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Denver Mourns the Loss of Jim Wiste

Jan. 3, 2018

Pioneer alum (1965-1968), two-time All-American and 1968 National Champion Jim Wiste passed away at the age of 71 on Jan. 2, 2018. The Denver hockey community expresses its deepest condolences to the friends & family of Jim. His memorial service will be held on Jan. 11 at Magness Arena beginning at 5:15 p.m. 

Jim Wiste had a go-to joke anytime one of the regulars at his bar, the Campus Lounge, passed away.

“Very sorry to hear about the passing of so and so. How much was his bar tab?”

He always had an ability to crack up the room, be it in Campus Lounge or the Pioneers’ locker room where he helped lead Denver from 1965 to 1968, serving as captain for the 1968 National Championship team.

“He was a great guy with a good sense of humor,” teammate and longtime friend Cliff Koroll said. “He always put smiles on everybody’s face whether it was with jokes or stories.”

When Wiste arrived at Denver in 1965, the power forward from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan made an immediate impact. Wiste was a two-time All-American with 139 points in only 96 games, 29th all-time in the Denver record books.

“Wiste was not only one of the greatest Pioneers to ever wear the jersey, but also one of the most caring, loving and funny people you’ll ever meet,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “His love for DU and Denver hockey make him one of the best alumni to ever come through the program.”

Upon leaving Denver, Wiste was a two-time All-American and one of the first players to make the jump from college hockey to the NHL when he, alongside Pioneer alums Keith Magnuson and Koroll, joined the Chicago Blackhawks for the 1969-1970 season. The trio helped the Blackhawks from last place to first place in their first season. Wiste played 52 games in the NHL, 228 games in the WHA and more than 170 games across the CHL, AHL and the WHL. He created relationships with everyone along the way.


 

 

Wiste retired after the 1975-1976 season and later purchased Campus Lounge. He continued his relationship with the Denver hockey program, making a point to develop personal relationships with players and staff from every generation. His bar soon became the post-game meet-up spot for the Denver staff and a favorite for NHL staffs in town.

“I can’t say enough about how friendly and engaging he was with everybody,” former teammate and friend Don Mercier said. “It was such a tradition for anyone who came in the bar that he would greet them and tell a joke and make it real personable.”

Campus Lounge served as a medium for Wiste to continue to build and establish friendships. Cameron recalls being the first customer when Wiste opened the bar and still had no knowledge of how to draft a beer. Wiste quickly figured it out and operated a packed establishment for many years.

Cameron also recalls another side of Wiste that made him such a special person.

“I don’t know how many times I went with him to visit people that were having difficulties,” Cameron said. “He was very humanistic and not everybody was aware of that or didn’t get to experience it as much as I was fortunate to. He was a special, unique character”

As Wiste passes on, his legacy will remain with the program.

He’s more than paid his tab.

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