Eyes on the Rockies
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
Colorado is home to CHN's first two Teams of the Week this college hockey season, but it's home to a much bigger sports story at the moment.
The Colorado Rockies and manager Clint Hurdle have had quite a run in Major League Baseball the last month, one of the most storied streaks in baseball history.
There's another guy in Denver, though, that has experience with that kind of thing. It's George Gwozdecky, head coach of Denver's hockey team. And like Hurdle, whose team was a 13-1 loser Wednesday in Game 1 of the World Series, Gwozdecky has also seen those runs come to abrupt ends.
But he's also experienced other epic streaks, which led to a pair of national championships. And after the last one, in 2005, Denver's hockey team was honored on the field at a Colorado Rockies game.
As a result, Gwozdecky and Hurdle became close. And so it's no wonder, given that, that Hurdle has turned to Gwozdecky at times during the baseball postseason.
Such as right before Game 1 of the National League Division Series, when lo and behold, Hurdle text messaged Gwozdecky from Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.
"I said, 'You've got a game in half an hour,'" Gwozdecky recalled. "And he's like, 'Awww, I've got nothing going on.'
"He's a guy you're so happy for. He's been under the gun here so much and no matter what happens he's always positive. He's as level-headed and positive as any person can be."
As a result, Gwozdecky, along with the rest of Colorado, has been following the Rockies' run intently.
"It's just so good to see, when good things happen to good people," Gwozdecky said of Hurdle, a Sports Illustrated cover boy when he career started in the late '70s. He's one of those famed stories of phenoms whose careers went bust — though he stuck around the majors a while as a backup.
"And the team is such a great inspirational story. They've done it against the odds, and in many areas of the country, they're still kind of unknown."
The only problem for Gwozdecky is that the games have been difficult to watch.
"If you watch this last series, they're winning on great pitching and just terrific defense," Gwozdecky said. "It's fun to watch. But it's highly stressful for me as a fan. And I don't know baseball, but I know just enough to be dangerous."
Colorado College coach Scott Owens has also been following it, though he's a bit more distanced down the road in Colorado Springs. He can't help, however, but to have caught Rockies fever.
"It's a big deal because they haven't been there this far ever," Owens said. "But equally because it's an unbelievable story. ... It's a great team concept."