DU grad transfer Bo Hanson, from Boise, Idaho, is where he dreamed he’d be

In April while nearing the end of his junior year at St. Lawrence in Canton, N.Y., former Colorado midget triple-A hockey star Bo Hanson entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal. The University of Denver responded that same day, and his transformation into a 23-year-old Pioneers senior defenseman began.

Hanson, born in Boise, Idaho, is all about Colorado, with a long history of summer training in Monument with coaches of the triple-A Colorado Rampage, the organization that helped him reach junior hockey. So while Hanson had multiple offers from other teams in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference last spring, DU was the clear-cut choice.

“I knew I wanted to play in the NCHC. This is the best conference, by far, and Denver was always a dream school of mine to go to,” Hanson said from the NCHC pod in Omaha, Neb. “I’m super lucky and grateful to be here.”

Hanson doesn’t believe he would have become a Pioneer without his two biggest mentors — Rampage owner/coach Andrew Sherman and Rampage president/coach Pat Bingham, the latter of whom served as Hanson’s 16-under coach in 2013-14.

“I’ve trained in Monument for the past seven, eight summers, and Pat Bingham and Andrew Sherman are two of the main reasons why I come back. It’s a great program. I don’t have enough good things to say about them,” Hanson said. “I’ll talk to Pat when I’m going through troubles during the season or just want to catch up with him and stuff. I have a great relationship with him — a guy I feel like I can talk to about anything. He’s one of my biggest influences.”

Bingham, who dubbed Hanson “family,” recruited Hanson at age 15 in 2013 at a USA Hockey district camp in Salt Lake City. Hanson had played for teams in Washington, Arizona and Texas before that camp.

“He just struck me as a guy with a very high athletic ceiling and high potential,” Bingham said of his first thoughts of Hanson in Salt Lake. “You couple that with the fact that he’s a very conscientious worker. He wants to be great. He wants to be the best that he can be. So there’s never a day where you have to push him.

“The combination with his athleticism and competitive drive, those are the two things that really stood out to me. He’s always come back and he’s always made gains. Anything he accomplishes won’t surprise me.”

Hanson didn’t come from a hockey family. His father played college football. But once Hanson figured out how to skate in Boise, he fell in love with hockey and yearned to seek better competition.

So with the support of his parents, he traveled for triple-A tryouts and became a billet son to families who take on players for a fee in working with the local team. Hanson billeted in Muskegon, Mich., for three years while playing for the Lumberjacks of the United States (junior) Hockey League.

Throughout his hockey journey, Hanson always had an eye on Denver.

“It was a dream of mine to come play here,” said Hanson, who is working toward a master’s degree in organizational leadership. “I used to watch these guys, like 2004 winning the national title. It’s tough to put into words how grateful I am to be here. It’s something special. It’s another level (than St. Lawrence). The professionalism here, the organization — everything we do — is special. It’s a winning culture. It’s an eye-opener at first but it’s something I’m really happy to be a part of.”

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