Colorado College, a private liberal arts college located in Colorado Springs, may not be the first name that comes to mind when discussing college hockey. However, the Tigers have a rich history in the sport and have built some fierce rivalries over the years. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most significant matchups in Colorado College’s history.
The Early Years: Colorado vs. Denver
In the early 1950s, Colorado College and University of Denver were the only two Colorado-based teams in the NCAA. The two schools quickly developed a strong rivalry, with both teams dominating the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and regularly facing off in the Frozen Four. It was during this time that the rivalry between these two schools reached its peak.
The rivalry was intensified by the fact that both teams shared the same arena, the Broadmoor World Arena. The arena was split evenly between the two schools, with each team claiming their section of the arena. As expected, the games between these two teams were highly competitive, with players and fans alike showing intense passion and dedication.
The rivalry reached its peak in 1958 when both teams were tied for the WCHA title, and the deciding game ended in a tie. A playoff game was scheduled, but due to a winter storm, the game was postponed until the following day. The rescheduled game ended in a 5-4 win for the Tigers, securing the WCHA title and a spot in the Frozen Four for Colorado College.
The Battle of the Gold Pan: Colorado vs. Colorado State
In the early 1990s, a new rivalry emerged for Colorado College as they faced off against in-state rival, Colorado State University. Dubbed the Battle of the Gold Pan due to its signature trophy, a golden pan, this rivalry quickly gained momentum and became highly anticipated by fans on both sides.
The rivalry went beyond the ice, with the schools also competing in other sports and overall pride for their respective universities. However, it was on the ice that the competition was most intense. During their first matchup, Colorado College dominated with a 6-0 victory, but Colorado State bounced back the following year with a 7-1 win.
The peak of this rivalry came in 1996 when both schools met in the WCHA playoffs. After splitting the first two games, the deciding game went into double overtime, with Colorado College emerging victorious with a 4-3 win. The series became known as the Miracle on Ice for the Tigers, as they went on to win the WCHA title and advance to the Frozen Four.
The New Millennium: Colorado vs. North Dakota
As the WCHA conference continued to evolve and change, a new rivalry emerged for Colorado College in the early 2000s. The University of North Dakota became a formidable opponent for the Tigers, with both teams consistently ranked among the top teams in the conference.
What made this rivalry unique was the contrast in playing styles. While Colorado College was known for its speed and finesse, North Dakota was known for its physicality and grit. This contrast made for some exciting and intense matchups, with both teams constantly pushing each other to be at their best.
The rivalry reached its peak in 2006 when both teams met in the WCHA semifinals. After a back-and-forth game, Colorado College emerged victorious with a 2-1 win, securing their spot in the WCHA title game. The rivalry may have cooled off in recent years as both teams have transitioned to different conferences, but the memories of these intense matchups will always remain.
Colorado College may not have the same name recognition as some of the bigger hockey schools, but that has not stopped them from building some fierce rivalries over the years. From their early battles with Denver to the more recent matchups with North Dakota, the Tigers have a rich history of intense and exciting games. These rivalries have not only added to the excitement of college hockey, but they have also helped shape the identity of Colorado College’s hockey program.