CHAPTER IX: Hockey
How did hockey get its great start in the state of Minnesota? Some say that it came as a result of the Prohibition Amendment and the contraband trade with Canada where the best of liquors were procurable. Well, so the legend goes, hockey is the national sport in Canada, and when the old-timers crossed the border for refreshments they caught onto the game of hockey and brought it back with them-together with the contraband.
But that is not all. Due to the wisdom and foresight of Northern Range mining towns, taxes collected on iron ore were spent on the improvement of schools and recreational facilities, among them indoor hockey rinks. That is why the kids on the Iron Range have been the best skaters in Minnesota.
Hockey did not get its start at St. John's by way of contraband, however. It came by the slow and hard way. There had always been skating on Lake Sagatagan and the ponds surrounding the college, whether they were artificial or natural, but it was Fr. Polycarp Hansen, O.S.B., who in 1910 made the first serious effort to organize a skating game to take advantage of the surrounding environment. Why the attempt to establish hockey was a failure no one seems to know, but it very likely was the lack of a device to clear the ice of snow and keep it in playing condition throughout the winter.
The next serious attempt to establish a hockey program was made in 1925 by Fr. Damian Baker, O.S.B., who never could understand why a young man would choose to spend his leisure time within doors instead of going out of doors and become engaged in a sport proper to the season of the year. There were plenty of skiers on campus but very few skaters. And that bothered him. Perhaps he was coming down with a mild case of cabin fever himself. At any rate, he was an organizer, and it was not long before he was able to see the first intramural program of hockey instituted on the St. John's campus.
The first games were played on Lake Sagatagan. The monastic bathing house was on the lake shore and could be used as a warming house. Scrapers were assembled in the carpenter shop. to clear away the snow, and goals were constructed of two-by-fours-only ankle high. Somebody once said that if there was no puck available, a weighted can of Copenhagen wrapped with friction tape was a likely substitute -another legend!
The hockey sticks were of two kinds: those bought from a sporting goods house, and those found in the woods. Both were as heavy as baseball bats. One hockey stick usually lasted two years. The hockey program enjoyed a precarious existence for the next few years, and colorful winter carnivals were held at the end of each season. Skating contests were arranged and the winners received awards.
A change in the program developed during the first four years. Groups of students gathered into independent teams, and around 1929 one of the groups played annual matches with the St. Cloud Lions. In 1932 another change took place, mainly through the enthusiasm and energy of Simon "Si" Ryan, a football player of astounding vitality who had played on the hockey team of West Minneapolis High School. He proposed that St. John's should put out a representative hockey team and play the other college teams of the state. His enthusiasm and drive were contagious and swept even Fr. Damian off his feet. Once more he was called upon to play a role in the establishment of hockey at St. John's.
At first Fr. Damian was asked to serve as referee of the scrimmages of the two or three teams on campus; then he was asked to assist in choosing the teams, and finally, at their request, he consented to be their coach.
The first hockey team was made up of Si Ryan as captain, William Freeman, Eugene McCarthy, Louis Lundemo, George Esterly, Jerome Cramer, Donald McHale, Jude Paquin (a Canadian), Allen Ross and Louis Niemeyer.
In the first game they defeated St. Cloud Normal School 4-1, then were defeated by St. Cloud Cathedral High School 0-3, and in a third game overcame St. Cloud Normal again by a score of 3-2.
It is evident that the administration was prepared to approve of a college hockey team because in December, 1932, it was announced that beginning with 1933 St. John's would enter a hockey team in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Fr. Damian assumed a sort of sponsorship of the hockey team, for, following the announcement that St. John's was entering a hockey team in the conference, he requested a budget for funds to purchase uniforms, gloves, shin guards and other accouterments proper to the playing of the game. The athletic department balked at his request for custom made sticks, however, as a bit too much since, so they said, the carpenter could make them just as good and as substantial.
- 1933 -
By the opening of the 1933 season the stage was set for the first conference competition. It was a good team made up of several veterans: Si Ryan (captain), Eugene McCarthy, Frank Hendrickson, John O'Malley, George Esterly, John Devney, Robert Kyle, Elmer Madsen, Carl Priley, and Milton Lydell. The team showed its inexperience in the execution of team tactics and lost all the six games scheduled: to St. Cloud Teachers 1-10, to Macalester 2-7, to St. Thomas 0-3, to Macalester 0-3, to St. Cloud 2-4, and St. Thomas 0-1.
- 1934 -
The 1934 edition of the hockey team proved to be superior to the version of 1933, mainly through the addition to the squad of the Maus brothers from St. Cloud, Eddie and Dick. Eddie went on to become one of the most prolific scorers in St. John's hockey history. The team assembled early and was blessed with ideal weather in which to practice a week and a half earlier than in the past year. For moral support the team had its first cheerleader in the person of Ferdinand "Chickie" Lehn. Midway in the season, after more experience in teamwork, the Johnnies proved themselves to be contenders for the title by an upset victory over previously unbeaten Macalester. But the loss by injury of star goalie Bill Dreher, plus a two-weeks' thaw, put a damper on all St. John's hopes on that score. The Johnnies slid to an overall record of 3-5 and a 2-2 conference standing before falling victim to St. Thomas in the last game of the season.
Members of the 1934 team were William Dreher, Si Ryan, Eugene McCarthy, John Devney, Frank Hendrickson, Milton Lydell, Leonard Werner, George Toman, Robert Kyle and Fred Thielman.
- 1935 -
Within three years of its inception, the St. John's puck chasers copped the MIAC hockey championship. The team, led by dynamic, hard-driving Eddie Maus, was well balanced and excelled in defense, thanks to Bill Dreher, by allowing opponents only three goals the entire season. Perhaps the proudest man associated with the team was Fr. Damian himself who had brought to the top of the conference Eugene McCarthy, Bill Dreher, Eddie Maus and others in a stretch of three consecutive years.
As a post-season treat the team was permitted to invade the Iron Range to play the Chisholm Maroons and the Duluth Red and White, both semi-pro teams. The Johnnies lost by scores of 1-9 and 3-7 respectively, a setback sharp enough to suppress any tendencies to superiority.
Dreher was the outstanding goalie of the conference and Eugene McCarthy the highest individual scorer on the St. John's team. The team record overall was six wins and four losses; the conference record four wins and no losses.
Members of the championship team were William Dreher, Eugene McCarthy, Leonard Werner, Duncan Campbell, Eddie Maus and Robert Kyle. Spares: Jerome Mulvehill, Francis Weber, Austin McCarthy, Gaylord Stenglein, Richard Maus, Elmer Madsen and Joseph Kelso.
- 1936 -
An important discovery of the 1936 season was the realization that not all the good hockey players had to come from the Twin Cities or the Iron Range. Four of the top-flight 1936 hockey players were from St. Cloud: Leonard Werner, Eddie Maus, Dick Maus, Willard Nierengarten and Robert Kyle.
The team naturally was looking forward to another championship season, despite the loss by graduation of Bill Dreher, but visions of continued glory were dashed away by a tie game with St. Thomas and a loss to Macalester respectively, 3-3 and 1-4. Following losses to St. Cloud and Alexandria, the Jays defeated Macalester 4-1 and St. Thomas 4-1. Much to their own surprise, they improved over the season by ending in second place in the conference with two wins, one tie, and one loss. The overall record was three wins, one tie, and three losses. Squad members were the following: Wally Johnson, Chuck Hinz, Lee Wagner, Eddie Maus, Leonard Werner (captain), James Alexander, Austin McCarthy, Willard Nierengarten, Loren May, Duncan Campbell, Ralph Miller, Robert Wolf, Bob Kyle, Sylvester Burke, Frank Richie, Robert Carney, DeWayne Wohlleb, Raphael Armstrong, Kenneth Cater.
- 1937 -
One thing was definitely missing when the Jays assembled for the 1936-37 hockey season, the presence of Fr. Damian, who resigned this year and was succeeded by a student-coach, James Alexander. Thus was inaugurated a new policy in the selection of coaches that was to persist for the next few decades.
1937 was a losing season, occasioned partly by the loss of team captain Austin McCarthy, Eugene's younger brother, who suffered the fracture of a collarbone in the first game of the season. 1937 was a six game season that ended with an overall record of only one victory and five losses. The conference record was one victory and three losses. The squad: Wallace Johnson, Chuck Hinz, Ralph Miller, Eddie Maus, Austin McCarthy, Willard Nierengarten, Loren May-the last a freshman who already showed promise of future stardom. Among the spares were Robert Kyle, Charles Pillsbury, Val Fandel and Donald Hollenhorst.
- 1938 -
Chuck Hinz was appointed student-coach of the hockey team for the 1938 season. Prospects looked bright to the new coach since several of the outstanding players of the previous year had returned. Among them, particularly, were Loren May, Ralph Miller and Austin McCarthy. Miller scored seven goals for the season. The team played well and appeared to be certain of the championship until the last two games when the ceiling fell in on them and they lost to St. Thomas by scores of 1-4 and 1-3.
The team roster: Wallace Johnson, Austin McCarthy, Willard Nierengarten, Loren May, Chuck Hinz, Ralph Miller, Albert Welte, Nick Stoffel, Al Sauerer, Val Fandel, John Kelly, Don Hollenhorst, Edward Oettiker, (now Rev.) Robert Knaeble.
- 1939 -
A new breath of enthusiasm broke out in 1939 when thirty-three candidates signed up for admission to the hockey team. Chuck Hinz was in his second year of coaching, with Ralph Miller of St. Cloud his captain. For a change there was a higher concentration of players from the northern parts of the state and the Iron Range. New men were Albert Welte and Don Norman from Crookston, Stanley Tregillis from the Iron Range and Bob Murphy from Duluth, a goalie of considerable merit. It was a borderline team that ended in third place in the conference with a record of one win, two ties, and two losses, and an overall record of one win, six losses, and two ties. High scorer for the season was Loren May with six goals, followed by Lloyd Perron with four, Stanley Tregillis four, and Al Welte five.
Team roster: Robert Murphy, Loren May, Ralph Miller, Chuck Hinz, Stanley Tregillis, Al Welte, Lloyd Perron, Nick Stoffel, Wallace Johnson, James Courtney, Fran Gerlach, Donald Norman, Al Sauerer, Donald Hollenhorst, Konald Premo
- 1940 -
For a change, a member of the coaching staff, Vernon McGree, was appointed coach for the 1940 season. In a ten-game schedule the Johnnies won three games, tied one and lost six. In the conference they won three games and lost four for a third place standing. Stanley Tregillis and Bob Murphy, both from the Iron Range, won all-conference honors. Top scorer for the season was James Courtney.
Roster: Nick Stoffel (captain), Stanley Tregillis, Robert Murphy, Lloyd Perron, James Courtney, Don Norman, Richard Hope, Edward Zins, Lawrence Hickner, Arthur Durch, Howard Isaac, Jerome Conkins.
- 1941 -
Coach Vernon McGree had a nucleus of eight lettermen on which to build his 1941 team: Captain Lloyd Perron, Richard Hope, James Courtney, Eddie Zins, Lawrence Hickner, Jerome Conkins, Don Norman, Art Durch and Frank Gerlach. It was a season that abounded in mishaps, injuries, the loss of Captain Perron to the military service in the Air Corps. Don Norman, on whom he depended for a team leader, suffered an injury that incapacitated him for the main part of the season. The team broke even in wins and losses-3-3 in the conference, 4-4 overall. Henry "Hank" Strobel was the find of the season and responsible for some of the best skating.
New men on the roster were Al Sauerer, Eugene Sebesta, Charles Tambornino, Konald Prem, Robert Murphy, Robert Piotrowski, Henry Strobel, William Freeman and Don Schnobrich.
- 1942 -
Coach Vernon McGree enlisted in the army in 1942 and was succeeded by Eugene McCarthy, now a teacher in the college. For a new coach, the hockey situation was not promising. The draft had decimated the college enrollment and Eugene had virtually a new team except for Henry Strobel and Don Norman-George Schmit, Albert Rowe, Vincent Plumbo (a freshman baseball player from Cretin), Robert Stevenson, Herbert Anderson and Robert Piotrowski. The hockey program underwent a period of crisis this year. In a game played on St. John's ice with St. Thomas a free-for-all brawl broke out over unnecessarily rough body checking-fisticuffs, skirmishes, and various other torts that were stopped only by the grace of cool heads, coaches and referees so that they could end normally. A public relations squabble ensued, however. Fr. Walter Reger, O.S.B., faculty representative in athletics, threatened to drop hockey as a varsity sport. Athletic Director George Durenberger, realizing that the game should not be relegated to a club activity, managed to patch things up.
All intercollegiate competition was suspended in the MIAC during the war years, 1943-46. Fr. Adelard Thuente, O.S.B., possibly the most popular faculty member during these years, got the hockey rink set up and scheduled a few games to show the few students still in college that SJU had at least some sort of athletic program. In the winter of 1945 they played two games with St. Cloud teams, and in 1946 made a sporadic attempt to keep hockey moving. On the schedule was a game with St. Thomas, lost 3-10. It was an unequal game, however, as St. Thomas still had a military contingent on campus and was permitted to field the cadets in conference play. In a game with Gustavus at St. John's, the Johnnies defeated the Gusties 4-2, but in the return game at Gustavus they lost by a score of 3-5. No championships were awarded in hockey in 1945 and 1946.
- 1947 -
Once the war was ended and the truce signed, demobilization took place rapidly. Returning veterans flooded the colleges and overburdened the teaching staffs in most colleges and universities of the country. Fr. Adelard gladly relinquished the hockey coaching reins to Don Norman, a competent coach who had graduated from St. John's in 1942 with three letters in hockey. Norman took over where Fr. Adelard had left off and developed an excellent team of some thirteen members that included Billy Sullivan, David Roske, James Medved, Vincent Plumbo, Lawrence McNeely, Fred Schultz, Captain Edward Zins, Le- Roy Steichen, Raymond Grundtner (now Fr. Grundtner), Bill Sumpmann, and Richard Louden. The team put together a seven-game winning streak, then won the St. Paul Winter Carnival championship by defeating Eveleth and St. Cloud in that order. In a trip to Crookston, Norman's home town, the Jays defeated a local semi-pro outfit, and from there moved up to Grand Forks, North Dakota, to engage a Grand Forks team of the States Dominican League. This trip was strongly objected to by Fr. Walter Reger, who had made an agreement with Abbot Alcuin Deutsch not to permit any St. John's teams to play outside the territorial limits of Minnesota. However, with gas at the astonishing cost of nineteen cents a gallon, and Hitler and the Emperor of Japan out of the way, Old George decided to splurge, even if it put his tenure at St. John's in jeopardy.
- 1948 -
It was around the year 1948 that Athletic Director George Durenberger was working within the conference for uniform rules governing the conduct of a standard hockey program-the selection of competent officials, the sweeping of the ice between periods, the standard length of rinks, the ratification of schedules before play commenced, the changing of goals, etc. Some of the officials were incompetent, only two colleges scraped the ice between periods, St. John's and St. Cloud. None of the rinks were alike in their dimensions. The St. John's rink was like Lake Superior, Macalester's like Lake George in St. Cloud. The Gustavus interior rink was egg-shaped, consequently any puck caroming off the side boards ended behind the goal net. In other words, George was determined to make hockey a major sport in every sense of the word, and on the whole he was successful.
Mickey (Lawrence) McNeely took over the hockey team replacing Don Norman, who had accepted the hockey coaching position at the University of North Dakota, incidentally taking with him the two Crookston stars, William (Billy) Sullivan and James Medved. The first handicap McNeely had to face was the loss of two stars. Consequently, the Jays lost the first five games they played by close scores. They bounced back, however, at this point and swamped Augsburg 9-1 for their first victory of the season. They dropped another game to Macalester 3-4, and went on to win the three remaining games on the schedule. In the St. Paul Winter Carnival St. John's topped Hamline in the opening round, only to lose to St. Cloud in the semi-finals by a score of 2-3.
The overall record of the 1948 season was five wins versus seven defeats, and in the conference four victories and four losses. High scorer of the season was Frank Macioch, who edged out Dave Roske by the narrowest of margin.
Members of the team were the following: Mickey McNeely, Arthur Arnold, Maurice Schille, Charles "Chuck" Forbes, William Sumpmann, Robert Ligday, Patrick Bresnahan, Fred Schultz, LeRoy Steichen, Patrick McHale, Merrill McKibben, David Roske, Roland Theis, and James Gleason.
- 1949 -
The 1949 hockey sextet was led by Coach McNeely, aided by team captain David Roske. Hopes were high for a good season as the Jays' young team blasted St. Cloud Teachers 4-0 and St. Thomas 6-3. The team passed the puck well and stars Lou Cotroneo, Don Sagissor and Dave Roske drove in the goals. But the early good fortune did not last. The tables were turned and the Jays lost their next five games. The team was thoroughly discouraged until Coach McNeely put Cotroneo in the net and a complete reversal of form took place. St. John's made a recovery in the St. Paul Winter Carnival, then defeated Carleton 2-0 and nosed out Augsburg 3-2. The rejuvenated St. Thomas entry defeated St. John's in the finals 1-3.
The overall season record was three wins versus six losses. In the conference the record was two wins versus seven losses. Squad members were Arthur Severson, Fred Schultz, LeRoy Steichen, Frank Macioch, Patrick Bresnahan, Jerome Schultz, Donald Sagissor, Lou Cotroneo, Joseph Cascalenda, Thomas Klein, Robert Ligday, George Moudry, Arthur King, George Schroeder and Patrick McHale.
- 1950 -
On the graduation of Coach McNeely, George Hickner, '41, who attended the University of Minnesota for graduate school work, returned to St. John's in 1960 for special courses in education and the coaching of the hockey team. Captain-elect of the hockey team was Frank Macioch, the fiery, rough-and-ready puck maneuverer of the time. Frank Macioch and Coach Hickner complemented each other admirably.
The first game of the season was a 4-4 tie with Macalester. The new goalie, Ted Joyce, was credited with 40 saves. The St. John's rinkmen continued to play well and by January 13 had defeated Hamline 3-1 and Gustavus 4-2 at Gustavus. Joyce continued to play a stellar game in the net. The Jays then defeated St. Thomas 5-4 and powerful Duluth 2 1.
The 1950 Johnnies finished their best season in years with an 8-2-1 record to win the championship, though they were forced to share the top spot in the conference with Macalester.
To add to the conference championship, the team won the St. Paul Winter Carnival title, the second time in four years. Highlights of the season were the phenomenal goal tending of Ted Joyce and the fine skating and shooting of Lou Cotroneo, Fred Schultz and Frank Macioch.
Credit for the good season was accorded to George Hickner for a superb job of coaching.
Team personnel: Pat Bresnahan, Dave Roske, Fred Schultz, Robert Ligday, John Martin, Donald Sagissor, Augie Donovan, Joseph Cascalenda, Lou Cotroneo, Theodore Joyce, Theodore Meysembourg, and Joseph Jwanouskos.
- 1951 -
Lloyd "Bud" Perron, on the completion of his nine-year term in the Air Force, returned to St. John's to complete his college studies. A former hockey, baseball and football player, he took over the coaching position in hockey, his favorite sport. Perron was confident of a good showing in the MIAC, for he had nine returning lettermen and a former Olympic star named Bob Boeser on his squad. Among his players he also had fireball Cotroneo as team captain, Frank Macioch, a hard driving skater and Ted Joyce, the most outstanding goalie since the days of Vincent Plumbo in 1942.
But the Jays had hard luck from the beginning of the season. "Jumping" Joe Cascalenda broke a leg, and Lou Cotroneo was out for several games with a severe ankle injury. Nevertheless they managed to finish third in the conference behind co-champions Macalester and St. Thomas. Highlight of the season was a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over St. Thomas. Bob Boeser was the high scorer with a total of 27 points for the season.
Team personnel: Lou Cotroneo (captain), Frank Macioch, Richard Donovan, Donald Sagissor, Theodore Joyce, Joe Cascalenda, Robert Boeser, Jerome Kline, Patrick Thompson, Charles Cammack, Glenn Kirsch, Charles Dowdle, Richard Hickner, James Lilly.
- 1952 -
Bob Boeser returned to St. John's in 1952 as coach of the hockey team. He was an exceptional figure in the St. John's hockey scene. A graduate of De La Salle High School in Minneapolis, he became an outstanding amateur skater and was selected by the Olympic Committee to represent the United States as a member of the 1948 Olympic team. After the Games, he traveled with amateur teams in England, France and Eastern European countries before settling down at the University of Minnesota, from which he transferred to St. John's in
Boeser's 1952 team was a hot and cold combination that failed to live up to its original promise, partly because of the graduation of Ted Joyce, goalie, and Richard Donovan, center, at the end of the first semester. The inconsistent Jays defeated strong Duluth twice by the large margins of 9-0 and 6-2, then lost to Macalester 4-6 and 4-7. Boeser was high scorer of the team with 20 goals and 13 assists for 32 points. The season record was six wins and three losses overall; three wins and three losses in the conference.
Team personnel: Playing-coach Robert Boeser, Captain Donald Sagissor, Joseph Cascalenda, Ted Meysembourg, Philip Hartman, William Halmbeck, Roger Vanelli, Lou Cotroneo, Glenn Kirsch, Richard Donovan, Don Sagissor, Frank Albers, Ted Joyce, Paul Sokup, Richard Gravelle, James Lilly.
- 1953 -
With only four lettermen to work with, including himself, Ted Meysembourg, Boeser's successor, found the hockey outlook very bleak, so bleak that rumors were floating about that St. John's was dropping hockey as a varsity sport. When it was finally settled that a conference team would be fielded as usual, Coach Meysembourg took firm hold of the situation. The four veterans were enthusiastic and between them got together a relatively talented squad that went through the season with a record of two wins and nine losses. John Beaudry, a freshman from Duluth, proved to be the find of the year as he went through the season with 20 goals and 13 assists for a total of 33 points.
In midseason the team lost Co-captain Glenn Kirsch to the draft for the Korean War. It was the final step that broke down the already precarious defense. But the 1953 team still remained a better team than Gustavus that lost two games to the Jays by scores of 12-0 and 7-2. Team personnel: Player-coach Ted Meysem bourg, co-captains Charles Cammack and Glenn Kirsch, John Beaudry, James Pascoe (total points 15), Richard Marchek, Frank Albers, Mike Ruddy, Robert Larson, Kenneth Galatowitsch, Paul Sokup, and Phil Wartman.
- 1954 -
In his second year as coach, Ted Meysembourg and his captain, Charles Cammack, got together a team that finished the season with an overall record of four wins and seven losses. The conference record was two wins and seven losses for a fourth place finish.
The 1954 team was far from being a representative team, winning wise, but it was a plucky outfit that played up to its full capacity.
Coach Meysembourg developed two top-flight performers, Robert Larson and Mike Ruddy, whose playing gave a touch of distinction to a team that was otherwise unspectacular. Dennis Stedman, Clem Commers, John "Jake" Rydell and goalie Chuck Cullen were to star in the following years.
Members of the 1954 squad: Playing-coach Ted Meysembourg, Captain Charles Cammack, Dennis Stedman, Paul Kunert, Clem Commers, Edward Regan, John "Jake" Rydel, Dick Marchek, Wayne Kotaska, Patrick Mingo, Kenneth Christian, Robert Larson, Michael Ruddy, Frank Albers, Paul Sokup, Charles Cullen.
- 1955 -
The athletic director was aware that the solution to the hockey problem was the appointment of a member of the coaching staff who could give continuity. It was in his second year at St. John's that the brilliant football coach John Gagliardi was appointed coach of the hockey team. By his own admission he was aware that his qualifications for the post were limited. When asked why he had been chosen to coach hockey, he replied, "I had an uncle in Chicago who once went to a Black Hawks' game."
Yet what "Gag" lacked in knowledge of hockey fundamentals he more than made up for in a determination "to put the darn thing together." He was a good observer and quickly noted the need of a leader. "The team had the horses but not the leader," so he promptly nominated himself for that role. One other blessing he had, namely, the presence on the squad of only one senior. "The majority of the squad being sophomores and freshmen, they did not notice my ignorance of the game when by a slip of the tongue I called the rink a 'court' and a penalty a 'foul,' " he explained.
The 1955 Jays were able to win fourth place in the conference, and also a victory over the powerful Duluth Branch Bulldogs. The story is worth the telling, as recorded in the Record February 4, 1955, p. 3: "Up until the end of the first semester the Jay pucksters had been able to win but one game, and that one over Carleton, 8-1. The other games are but bitter memories: losses to UMD 2-9 and St. Thomas 1-6. That made the record 0-3 on the league and 1-5 for the season. "But then, John Gagliardi's fighting sextet moved into the Duluth Curling Club with only the idea of keeping the score respectable. When the score read 2-0 in the Johnnies' favor at the end of the first period, the Duluth fans chuckled mildly to themselves. In the second session the Jays kept dogging the Bulldogs' forwards, back checking relentlessly and moved to an unbelievable lead of 5-1.
"We escaped with a 5-4 win, but that one win gave the Jays a real morale boost. The players became more confident in themselves, but still lost none of their fighting play and went on to beat Macalester 2-1and Hamline 4-3."
The 1956 season started where the 1955 ended. The Jays had one of their finest finishes with an overall record of twelve wins, four losses and one tie. The conference record was eight wins versus four losses, second only to Duluth, the conference champion. John Gagliardi continued to give evidence of his ability to master the fundamentals of a sport hitherto unknown to him, and then spark his team to the peak of their abilities. Undoubted star of the year was Byron Johnson from St. Cloud Cathedral who had 14 goals and 11 assists. He was closely followed by Leonard Kohler with 12 goals, 11 assists and a total of 23 points. To single out these two stars is to do an injustice to a team made up of a supporting cast of Jack Quesnell, John Rydel, Chuck Cullen and Mark Lohmann. Chuck Froehle, football star, won first place in penalties with eight and sixteen minutes in the penalty box.
Team roster: Byron Johnson, Charles Cullen, Leonard Kohler, John Rydel, Jack Quesnell, Edward Regan, Charles Froehle, Clem Commers, Cornelius Loiselle, Charles Dubore, Patrick Mingo, Patrick Moran, James Higgens, Paul Kinnert, Mark Lohmann.
In 1957 the hockey rink was moved to a spot parallel to the north side of the gymnasium in order to have the shadow of the gymnasium shield the ice from the rays of the sun. The team had better luck with ice, therefore, in 1957, and used the hard surface in negotiating several good games that would have been failures in times past. It was an "unusual year," however, as the Sagatagan expressed it, a so-so year, and somewhat of a let-down from the high spirited 1956. Duluth, with its Canadian recruits, could not be denied for two games. The Tommies also dropped the Jays by two games, 6-2 and 3-2. The season record was eight wins versus seven losses, and a conference record of six games won and six lost. The team finished in fourth place.
The find of 1957 was Al Goulet, a freshman star from St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, who overshadowed the 1956 high-point man Byron Johnson with a total number of points (34): fourteen goals and twenty assists. Goulet broke the total number of points rolled up by Bob Boeser in 1952, though Boeser's record of twenty goals remained intact. Other top-flight performers were John "Jack" Quesnell with 27 points, Chick Cullen, the goalie, Phabe (Philibert) Wartman, Leonard Kohler, Clem Commers, Chuck Froehle, and Captain "Jake" Rydel.
Other team members not mentioned above were Bernie McInerny, John Fournelle, Fran Rapley, Gary Pendy, Frank Moran, John Kelly, Leonard Kohler, Tom Campbell.
- 1958 -
In a December 1957-58 preview of the coming hockey season, Coach Gagliardi admitted in his kidding manner that he would have a good team: "I've got a group of fellows back this season. Boom Kohler promised me no more fights. Quesnell hasn't got Froehle around to help him when he gets into trouble, so he'll calm down. And By Johnson says he's coming to practice this year. What more could a coach ask? (Record, December 6, 1957). .
Actually, John had the one-two scoring combination of Al Goulet and Jack Quesnell of 1957. All in all, he had a strong, hustling gang that could body check with anything in the conference. The Catholic high schools in the state in recent years had been sending star hockey players to St. John's-Bob Boeser of De La Salle, Al Goulet of St. Thomas Academy, Mike Murphy, Patrick Moran and others from Cretin.
Yet there were problems: George Durenberger, athletic director, protested against schedules that were too long, both from the financial angle and the academic. Duluth had built up a juggernaut that dominated the conference and was injuring it by the importation of hockey players from Canada who filled in weak spots in their line-ups. John Gagliardi was happy, nevertheless, with his third place in the conference with six wins and four losses, and an overall record of nine wins and four losses.
1958 roster: Leonard Kohler, John Kelly, Patrick Moran, Jack Quesnell, Mike Murphy, Francis Rapley, Bernie McInerny, Gary Pendy, Al Goulet, Don Charpentier, Thomas Campbell, Joseph Reid, William Cassette, Charles Schwartz, John Fournelle, Phil "Phabe" Wartman.
- 1959 -
The 1959 hockey season opened with Jack Quesnell the only senior holdover from the 1958 team. But Jack was a great competitor. Though he weighed only 140 pounds, he played with an abandon and know-how that netted him 21 goals for the season, the record at that time. It was Jack's last year and he left with the respect of the entire student body as one of the outstanding personalities in St. John's athletic history.
It was also John Gagliardi's last year as coach of hockey. They had been five good years. When he first took over coaching the game, it was mainly as a stay-busy chore over the winter. But it had become a major occupation. Collegiate football had become more and more complex, however. The city schools were extending their counseling programs, which meant that for the coaching tribe the work of counseling prospective students, talking to parents, and conducting athletes over the campus had been building up until he could no longer carry the two jobs without neglecting one or the other. Fr. Fintan Bromenshenkel, O.S.B., now entered to take over the hockey coaching position.
Team roster: Jack Quesnell, John Fournelle, Peter Gareri, Joseph Reid, Anthony Nagurski, Thomas Campbell, Stephen Tell, Michael Murphy, Gary Pendy, Charles Schwartz, Robert Pilney, Bernard Mc- Inerny, Frank Rapley, Robert Christensen.
- 1960 -
Fr. Fintan Bromenshenkel made an auspicious start in his coaching career by winning the first six games on the schedule. The team looked very promising with fourteen lettermen and several promising freshmen to support the veterans. Especially well qualified were freshmen from the northern part of the state, the good hockey country: James Humeniuk and Terry Noble from Baudette, Harold Froehle from Thief River Falls. Leading scorers for the season were Peter Gareri from the Iron Range with 20 points, Thomas Campbell and Gary Pendy with 19. Star at the net was goalie John Brandt.
The overall record for the season was eleven victories and five losses. In the conference the Jays won five games with three losses, all three to the top conference teams.
The team roster: Peter Gareri, Thomas Campbell, John Fournelle, Francis Rapley, Gary Pendy, Richard Hanson, Michael Murphy, Charles Schwartz, James Humeniuk, Harold Froehle, Robert Christensen, Terry Noble, Anthony Nagurski, Gary Noble, James McCoy, and John Brandt.
- 1961 -
Although Fr. Fintan Bromenshenkel lost five veteran mainstays from the 1960 team, the Jays posted a season record of nine victories and six losses. In the conference they took fourth place with five wins and three losses, the three losses being to league-leading Duluth, Macalester and St. Thomas. The team was tied with St. Thomas for third place prior to the final game of the season. They lost to St. Thomas, however, 2-11, and ended in fourth place behind Duluth, Macalester and St. Thomas, in that order One of the highlights of the season was Terry Noble's record winning score of 24 goals, Peter Gareri with fifteen. 1961 was the last year of Mike Murphy, a star athlete who had played on the Cretin High School team that defeated state champion International Falls, Mike Childs, and Steve Tell, a hardy body checker who had played in high school under Kenneth Yackel, coach of the Edina hockey team.
Team roster: John Gramer, Jim Kearney, George Floria, Thomas Flaig, James Fellman, Steve Tell, Mike Childs, Peter Gareri, Bob Christensen, Michael Murphy, Tony Nagurski, Harold Froehle, Terry Noble, Bob Hollenhorst, Larry Blaylock, Timothy Sullivan, John Boyd.
- 1962 -
The hockey season of 1962 might be called "Fr. Fintan's Disaster Year." The 1962 team was plagued throughout the season with injuries that left the team never at full strength in any game. Peter Gareri, team captain and high scorer, was out of play for eight games, and Bob Christensen broke an ankle early in the fall and was never able to play up to his full capacity. The season started with only seven lettermen a situation that demanded the use of freshmen in order to keep the team on the ice. Inexperience and injuries were the main reason why the Jays posted a year's overall record of three wins and fifteen losses in an 18-game schedule. The conference record was two wins and four losses.
Team members: Thomas Flaig, Anthony Nagurski, Peter Gareri, John Kearney, Daniel Haider, James Kileen, Patrick Roche, Jerry Welter, Robert Hollenhorst, James Glowack, Robert Christensen, John Goulet, Richard Stuart, Dan Commers, Harry Froehle, John Moore, Timothy Sullivan, Larry Blaylock.
- 1963 -
In 1962 the hockey rink was moved to a site north of St. Thomas Hall and south of the old barn. There was little protection from the north wind there, and the athletic department found itself in an embarrassing situation as the December north winds blew over the chill surface of the frozen Watab. It was a time when, following Fr. Fintan's resignation, there was no goalie, no coach, and only seven returning lettermen. It was at this point that Captain Snead of the military science department took over the hockey coaching position.
Captain Snead had all the requirements for the position-four years of hockey at Delafield Military Academy, Wisconsin, one year of intramural hockey at the University of Wisconsin, and four years of hockey at West Point, from which he graduated in 1953.
The pre-hockey training was basic military stuff, two miles of running without a stop, isometric exercises, etc. They also played a little field hockey before the lake and the ponds froze over.
The squad was still young, with only one senior, three juniors, and the remainder mainly freshmen. Captain Snead worried lest the freshmen be declared ineligible for varsity sports, but they were declared ineligible only for the major sports, football, basketball and baseball; so, with the freshmen to depend upon, the coach estimated that they would win half their games. Actually they won six games and lost ten for their overall performance. In the conference they won four games and lost ten. They found an excellent goalie toward the end of the season in James Belisle, a freshman. Rich Froehle won the all-conference award and Marty Igo honorable mention.
Squad members were: Rich Froehle, Wally Blaylock, John Kearney, James Belisle, Patrick Roche, Mike Hollenhorst, Marty Igo, Patrick Cruikshank, James Kileen, Thomas Diffley, John Sipe, William Sullivan, Arthur Grady, Thomas Hayes, Robert Hollenhorst, James Kearney, John Moore, Joseph Palen.
- 1964 -
The 1964 hockey season was one of those abbreviated periods when unseasonably warm weather makes an outdoor hockey rink un playable. Under these adverse conditions St. John's played only ten games, with a season record of three wins and six losses, one tie. In conference play they posted a record of one tied game and four losses. It was a dismal year for the ambitious, enterprising Captain Snead, only lately promoted to major.
Lettermen for the season were Thomas Bauer, James Belisle, Walter Blaylock, Patrick Cruikshank, Richard Froehle, John Goulet, Arthur Grady, Patrick Hare, Thomas Hayes, Michael Hollenhorst, Martin Igo, Patrick Jacobs, James Kearney, John Moore, Joseph Palen, Patrick Roche, Thomas Younghans.
The year 1965 was one of those numbered as memorable when the Jays made themselves famous-or was it notorious? -not by winning the championship, but by their heroics, according to the viewpoint of the spectator. The league leading Winona Canadiens (alias of St. Mary's) had already cinched the championship.
The Jays were struggling along as usual but full of life and vigor when the rumor began floating around that this was St. John's last year in hockey-for two reasons: first because college hockey was impossible without an indoor rink, second because the game was too expensive.
Within a few hours after hearing about the rumor, Eddie Maus, '37, an all-time hockey star of the past, stirred into existence a Twin Cities Hockey Alumni Club whose only end and purpose for existence was to stage a whopping demonstration of Johnny loyalty in the Augsburg game to be played February 19 in the Aldrich Arena, Minneapolis. Two thousand tickets were sold at fifty cents a ticket, and two thousand fans were at the arena to cheer on the Fighting Jays.
The Johnnies won the game 6-5 in an overtime, but not before the fans witnessed an amazing plethora of penalties-two holding penalties, three elbowings, three interferences, one high sticking, one pushing, two miscellaneous, and one cross check. The whole thing was capped by a full arched blood-letting stick swipe by goalie Tom Bauer. But more important than beating Augsburg and surviving the all-outbruhaha- winner-take-all brawl, was the fact that the Jays continued the season by clobbering Concordia 7-1, Gustavus 11-1, and Hamline 4-0. They won seven of the last nine games on the schedule for second place in the conference. In the meantime, the St. John's Record received for printing four letters from Eddie Maus, George Toman, Chuck Hinz, and Lorry May lauding the merits of hockey and the virtues of its participants. 1965 was Coach Snead's last year at the helm of hockey at St. John's-his last and most dramatic exposure to St. John's loyalty.
Team members were Wally Blaylock, Rich Froehle, Tommy Bauer, Tom Younghans, Mike Musty, James Trachsel, Terry Hartman, Thomas Hayes, Mike Pomroy, Paul Jung, Steve Hartman, James Borgestad, Gerald Grochowski.
- 1966 -
The 1966 hockey situation called for a new coach to succeed Major Snead who was transferred to another post. By chance, a big, easygoing French Canadian from near Quebec was on hand who was more than willing to take over the hockey program. Weighing slightly less than a football tackle and a bit more than a fullback, he was a goalie and just the thing that the athletic director was looking for. But not necessarily the registrar and Fr. Donald LeMay, O.S.B., the director of admissions! Fr. Donald asked himself, "Can I admit him? Can I make an exception in his case?"
Fr. Donald became a pawn in the admissions game, and a deluge of letters flowed in from the four corners of hockeydom to help him make up his mind. One was from Fred Shero, later coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, another from Walter Busch, president of the Minnesota North Stars. So Gaston Rheaume was accepted and signed up for hockey, French Grammar and Physical Education.
Gaston made himself the goalie of the team. When he stood in front of the net he looked like an armored medieval knight guarding the castle gate. He said of himself, "Wherever hockey is, I am. My ambition is to get an excellent hockey program going at St. John's." And, in truth, he did.
The team had a slow start, but once on the winning trail St. John's managed to work out an overall record of nine victories and eight losses, a conference record of six wins and seven losses. The Jays dropped two games to St. Thomas and St. Mary's, alias the Winona Canucks. Highlight of the season was the splitting of a double-header with the University of Wisconsin whose coach hoped to brighten his season record by two slop victories over a small college or university. He was stunned to speechlessness when he dropped a game to St. John's.
Perhaps the best group of senior hockey players left St. John's following their graduation in June, 1966: Jim Trachsel (all-conference and most valuable player), Wally Blaylock (captain), Tom Younghans, Thomas Hayes, Terry Hartman, Joe Palen, Martin Igo, James Belisle, Mike Pomroy. Other members of the team were Jim Borgestad, Steve Hartman, Paul Jung, John McCarthy, Mike Musty, Bob Froehle, Matt Lynch, Gerry Grochowski, James Michaud.
- 1967 -
The 1967 hockey season commenced with grave misgivings that the team would not do better than seventh place in the conference. The loss of the nine seniors from the previous year left only juniors as ranking leaders of the squad. Besides, with Gaston Rheaume running out of French classes and physical education courses, the prospects for his academic future looked dim. But by January 23, 1967, eight games later, St. John's was leading the league. Six of the first seven games were won by scores of 3-2.
In the first game of the season St. John's won over the Tommies in their own back yard, the Aldrich Arena, and repeated the victory the next night at St. John's, also under the lights. The remainder of the season was a replica of the first game-St. John's completed the season with a record of twelve wins, five losses and one tie for second place in the conference.
Highlight of the 1967 season was the much appreciated invitation to take part in the First Minnesota Small College Hockey Tournament, together with Gustavus, Bemidji and St. Mary's. To their own astonishment the Jays won all their games except the last one, namely, the finals against Bemidji. The Jays held Bemidji scoreless until the third period when the smooth skating Canadian-loaded Bemidji team pushed over the winning scores. Mike Musty, "the Human Bowling Ball on Skates," won the all-tournament award for his aggressive game, and Gaston Rheaume the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award, as well as the all-conference honors.
Credit for the good season was unanimously given to Gaston, both for his sterling play as goalie and his coaching. "Confidence," said Co-captain Gerald Grochowski, "is the only word to describe him. Confidence in us and our confidence in his coaching are what kept us going through the whole season."
- 1968 -
Gaston Rheaume's 1968 team entered the conference race bolstered by the prediction of the sportswriters that they would win the MIAC championship. The Jays started out well with a 4-1 win over Wisconsin State, then lost seven of the next eight games with a regularity that was morale breaking. At this point the steady encouragement of Co-captain Gerry Grochowski and the confidence of the older members of the team began to payoff. The Jays won six of the following eleven games, plus one tie, to end the season with a conference record of three wins, nine losses, and two ties. The overall record was seven wins, eleven losses, and two ties.
The reason why the team fell so completely apart was partly an unusual number of injuries that kept the trainer Phil Kostelnik busy taping Gaston's ankle, Mike Musty's knee, massaging Tom Haeg's back, and bandaging Jim Borgestad's lacerations. But relief and happiness came with two wins in the last games of the season over Ohio State 6-4 and Ohio University 6-3. They were prestige victories, for both of the Ohio universities were on their way upward in "big-time" hockey. SJU lost to Notre Dame 3-6 in a game played at Duluth.
The 1968 team was one of the most traveled during Rheaume's career at St. John's-more or less Gaston's benchmark of what was about right in the scheduling of a St. John's hockey team.
Members of the squad were the following: Freshmen: Lyman Brink, Tom Carlsen, Tom Colaizy, Dennis Maruska, Nicholas Miller, Patrick Reak. Sophomores: Thomas Haeg, Myron Henrickson, Bill Laliberte, James McDonnell, Bill Trachsel. Juniors: Gerald Grochowski, Mike Laliberte, James Michaud, Gaston Rheaume. Seniors: James Borgestad, Steve Hartman, Paul Jung, Jack McCarthy, Mike Musty, Dave Thein.
- 1969 -
Coach Gaston Rheaume started the 1969 hockey season with Gerald Grochowski as his assistant coach, and three players-Grochowski, Bill Laliberte, and Myron Henrickson-as co-captains. Prospects for a good season looked fair with eight lettermen back. But the fortunes of battle turned against the Jays with postponements due to bad weather, streaks of bad luck in the games and injuries. The season ended with a record of six wins and ten losses in a sixteen-game schedule.
The 1969 team was not a high scoring aggregation. Scoring leader was Tom Colaizy with 24 points, Myron Henrickson with 22, Ronald Nagurski 18, Thomas Carlsen 18, Bill Laliberte 16, Mike Rizzi 12, John Baratto and Tom Haeg 10, Gerry Grochowski 7, James McDonnell 7, Patrick Mahoney 6, Tom Cook 4, Ken Charpentier 4, Phil Wetzel 2, Patrick Reak 1. The remaining members of the team were the star goalies Patrick Kernan and James Michaud.
Highlights of the season were two out-of-state trips: to Indiana to play Notre Dame at South Bend, and to sunny Colorado Springs to play the Air Force team. St. John's lost to Notre Dame 4-5 and 1-6. The two games with the Air Force were also losses, 1-6 and 6-8.
- 1970 -
An air of enthusiasm marked the beginning of the 1970 hockey season. The three co-captains, William Laliberte, Tom Colaizy, and Myron Henrickson, in a condition training program, led the young aspirants up-hill-down-dale and through weight-lifting exercises, getting the team ready for the freeze-up. They even prayed for cold weather, but in vain. The weather insisted on being good.
Coach Rheaume was left practically entirely with underclassmen for scoring since graduation had cleared out the four scoring seniors of 1969. But, as it turned out, what the team needed most was a solid defense. The overall record was six wins and thirteen losses; the conference record was two wins and thirteen losses.
Team roster: David Blaylock, Timothy Broback, Ronald Brown, Don Carlini, Tom Colaizy, Tom Cook, Paul Fontaine, John Gilmore, David and Tom Haeg, Myron Henrickson, Charles Hippe, Bill Laliberte, James McDonnell, Jeffrey Milbert, Michael Rizzi, Phil Wetzel, William Russ.
- 1971 -
The 1971 Johnnies improved slightly over their poor showing in 1970 by winning nine games versus thirteen losses overall, and four conference victories versus eight losses. But again, as in 1970, the late approach of winter and the occasional thaws during the winter deprived the team of practice time, either for defense or a strong, aggressive offensive type of play. The fact that the Jays suffered four shutouts over the season proves conclusively that the 1971 Johnnies were not a high scoring team. What is surprising, however, is that Timothy Broback received all-conference honors despite the weak St. John's attack.
It must be added that the student attitude during the season was indifferent, an attitude shared by the editors of the Record, who failed to report the final outcome of the season in terms of conference standings. It was a low finish, for Gustavus was champion, followed by St. Mary's, Concordia, Augsburg, and Hamline in that order. .
The team: Timothy Broback, Charles Belland, David Blaylock, Ronald Brown, Don Carlini, Thomas Carlsen, Todd Clark, Tom Colaizy, Barry Dixon, Paul Fontaine, Charles Hippe, David Igo, Patrick Kernan, Jeffrey Milbert, Daniel Moudry, James Petry, Mark Polles, Leonard Przybylski, Michael Rizzi, William Russ, David Van De Velde, Michael Roche.
- 1972 -
In the preview for the 1972 hockey season the Record writer reported that the prospects for the future were bleak, black and ominous for the future. No other report was published. The team, it reported, was lacking in quality hockey players from among the upperclassmen and was made up mainly of sophomores and freshmen. Coach Gaston Rheaume announced, however, that he was scheduling a large number of games in order to provide the opportunity for the younger players to gain experience. He also appointed Patrick Kernan, his goalie, to be his assistant, and Leonard Przybylski and Jeffrey Milbert co-captains. As an added attraction he promised six cheerleaders to liven up the spectators.
The attempt to improve the situation failed to improve the team, for the Sagatagan reports the season results as follows: overall, two wins and sixteen losses; conference, two wins and eleven losses. The only cheerful report to make of the 1972 season was that Patrick Kernan, goalie, was awarded all-conference honors for his work.
- 1973 -
Rarely has a hockey season begun with higher hopes than did the 1972-73 entry. "Come one, come all and see the all-new St. John's hockey team-new players, new plays, new equipment, and a new coach." And tri-captain Mark Polles crowed, "Last year we were a pushover, but this season. . . we're going to surprise a lot of people!" (Record, November 17, 1962).
John Ludwig, a teacher at Apollo High School in St. Cloud, replaced Gaston Rheaume, who had little or no success in his last two years at St. John's. But it was not long before the good spirits of the new Johnnies took a nose dive and the season ended with an overall record of five wins and seventeen defeats and a conference record of two wins and eleven losses.
Reasons for the poor showing of the team were never defined, but, regardless of what the real reasons for the decline may have been, the most obvious was the limitation of practice to one hour a day, from six until seven o'clock in the morning at the new St. Cloud indoor ice arena. It was an unwise arrangement at best. Then began the mutual recriminations. The players complained of the coach, the coach complained of the players. The only commendable records of the season were sixteen goals and four assists by Dave Van De Velde and the five goals and ten assists of freshman Stacy Christensen. Highlight of the season was the 22-14 defeat of Gustavus Adolphus in the last game of the season.
The team roster: Charles Belland, Douglas Beutel, P. Matthew Brenk, James Carlson, James Carr, Stacy Christensen, Antonio Deguisippi, Jerry and Rich Fredella, David Haeg, Richard Harren, Peter Hill, David Van De Velde, John Laudon, John Lucachick, Daniel Moudry, Mark Polles, Leonard Przybylski, Michael Roche, James Rothstein, Richard Sitt, Daniel Sherlock, Timothy Schoenberg.
The wounds of the past year had not been healed over when 1973- 74 rolled around. Nevertheless, the preview for 1974 was forward looking and filled with hopes for a new dawn. "Any team that will practice when it is still dark outside has to have something going for it," wrote a sportswriter (Record, November 16, 1973). Coach Ludwig was greeted by a thin group of twenty-eight hockey players that included three very promising freshmen from Minnetonka: Allen "Buzz" Albee, Tom Stovern and Timothy McHale, all three of whom he placed immediately on the varsity team.
But 1973-74 turned out to be another disaster year with a record of six wins, thirteen losses, and a tie. The record approximates that of the previous year, but it also included two losses of 21-0 to Gustavus and 16-1 to Concordia. It was, in fact, a season of dissension that is best passed over with a minimum of comment. The players were rebellious and some refused to follow orders given during the games.
Coach Ludwig resigned, thoroughly disillusioned by the experience, saying that he had met the players half way but that they on their part had refused to reciprocate. "Ultimately," the Record commentator wrote, "the success or failure of the hockey program will depend, not on a part-time versus a full-time coach or the presence or absence of artificial ice, but on the players themselves" (Record, March 22, 1974).
Team roster: Charles Belland, Stacy Christensen, James Carr, James Anderson, David Igo, Timothy Krueger, Allen Albee, Thomas Stovern, Timothy McHale, Thomas Kozlak, George Noesen, Michael McCarthy, Gordon and Leonard Przybylski, Dave Van De Velde, James Rothstein, Timothy Schoenberg.
- 1975 -
The appointment of David Igo, a 1974 graduate, as head coach of hockey on a full-time basis, brought about a sudden shift in St. John's fortunes. Probably at the insistence of Dave Igo himself, a new arrangement was made with the St. Cloud Municipal Ice Arena for a three o'clock afternoon practice hour to supplant the utterly ridiculous six-to-seven a.m. hour of the past two years.
David Igo was a hard working coach with definite leadership qualities that enabled him to gain the confidence of the young St. John's skaters. The team had the good fortune to have four young freshmen, Rick Larson, Andy Overman, Kenneth Potts and Joseph McGough to supplement the three 1973-74 prizes, Buzz Albee, Tom Stovern and Timothy McHale.
After a first game loss to River Falls State 3-5, the new Johnnies won the next five games that included double-header wins against Hamline and St. Mary's. The season overall record was ten wins versus fourteen losses, and a conference record of eight wins and eight losses for a fifth place finish in the MIAC, the best record in five dreary years. According to the Sagatagan, the success of the 1975 hockey team was due primarily to Dave Igo's leadership and solid coaching, plus the brilliant skating of Stacy Christensen and Rick Larson. Stacy garnered 46 points for first place among the skaters; Rick Larson took second place with 42 points. Other scorers were Andy Overman, Ken Potts, Joseph McGough, Allen "Buzz" Albee, and James Rothstein.
- 1976 -
There is little to write about the 1976 hockey season for the reason that the Record failed to give the team names and scores of half the games scheduled. In addition, the Sagatagan, that generally supplied information not found in the Record, was not published in 1976. But Stacy Christensen was still on the hockey team and supplied whatever the season lacked in interest.
Stacy Christensen had an interesting career at St. John's. When John Ludwig complained to the team that they were not playing good hockey, Stacy, a product of West High in Minneapolis, explained that they could not get much done in an hour of practice-that in his high school they practiced as much as three hours at a time. In 1976, as captain of the team, he accumulated a season total of 48 points, garnered from 29 goals and 19 assists. He also established the school record of 142 points for four years of college competition, thereby supplanting Mike Musty's 111 points registered in 1968. He won the All- American hockey award and the all-conference award for the second straight year in 1976.
Coach Igo was pleased with his first line of Christensen, Rick Larson, and Andrew Overman as possibly the best in the conference, as also was Bob Hanson the best goalie (Record, February 11, 1976).
- 1977 -
Dave Igo's 1977 team was still striving to overcome its reputation as a loser that had been hanging over it from the early 1970's. But they were a daring outfit and scheduled the best teams of the area that were available-Superior-Wisconsin (national NAIA champions for 1976), the Air Force, and Bemidji with its array of Canadian recruits.
The season opened with a loss to the Air Force by a score of 3-6, followed by a 9-7 victory over Superior. Then followed four straight losses to the Air Force and Bemidji until finally they succeeded in defeating St. Mary's 14-7. Once settled down, the Jays managed to roll up a series of victories and ended in the conference with six games won, seven lost, and one tied. The St. John's team finished in fourth place in the MIAC.
Highlights of the season were such games as the rousing comeback from a possible humiliating defeat by Superior from;) score of 5-0. Coach Igo was happy with the courage and persistence of his team and looked forward to a better record in 1978.
Squad roster: Anthony Bauer, Dana Carlson, Daniel Dryer, Frank Fairbanks, Richard Gunderson, Robert Hanson, Robert Johnson, Stuart Lindberg, Rick Larson, Timothy McHale, John Mitchell, Mark Nordberg, Andrew Overman, Kenneth Potts, Thomas Stovern, James Vucinovich, Mark Zallek.
Jerome "Jerry" Haugen, '78, baseball and football star, succeeded Dave Igo as coach of the 1978 hockey team. His appointment was first received with dismay on the part of some of the players but quickly changed when it became apparent that the new coach knew the fundamentals of the game and, in addition, possessed the ability to get the most out of his men. "There is no fooling around now" was the word that quickly passed around.
Coach Haugen had a superlatively good season, due partly to personal drive and a good coaching job, partly also to the fine quality of the team handed down to him from the Igo regime. The season record was ten wins versus four losses, for third place in the conference. Highlights of the season were the defeats administered to Gustavus and Mankato, both powerhouses in the state and picked to annihilate the daring Johnnies. Another crowd-pleasing victory was the defe2t of St. Thomas by a score of 5-3, despite a 3-0 lead hammered out by the Tommies in the first period.
Coach Haugen was proud especially of the All-American award to goalie Bob Hanson and the all-conference awards to Hanson, Andy Overman and Rick Larson. James Vucinovich received honorable mention. 1978 was one of the really good hockey seasons in St. John's athletic history!
Team roster: Anthony Bauer, Todd Brandstetter, John Dalton, Tony Delisi, Rick Deslauriers, Daniel Dryer, Frank Fairbanks, Dick Gunderson, Bob Hanson, Thomas Kedrowski, Rick Larson, Mark Mc- Cullen, John Mitchell, Mark Nordberg, Thomas O'Keefe, Kenneth Potts, Andrew Overman, Greg Rancone, Peter Weum, James Vucinovich, Mark Zallek.