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Minnesota Hockey: Gopher Hockey History 101

Gopher Athletics

GoAUpher: Bumping because HOCKEY HISTORY YOU GUIZ!

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Gopher team circa 1930 in front of the Armory via collections.mnhs.org

This is everything you need to know about University of Minnesota hockey. Sike, no it isn't. Full disclosure my hockey skills max out at a broomball level (I can't even skate). But this is my first year as a hockey season ticket holder and I thought I'd trot out a little Gopher hockey history tune up post. Feel free to share more in the comments.

Mythical Beginnings

The earliest reference to hockey on campus is from a 1903 news article. At the turn of the century Gopher hockey played in the Twin Cities Hockey League. Playing against powerhouse local athletic clubs: The Mascots, Virginias, Victorias, and Shamrocks. Ok some of those aren't that great, but shoutout to The Mascots.

The other interesting thing about these early hockey teams is that the ‘varsity' as the team was referred to, played their games on a student built rink on Northrop Field (home to the Gopher football squad). Evidently the Twin Cities Hockey League only played night games and the Gophers needed some help from the local clubs to set up lights so they could have home night games as well. So this year when the U plays outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium vs. Ohio St, it will mark roughly 110 years of outdoor hockey.

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Unknown Gopher player circa 1920. via collections.mnhs.org

Old Mariucci Arena

I am not old enough to have attended old Mariucci arena when it was attached to the Barn. But I hear good things. Also very little has been written about it, so watch this youtube video of it and relive the majesty!


The Numbers

-All time record 1646-938-171 for a .637 winning percentage

- 5 National Championships, we were #1 in 1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, and 2003. At some point I'd like to write some more about this because the 2003 National Championships riots played a defining roll in my enduring support of the U of M.

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Wendell Anderson's Gopher patch from the mid 1950s. via collections.mnhs.org

Names You Need To Know

I said this was history 101 so here are the two names you need to know:

-John Mariucci, the man, the legend, the coach that put Minnesota on the map. He played both football and hockey while a student at the U. Before starting his coaching career Mariucci played in the NHL for the Blackhawks. As a coach for the Gophers one of the things Mariucci is noted for is recruiting Minnesota players instead of Canadians (YEAH SCREW CANADA), which was pretty unusual at the time. Promoting high school hockey in Minnesota, the sport grew in popularity during Mariucci's tenure.

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TOUCHDOWN MARIUCCI, 1938. via collections.mnhs.org

Also important: as a Blackhawks player, legend has it that Mariucci beat up one of Al Capone's friends and had to apologize to the gangster himself. Living up to his legend as coach of the Team USA in the 1976 Hockey World Championships he fought his own player, Lou Nanne (YEAH THAT LOU NANNE).

-If John Mariucci was the "Godfather of Minnesota hockey" then John Mayasich is the Gopher's Jesus on ice. Read about the legend in this awesome article from August.

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John Mayasich with a sick move. via grfx.cstv.com

Know Thy Enemy

Lame trivia question with a pun, whioux have the Gophers played the most? The [NAME REDACTED] has faced off with the Gophers 291 times (the all time series is in the good guys favor 146-130-15).

While Minnesota is leaving that rivalry, it looks to play some teams with more National Championships in the new Big Ten Hockey Conference. With Michigan's 9, Wisconsin's 6, Michigan State's 3 National Championships (Ohio St. is tied with Penn St for 0 NC's, lol). The new Big Ten Hockey Conference has some historic fire power. I know that's a bit of a stretch and opponents of the new conference will make all the same arguments, but hey the Gophers will consistently beat Michigan, and will crush Ohio St. (/furiously knocks on wood), so that's pretty cool right?

Rube Swag

classicmnhockey

I'm not affiliated in any way with these guys (I assume they are guys) but how sweet are these old hockey jerseys? AND THEY CAN BE YOURS. The 1925-1936 is my jumpoff.

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1925-1936 Gopher jersey. via cdn.shopify.com

Editors of The Daily Gopher retain the right to remove posts deemed excessively offensive or grossly inappropriate. Keep it clean and don't be mean.

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