The rumblings and rumors about Denver getting another professional sports team are true. The Denver Cutthroats of the Central Hockey League (CHL) broke ground in April 2012, bringing hockey to the Denver Coliseum for the first time in 13 years.
The Cutthroats will be led by head coach Derek Armstrong who enjoyed a 14-year career in hockey, splitting his time between NHL clubs (New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and St. Louis Blues) and their affiliates. Armstrong was named the American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup MVP in 2000 and the AHL's MVP and top scorer in 2001. Armstrong is no stranger to Denver; he was a member of the 1994-95 International Hockey League championship team, the Denver Grizzlies. The Grizzlies played only one season in Colorado, relocating to Utah when the Quebec Nordiques of the NHL became the Colorado Avalanche.
Shortly after announcing the formation of the team, Cutthroats General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations Brent Cullaton sent out word that the team would be holding open tryouts on August 10-12, 2012. It is to take place at The Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, CO, and is open to players aged 18 and older. The registration fee is a paltry $150, certainly worth the chance to play professional hockey. Yet, a CHL team like this could certainly go out and, without much trouble, sign players to contracts. So why are they having open tryouts?
"The state of Colorado’s produced some great hockey talent over the years," said Armstrong. "This is a chance to for us to reach out locally to find some of that talent as we build our team for the upcoming season." Cullaton has already backed up that proclamation by signing two players with ties to Colorado.
The first ever member of the Denver Cutthroats franchise is defenseman Aaron MacKenzie, a product of the University of Denver. He turned pro in 2003, signing with the St. Louis Blues, and later joined the Colorado Avalanche organization in 2008. He has spent the last three years playing in Europe and Asia. "I’m excited to be a part of things," said MacKenzie. "This is a brand new team and a new league for me. This is also a chance to return to the Denver area where I’ve had some great memories in my hockey career, and now I can add playing in the Denver Coliseum to that."
On June 21, 2012, the Cutthroats announced the signing of DU alum and Colorado Springs native Luke Fulghum. The 6-foot-0, 185-pound forward has eight seasons of pro hockey under his belt, scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace thus far in his career. Most recently, he was playing with the Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom. He recorded 276 points (141 goals, 135 assists) during his time with the EIHL.
The Cutthroats' season begins in October. Visit DenverCutthroats.com for more information on tickets and team news.