Shore leads the DU Pioneers into action against Minnesota State Oct. 21-22. The University will celebrate Pioneer Athletics Day on Oct 22 as well as Homecoming. Photo: Rich Clarkson & Associates

Drew Shore could not have been blamed if he had opted for a one-way ticket out of Denver earlier this year.

The trend in big-time college hockey, after all, is for elite players to jump into the professional ranks as soon possible.

As the leading scorer for the University of Denver and a 2009 second-round selection of the Florida Panthers, Shore admittedly was more than a little swayed by the NHL’s lure.

But as a Denver native, Shore was 14 years old when the Pioneers won the second of their back-to-back national championships in 2005. Shore attended many of the games in those glorious two seasons and it left an indelible impression on the young hockey player. So when it came time for Shore to make a decision following his sophomore season, the security of a paycheck and the enticing idea of taking his game to the next level were not necessarily Shore’s biggest influences. Shore simply felt like there remained too much unfinished business with his hometown team.

“I gave it a lot of thought, and all. Growing up, you always want to be in the NHL,” Shore says. “At the same time, you have to think about what is best for your career for the next 10 years.

“I kept thinking about my teammates. Probably the thing you hear the most from guys that come back is that one of the hardest things about leaving is you never have that college atmosphere in the pros. I grew up here when Denver was winning national championships. I wasn’t ready to leave school until we made another meaningful run in the playoffs.”

Shore clearly had compiled the credentials to justify going pro. The junior forward and business major led the Pioneers in points (46) and power-play goals (eight) while sharing the team lead in goals (23).

Shore’s exploits landed him a second-team spot on the all-Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) squad and earned third-team All-America honors from College Hockey Online.

Dozens of college players have made the leap with far less impressive resumes. But once all the pros and cons were laid on the table, Shore also believed another season leading the Pioneers’ attack would best serve his development.

“I think for many reasons Drew made the right decision,” DU head coach George Gwozdecky says. “Certainly you can look in the past and the guys that have made the same decision — [former Pioneers captain] Rhett Rakhshani comes to mind — good things happen with guys who take time with their development. Not only for the next season, but they are more prepared when they do take that step and turn pro. I’ve said before many times that I’ve never had an athlete tell me they regretted staying another year.”

Shore’s return will only buoy the expectations of a club that once again should be among the contenders in the WCHA.

Shore also could make a run at the Pioneers’ prestigious Century Club for career 100-point scorers — he’s compiled 65 through his first two seasons — and he should once again be among the elite forwards in the nation.

Shore also says getting one more season with his brother, sophomore Nick Shore, as his teammate certainly was an added perk of his decision.

However, returning DU’s program to the heights it enjoyed during Shore’s youth remains goal No. 1.

“If I was at a school that maybe you knew wasn’t going to be great and didn’t really have a chance to compete for a national championship, I might have made another decision,” Shore says. “To come back to a team as good as this one was definitely a big factor, and getting another chance to play with Nick is going to be great. It all supported what I wanted to do.”

Tickets for Denver vs. Minnesota State are still available. Visit for ticket information and comprehensive coverage of DU hockey and DU athletics.

The Oct. 22 game will be offered for free on DU Pioneers facebook page.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *