Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

David Ramsey: Colorado College hockey coach Mike Haviland has fresh contract extension, but he's not satisfied

April 4, 2018 Updated: April 5, 2018 at 8:16 am
0
Caption +
Colorado College head coach Mike Haviland, back, talks to his players during a time out after giving up two early goals to Denver in the first period of an NCAA college hockey game in Denver on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A year ago, a cloud of gloom hovered over the Colorado College hockey program.

The forecast? More of the same.

Coach Mike Haviland paid no attention to the forecast. He kept emphasizing what he calls “the process.” He kept pushing his players. He kept believing, even when there was little reason to believe. He’s a stubborn man who was convinced he could defy the odds.

On Wednesday, Haviland signed a contract extension. Terms were not disclosed, but athletic director Ken Ralph was quick to say “it is definitely multi-year, and Mike is going to be with us for some time.”

Ralph also said this:

“Mike earned this. He really did.”

Let’s be clear: It was gloomy. Heading into the 2017-2018 season, the Tigers had won 27 of 144 games, dating back to Scott Owens final season as head coach. Some CC game nights at World Arena were depressingly similar to nights when the arena was vacant.

My, but it was ugly. In Haviland’s first three seasons, the Tigers were outscored by three or more goals 41 times and scored one or fewer goals in 42 games while never winning a 1-0 game.

But all that darkness served to magnify the fun when the Tigers returned to life. They split the four-game regular-season series with The Evil Empire of the North, sometimes known as Denver’s hockey team. They pushed DU to the brink in the NCHC tournament. They finished fifth in a brutally tough conference. They flirted with a winning record.

I realize many of you remember the not-so-long-ago days when CC soared as an undisputed national power. From 1993 to 2013, the Tigers averaged 24.15 wins a season. During the same era, DU averaged 22.85 wins. For decades, the Tigers skated proudly among the nation’s elite.

If you’re considering all that CC accomplished last season and remain less than overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to read Haviland’s view of the future.

You’re not satisfied?

He’s not either.

“We’re not where we want to be yet,” Haviland said. “I think we made good strides, but I just don’t think we’re there yet. . . . We’re in the middle of where we want to be. We’re not going to be satisfied with that.”

CC did not graduate a senior and returns the talented and hungry junior class that revived the program. Chris Wilkie, a North Dakota transfer, and promising freshmen Ben Copeland and Bryan Yoon will add power to the Tigers.

I asked Ralph if he’s optimistic.

He said the word “is always a dangerous word to use in sports,” but added that he likes all the “trendlines” he sees with the team.

“In everything,” Ralph said, “the trends are heading in the right direction.”

The rivalry with Air Force is one of the trends that must change for CC fans – and they are legion – to find hockey satisfaction. The Tigers are second in the two-team battle to rule Colorado Springs.

Count on this: Frank Serratore and his Air Force Falcons are determined to remain atop the hill. Next season’s struggle for the Pikes Peak Trophy should deliver entertaining and intense hockey.

Throughout the years of losing, Haviland insists he never lost faith. He could always could see light. He always could see wins beckoning from the horizon.

Failure?

“That never came to my mind,” Haviland said. “I always just wanted to make the team better, and that’s still my philosophy now.”

The gloom has, finally, lifted. Now, we’ll see just how sunny it can be.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.