TAMPA, Fla. — Avalanche forward Logan O’Connor further etched his name in Colorado hockey history by becoming the 33rd player all-time to win an NCAA national championship and a Stanley Cup.
O’Connor, 25, helped the University of Denver win the 2017 NCAA title in Chicago and he hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Avs on Sunday after a 2-1 Final-clinching victory over Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena.
“It hasn’t sunk in,” O’Connor said of winning both titles within five years. “I don’t know when it will. It’s awesome just sharing this with friends, family, all the guys. It’s a dream come true for everyone.”
O’Connor is just the second former Pioneer to go on and win the Stanley Cup. John MacMillan captured NCAA titles with DU in 1958 and 1960 before winning the Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1962 and 1963. MacMillan is the uncle of current DU assistant coach Tavis MacMillan, whom O’Connor played for from 2015-17 at Denver.
O’Connor said the 2017 Pioneers and 2022 Avalanche have similar qualities.
“The same championship intangibles have to go into it within the team,” he said. “Honestly, right away when this playoff started I knew this team was something similar, I felt, with the DU guys. A swagger. A constant relentlessness to perform and execute at a high level.
“And honestly, good people throughout the organizations. That’s the biggest thing. DU had great people, we have great people here. You want to go to war a little harder when you have good people in your corner.”
O’Connor also won a national title in North America’s premier junior-A loop (20-under), the United States Hockey League. He helped the Sioux Falls Stampede with the 2015 Clark Cup.
O’Connor is the first former DU player to win the Stanley Cup since Tyler Bozak in 2019 with the St. Louis Blues. And O’Connor stretches the DU’s streak of having a former Pioneer win the Stanley Cup for the fourth consecutive time.
Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde, a DU assistant under George Gwozdecky from 2006-2011, won the Cup with Tampa Bay in 2020 and 2021.
Minutes after taking the postgame team photo on Sunday, O’Connor celebrated with the Cup from the ice with family and friends — many of the same folks who were with him in Chicago in 2017. The group included his father, Myles O’Connor, who had a nine-year professional career that included 43 NHL games.
“They deserve this as much as me, helping me get to this point,” Logan said of his family. “Every guy is the same way — having the village it takes everyone to this level. So it’s pretty cool.”
Source: Read Full Article