Best Outlaw 2015 | Eric Law | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Attackman Eric Law is a hometown boy — a native Coloradan and graduate of Arapahoe High School who played his college lacrosse at DU. But he isn't an Outlaw for sentimental reasons. He followed up a scorching rookie season with an equally impressive sophomore stint, during which he earned all-star honors for leading the team in goals, points, shots on goal and shooting percentage, not to mention recording four hat tricks through the first six games of the season. Unlike most other professional franchises in Denver, which experienced down years, the Outlaws finished 2014 as MLL champs, and Law was a big reason why.

Readers' choice: Eric Law

We come not to bury the Denver Broncos, but to praise them. True, the team followed up its humiliating Super Bowl defeat by getting bounced out of the playoffs the next year after one game. But since Peyton Manning came to town, Denver has been among the most exciting franchises in any league, generating terrific story lines week in and week out — and with Manning returning to the fold for what's likely to be his final season and prodigal son Gary Kubiak coming back with a mandate for returning to glory, the drama could ratchet even higher in 2015-2016.

Readers' choice: Denver Broncos

It's been a rough year for pro coaches of the big four teams in Denver: John Fox jumped from the Broncos before he could be pushed, Brian Shaw was unceremoniously dismissed by the Nuggets, and Walt Weiss managed to survive as Rockies skipper only because general manager Dan O'Dowd was the designated (and belated) sacrifice. That leaves Patrick Roy, whose team didn't manage to hit the heights of his first year in charge. Yet he still struck a fine balance between positivity and hard-assed realism, figuratively skating over some often-thin ice with the sort of confidence that makes us believe better things are ahead.

Readers' choice: Patrick Roy

For coaches at colleges outside the power conferences, validation for a job well done comes when bigger universities come calling, and that's what happened for Jim McElwain, who was hired by Florida after the end of the regular season. When he took the CSU gig following several strong years as offensive coordinator at Alabama, observers knew he might be looking at Fort Collins as a way station. But this sort of plan only works if a coach wins, and McElwain did, quickly turning around a moribund program and registering a 10-2 record en route to becoming Mountain West Conference coach of the year. He earned the promotion, and CSU is in a better place moving forward because he did.

Readers' choice: Jim McElwain

KOA longtimer Alan Roach has manned the public-address system at a slew of Super Bowls, but not at the 2014 edition, because of the theory that hearing him would have given the Broncos an unfair advantage over the Seattle Seahawks. In general, this is an absurd notion, and not only because even the voice of God couldn't have helped Denver enough to win. Then again, Roach's bottomless tone is the next best thing to divinity, at least as far as most local fans are concerned. To people in Colorado, Roach simply sounds like sports, and for someone in his line of work, there's no greater compliment.

Readers' choice: Dave Logan

Vic Lombardi continues to stand head and shoulders above his sports-anchor peers, in part because he refuses to be confined to TV. In addition to his work at CBS4, he's become a regular on the 104.3/The Fan morning show alongside Mike Evans and Nate Lundy, giving him even more opportunities to exercise his keen wit and incisive analytical skills, and he's also a near-constant presence on Twitter. All of this activity demonstrates that Lombardi is as passionate about sports as ever. He just can't stop talking about it, and we still love listening.

Readers' choice: Vic Lombardi

It's a combination that shouldn't work. Sandy Clough is Denver's resident sports intellectual, breaking down teams, players and strategies with the scholarly acuity of a scientist, while Scott Hastings has a reputation as a fun-loving goofball who's incapable of pronouncing any "g" at the end of a word. But they bring out the best in each other: Hastings loosens up Clough when he's in danger of getting lost in pontification, while Clough inspires Hastings to reveal the genuine depth of his knowledge, particularly when it comes to basketball. They're radio's odd couple, and they make a highly enjoyable match.

Readers' choice: The Drive, with Big Al and D-Mac

Okay, okay: Betty Fitzgerald Hoover and Peggy Fitzgerald Coppom, known collectively as the Twins, aren't traditional mascots for CU-Boulder, which already has a fine one (hello, Ralphie). Instead, they're something better: a wonderful symbol of how love of sports can last a lifetime. The ninety-something pair first became CU football season-ticket holders in 1957, adding men's and women's basketball games to their schedule 22 years later. Since then, the sisters, who dress identically and seem to get more adorable with each passing decade, have been cherished by generations of athletes and fans — and we hope that continues for a long time to come.

Readers' choice: Rocky

Quick — what's Colorado's fastest-growing recreational pursuit? You know, besides that. Sweet Mary Pain, aka Emily Lucks, is co-captain of the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls' all-star 5280 Fight Club travel team, and also skates as both blocker and smokin'-fast jammer for Dooms Daisies, one of five gloriously named RMRG home teams (the others are Kill Scouts, United States Pummeling Service, Sugar Kill Gang, and Red Ridin' Hoods). No one is better at name games than Colorado skaters.

Readers' choice: Daisy Dukes-Up

The Denver Roller Dolls rebranded themselves as the Denver Roller Derby this year — the league's tenth — partly to mark the addition of a new traveling men's team, Ground Control. The latter joins the high-flying women's traveling teams Mile High Club, Bruising Altitude and the Standbys, and was just accepted into the growing Men's Roller Derby Association. For now, the gents are thrilled to be following the ladies' lead: Led by Tim "Dirt Monkey" Burns and Scott "Scott Free" Paul, Ground Control is coached by Bruising Altitude blocker Lisa "RockScar" Cassell and Tracy "Disco" Akers, a founding member of the Roller Dolls and longtime star of the Mile High Club.

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