DU third-string goalie Ogard is key con­trib­u­tor out­side the rink

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Chambers Mike Chambers: mcham­bers@den­ver­post.com or @mikecham­bers

It’s spring break at the Univer­sity of Den­ver, but the Pioneers are pre­par­ing like pro­fes­sion­als for their NCAA Tour­na­ment opener Satur­day in Cincin­nati against Michi­gan Tech. Help­ing the Pios get through the grind while their fel­low stu­dents are out en­joy­ing a break from school is goalie Greg Ogard, whose value to the pro­gram far ex­ceeds his on-ice con­tri­bu­tions.

The af­fa­ble and witty 25-year old third-string goalie is a reg­is­tered tu­tor at DU. He gets most of his busi­ness from his ap­pre­cia­tive team­mates.

“He makes the cul­ture of the team strong,” said se­nior de­fense­man and team cap­tain Will Butcher. “He’s lit­er­ally the def­i­ni­tion of what Pi­o­neer hockey is out­side the rink.”

A fi­nance ma­jor with a 3.96 grade-point av­er­age, Ogard is among five se­niors who have al­ready taken their last class at DU be­fore grad­u­at­ing in June. Six­teen of DU’s 21 non­fresh­men made the all-National Col­le­giate Hockey Con­fer­ence aca­demic team with GPAs above 3.0, in­clud­ing all nine se­niors. Pioneers coach Jim Mont­gomery said Ogard has much to do with his team’s out­stand­ing aca­demic suc­cess, in ad­di­tion to be­ing a self­less team­mate.

“His at­ti­tude and self­less­ness is in­cred­i­ble,” Mont­gomery said. “Not only is it nice to have some­one that bright and will­ing to help, but how well he does and how he or­ga­nizes him­self teaches our play­ers time man­age­ment and how to study prop­erly.”

In four sea­sons, the 6-foot-2 Ogard has seen ac­tion in just five games, for just 31 min­utes. He’s al­lowed one goal on 10 shots. Mont­gomery said he added Ogard to the travel party for DU’s fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son se­ries at Omaha “for just be­ing a great team­mate.”

“It’s just a mat­ter of putting forth the ef­fort,” Ogard said of be­ing able to bal­ance hockey and aca­demics. “Any­thing I can do to make sure my team­mates are study­ing, get­ting their home­work done and have an un­der­stand­ing of what’s go­ing on with the class is go­ing to lower the aca­demic stress so they’ll be ready to play. That’s a big part of what I can bring, be­cause I’m not play­ing. But I can help.”

Ogard was born in Green Way, Wis., and his fam­ily moved to the Chicago area at age 12. He played triple-A hockey for the Chicago Young Amer­i­cans and his high school be­fore play­ing two years of ju­nior-A af­ter grad­u­a­tion — which is why he’s older than his team­mates.

But Ogard al­ready has busi­ness acu­men. He had a paid in­tern­ship at Cit­i­group in Chicago last sum­mer and will start full-time with the com­pany in June.

“Merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions — val­u­a­tion of com­pa­nies and look­ing at data and eq­uity fi­nanc­ing if they need ad­di­tion cap­i­tal,” Ogard said of job. “It’s a two-year pro­gram and if I re­ally like it I might stay there, but I re­ally want to get back to Den­ver at some point and get into pri­vate eq­uity.”

Sopho­more wing Troy Terry and line­mate Hen­rik Borgstrom, a fresh­man cen­ter from Fin­land, are two of Ogard’s pupils.

“Hav­ing him tu­tor­ing me, big help,” said Borgstrom, who is in his first year in North Amer­ica. “The guy’s a ge­nius.”

Said Terry: “I’m ac­tu­ally try­ing to be a fi­nance ma­jor, so it works out bet­ter for me. He does ev­ery­thing for us, even on the ice. He’s al­ways tak­ing shots. Where he helps the most is aca­demics, and he’s so open to help any­one — whether it’s a sci­ence class that he’s not re­ally sure about, but he’ll learn it for you. Or he’ll help you with a class that he al­ready knows.”

Foot­note. DU will prac­tice at 9:30 a.m. Thurs­day at home be­fore char­ter­ing to Cincin­nati. The Mid­west Re­gional top-seeded Pioneers (29-7-4, No. 1 PairWise Rank­ing) will prac­tice at U.S. Bank Arena, home of the ECHL’s Cincin­nati Cy­clones, Fri­day af­ter­noon.

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