A look at the list of Gopher hockey coaches counts 14 (depending on what you think of interims), with I.D. MacDonald being the teams first coach back in 1921-2. That’s fine, I guess as 1921 was the first year the school recognized it as a varsity sport. But hockey at the University of Minnesota dates back to 1895(!).
Left off that list is Doctor H.A. Parkyn who is credited with organizing the first game on February 18, 1895. That game was a mighty L to Winnipeg, but it is credited as the second college hockey game (University of Baltimore played the Baltimore Athletic Club a couple months before this game). If you want to read more about the very interesting early history of Gopher hockey Vintage MN Hockey has you covered, they also give a great recap of that first game against Winnipeg. Allegedly Harper’s Weekly sent a sketch artist out to the game, but I can’t find any evidence that it was ever published.
Today though I want to talk more about Doctor Herbert A Parkyn, a super interesting dude.
Born on Christmas Eve 1870 in Montreal, Canada Herbert Arthur Parkyn got his medical degree from the University of Toronto. While there he also learned to play hockey. Having played for 8 years there on the club team Victorias of Toronto, also known as the ‘Queens College team’ which is pretty neat. Coming to the University of Minnesota in 1894 Parkyn enrolled in dentistry school.
He first joined the football team. Listed at 6 foot 2, 175 pounds (likely fraudulent, given the photographic evidence), Herb was the only graduate student on the team. Playing full back he did most of the punting and kicking for the team. Between 1894 and 1895 he was embroiled in a minor controversy after telegraphing some football players enrolled in eastern universities offering them money to come and play for the Gophers. He played football again in 1895 but was never able to escape controversy as the U of M was eventually made to step in and censure his recruiting tactics.
After one season as President, Manager, and player for the hockey team Parkyn left Minnesota for Chicago to pursue his one true passion, Hypnosis!
Parkyn would eventually open the Chicago School of Psychology in 1898. He would return to Minnesota one more time in 1915 for an Alumni Dinner. Parkyn died in 1927. While he doesn’t have a coaching record at the U of M his squad played 4 games, winning 1, tying 1, and losing 2.