Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
We tend to forget about University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky because he is so consistently excellent. But his team was ranked in the top ten nationally and made the playoffs. Again. Although they exited after the first round, DU has won two national titles with Gwozdecky at the helm, and this year he juggled three capable goalies, each of whom started at least ten games. Gwozdecky also coaxed solid play out of a young roster: Juho Olkinuora, the goalie who logged the most minutes in net, is a freshman, and the team's second, third and fourth leading scorers are all underclassmen.
Readers' Choice: Tad Boyle, University of Colorado men's basketball
Old athletes are still young by everyday life standards — except for Jamie Moyer. The left-handed veteran (who got his first start against Steve Carlton) is attempting to make a comeback and to make the Rockies roster after missing last year recovering from Tommy John surgery. And after a slow start, he's now competing for the fifth starter position — complete with his wicked 67 mph pitches. Just that, and the fact that he made it to spring training, is commendable. No word on whether the Rockies staff has to accommodate him with a 4:30 p.m. dinner.
A lot was expected of the number-two overall pick in the NHL draft, but few people were counting on the kind of performance that the Swedish-born Gabriel Landeskog has turned in. The lefty is in the top five in most offensive categories among rookies and second on the team in points. In March, he was named the NHL's top rookie. He also provides hope, which we will gladly traffic in. The Avs have lacked a star since Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg began to fade. The talented winger is only nineteen years old and should get even better, especially if center Matt Duchene, who is all of 21, grows with him.
Readers' Choice: Matt Duchene
They're not as popular as Rocky dogs or Helton burgers, but fans can still get their Rocky Mountain oysters at Coors Field. Since 1995, sliced bull's testicles, battered and fried to a golden, chewy crisp, have been available at stand 144 in the ballpark, where they have a "small but hard-core following," says Aramark regional manager Richard Hesse. Play ball!
Denver-based manufacturer Never Summer Industries marked its twentieth anniversary in the snowboard business with the addition of the Proto CT, a springy new all-mountain freestyle board that ruled this season's demo days and earned top reviews. Like all boards in the line this year, the Proto CT is made in Colorado and features Never Summer's patented Rocker Camber Technology, a profile shape that floats on powder, rules on the rails, and helps even beginner riders avoid catching an edge and face-planting under the chairlift. It's also loaded with slope-tech like "Carbonium Laminate Technology," "STS Pretensioned Fiberglass," Never Summer's "Superlight" wood core, and a "graphite-impregnated Sintered 5501 base." Translation? The Proto CT has both pop and pep, offering a lively ride in the best and worst conditions.
Rookie defensive sensation Von Miller forced a fumble on his very first NFL play, was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, recorded 11.5 sacks, played a couple of games in a cast and was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl. Not bad. Off the field, the bespectacled Miller was the picture of poise. And while Tim Tebow was certainly the spark that the Broncos used to fire themselves up for a mid-season turnaround, Miller was the fuel. The Broncos will be Peyton Manning's team come September, but its orange-and-blue heart beats behind jersey number 58.
Readers' Choice: Tim Tebow