COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With the NHL’s Stanley Cup and AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs complete, a trio of alumni from Colorado College and Denver hoisted trophies after capturing playoff championships. Former DU defenseman and NCHC alumnus Josiah Didier lifted the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, while former Pioneers forward Tyler Bozak and former CC forward Jaden Schwartz captured the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues.
Didier helped the Checkers defeat the Chicago Wolves in the Calder Cup Finals, winning the series 4-1 after losing the opening game. The Checkers secured the Calder Cup on the road with a 5-3 win at Chicago on June 8. During the Calder Cup Playoffs, Didier handed out four assists in 19 games, while posting a +12 plus/minus from the blue line. Three of his helpers came in the Calder Cup Finals, including one assist in each of the final two games to clinch the Cup. During the regular season, the Littleton, Colo., native appeared in 41 games for Charlotte, potting two goals and adding eight assists with a +10 plus/minus.
Didier played four years at Denver from 2011-15, including serving as an assistant captain his final two seasons when he played in the NCHC. A draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, Didier suited up 148 times for the Pioneers, scoring four goals and handing out 25 assists for 29 career points, while racking up 203 penalty minutes. He helped DU win the inaugural NCHC Frozen Faceoff in 2014 as a junior.
Bozak and Schwartz, who both played in the WCHA prior to the NCHC’s existence, helped lead the Blues to their first ever Stanley Cup title. St. Louis defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games, hoisting the Cup in Boston on June 12 after a 4-1 victory in the decisive game. Bozak played in all 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Blues, tallying five goals and eight assists for 13 points, including two assists in the Stanley Cup Final. During the regular season, he appeared in 72 games in his first season in St. Louis (after nine years in Toronto), compiling 13 goals and 38 points. Schwartz also played in all 26 playoff games, leading the Blues with 12 goals in the postseason, while adding eight assists for 20 points, which was second on the team. Two of his helpers came in the decisive Cup-clinching Game 7. The former Tiger tallied 36 points on 11 goals and 25 assists in 69 regular-season games for the Blues this year, his eighth with the franchise.
Schwartz, who becomes the third former CC player to hoist the Stanley Cup, played two seasons at Colorado College from 2010-12, racking up 88 points in 60 career games with 32 goals and 56 helpers. The Melfort, Sask., native was a two-time All-WCHA selection in college, as well. Bozak, who will be the third different Pioneer alum to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup, played for Denver for two seasons from 2007-09, compiling 57 points on 26 goals and 31 assists also in 60 career games. The Regina, Sask., native was a WCHA All-Rookie Team selection in 2007-08, when he helped DU win the WCHA Final Five Tournament.
In addition to Bozak, former Denver defenseman Chris Butler lifted the Stanley Cup after serving as a “black ace” for the Blues during their playoff run. He tallied two points in 13 games with the Blues during the 2018-19 regular season, also captaining their AHL affiliate in San Antonio, but did not see any Stanley Cup Playoff action. Butler starred at DU from 2005-08, racking up 66 points (20g, 46a) in 115 games over three seasons, also earning All-WCHA accolades.
The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, as three NCHC alums came up a game short of hoisting the Cup with Boston. Former Miami forward Sean Kuraly (2012-16), the 2016 NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year, chipped in four goals and six assists in 20 playoff games, while former Denver forward Danton Heinen (2014-16), the 2015 NCHC Rookie of the Year and 2016 Forward of the Year, tallied two goals and six assists in 24 playoff games for the Bruins. Former Minnesota Duluth captain Karson Kuhlman (2014-18), who won the 2018 NCAA National Championship and was named Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player, had three points in eight playoff games with Boston, including a goal in his Stanley Cup Final debut on June 9.
The only NCHC alumni to hoist the Stanley Cup in the conference’s short history are former Omaha forwards Jake Guenztel and Josh Archibald with Pittsburgh in 2016-17 and former North Dakota forward Shane Gersich with Washington last season.
Former Denver defenseman and NCHC alum Josiah Didier lifts the AHL's Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers.