On Saturday night in Philadelphia, Union became the 20th program to win an NCAA Division I men’s college hockey championship. Since 1948, teams have competed for the coveted trophy, and the Dutchmen will raise a banner celebrating this season that will hang forever.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all twenty teams who have made it to the mountaintop. Yesterday, I went through #20 through #16, and today we’re discussing programs ranked #15 through #11…
#15 Rensselaer Engineers
National Championships: 2 (1954, 1985)
Frozen Four Appearances: 5 (most recent, 1985)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 9 (most recent, 2011)
Conference Playoff Titles: 3 (most recent, 1995)
Regular Season Conference Titles: 5 (most recent, 1985)
Hobey Baker Award Winners: None
Hobey Baker Award Finalists: Adam Oates (1985), Joe Juneau (1990, 1991), Neil Little (1994), Eric Healey (1998), Joel Laing (2000), Marc Cavosie (2002), Chase Polacek (2010, 2011)
Other notable former players: John Carter, Jerry D’Amigo, Ken Hammond, Larry Landon, Mike McPhee, Kraig Nienhuis, Brandon Pirri, Brian Pothier, Daren Puppa, Brad Tapper, Graeme Townshend
The Engineers have a habit of popping up for short stints and then disappearing for 10 years or so. Here’s a look at the all-time tournament appearances: 1953, 1954, 1961, 1964, 1984, 1985, 1994, 1995, 2011. When Rensselaer is on top of the college hockey world, they really go all out. Head coach Mike Addesa followed up a 32-6-0 campaign in 1983-84 with an other-worldly 35-2-1 national championship season. But since then, RPI has only seen the NCAAs three times in the past 29 years. And with only one twenty-win season in the past decade, it’ll be an uphill climb for head coach Seth Appert to compete in the ECAC going forward.
#14 Harvard Crimson
National Championships: 1 (1989)
Frozen Four Appearances: 12 (most recent, 1994)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 21 (most recent, 2006)
Conference Playoff Titles: 7 (most recent, 2006)
Regular Season Conference Titles: 10 (most recent, 1994)
Harvard has a rich and storied tradition, with each decade filled with memorable games and remarkable accomplishments. But despite 12 Frozen Four appearances, the Crimson have only advanced to three championship games, losing to Wisconsin (1983) and Michigan State (1986) before breaking through against Minnesota in 1989. Harvard found a recent run of success with five straight tourney appearances and three playoff titles between 2001 and 2006, but the boys from Cambridge, Massachusetts have only collected 94 wins in the eight seasons since then.
Hobey Baker Award Winners: D Mark Fusco (1983), C Scott Fusco (1986), LW Lane MacDonald (1989)
Hobey Baker Award Finalists: Scott Fusco (1985), Lane MacDonald (1987), Allen Bourbeau (1989), Peter Ciavaglia (1991), Ted Drury (1993), Sean McCann (1994), Dov Grumet-Morris (2005)
Other notable former players: Craig Adams, Dan Bolduc, Ted Donato, Alexander Killorn, Louis Leblanc, Craig MacDonald, Steve Martins, Bob McManama, Dominic Moore, Dylan Reese, Neil Sheehy, Don Sweeney, Noah Welch
#13 Lake Superior Lakers
National Championships: 3 (1988, 1992, 1994)
Frozen Four Appearances: 4 (most recent, 1994)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 10 (most recent, 1996)
Conference Playoff Titles: 4 (most recent, 1995)
Regular Season Conference Titles: 3 (most recent, 1996)
Hobey Baker Award Winners: None
Hobey Baker Award Finalists: Mark Vermette (1988), Bruce Hoffort (1989), Jim Dowd (1991), Darrin Madeley (1992), Brian Rolston (1993), Keith Aldridge (1996)
Other notable former players: Will Acton, Bates Battaglia, Kevin Czuczman, Chris Dahlquist, John Flesch, John Grahame, Paul Jerrard, Dan Keczmer, Sandy Moger, Steven Oleksy, Derek Smith, Rob Valicevic, Doug Weight
From 1987-1996, the Lakers were a college hockey dynasty. Head coaches Frank Anzalone and Jeff Jackson amassed a combined record of 277-80-39 (.749), and Lake Superior appeared in nine straight NCAA tournaments with three national titles and a runner-up finish in 1993. Perhaps the most astounding fact of all is that the best Laker team, the 1990-91 squad, went 36-5-4 but lost their first round NCAA playoff series to Clarkson and didn’t make the Frozen Four. Still, it’s been 18 seasons since those glory days without a single noteworthy accomplishment or tournament appearance. Until that changes, the Lakers are stuck in the past.
#12 Michigan Tech Huskies
National Championships: 3 (1962, 1965, 1975)
Frozen Four Appearances: 10 (most recent, 1981)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 10 (most recent, 1981)
Conference Playoff Titles: 1 (1962)
Regular Season Conference Titles: 6 (most recent, 1976)
Hobey Baker Award Winners: None
Hobey Baker Award Finalists: Jamie Ram (1994), Colin Murphy (2005)
Other notable former players: Lou Angotti, Gary Bauman, Chris Conner, Chris Durno, Tony Esposito, John Grisdale, Steve Jensen, Al Karlander, Bob Lorimer, George Lyle, Randy McKay, Gord McRae, Glenn Merkosky, Damian Rhodes, Jarkko Ruutu, Andre Savage, John Scott, Lorne Stamler, Andy Sutton, Tim Watters, Clay Wilson, Warren Young, Mike Zuke
John MacInnes coached Michigan Tech from 1956 until 1982, and under his leadership the Huskies were one of the top programs in the country for the better part of two decades. In a 17 year stretch, MTU appeared in eight Frozen Fours, with three national titles and three runner-up finishes. The issue for the boys from Houghton is that in the past 34 years, there has been absolutely nothing to cheer about. No regular season titles, no postseason titles, and no NCAA tournament appearances. For 34 years straight. And in that stretch of time, MTU has managed only two winning seasons: 17-15-5 in 1992-93 and 18-17-5 in 2006-07.
#11 Colorado College Tigers
National Championships: 2 (1950, 1957)
Frozen Four Appearances: 10 (most recent, 2005)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 20 (most recent, 2011)
Conference Playoff Titles: 1 (1978)
Regular Season Conference Titles: 9 (most recent, 2008)
Hobey Baker Award Winners: LW Peter Sejna (2003), C Marty Sertich (2005)
Hobey Baker Award Finalists: Jay MacNeil (1995), Peter Geronazzo (1996), Brian Swanson (1997, 1999), Tom Preissing (2003), Brett Sterling (2005, 2006), Marty Sertich (2006)
Other notable former players: Joey Crabb, Mark Cullen, Dave Feamster, Jack Hillen, Doug Lidster, Curtis McElhinney, Eddie Mio, Doug Palazzari, Toby Petersen, Nate Prosser, Chad Rau, Jaden Schwartz, Greg Smith, Colin Stuart, Mark Stuart
When it’s coming up on 60 years since your program’s last national title, the shine starts to come off of the trophy. As evidenced by the statistics above, Colorado College has had plenty of successful regular seasons over the past twenty years, but the lack of postseason success is astounding. The Tigers never won the WCHA Final Five despite appearing in the title game three times, and they’ve only appeared in one Frozen Four since 1997. And after the 1957 championship, CC only made the NCAA tournament once in the next 37 seasons. A new coach might breathe some life into this team, but it’ll be an uphill climb in the NCHC.
Check back next week for a look at #10 through #6 on the all-time champions list. And once we’re through with the twenty programs which have claimed college hockey’s biggest prize, we’ll take a look at the five teams most likely to break through and win their first national title.
A special thank you goes out to SiouxSports.com user “franchise” for all of the information about Hobey Baker finalists for this article.
As always, thank you for reading. I encourage you to leave your comments below and follow me on Twitter (@DBergerHockey) for more information and analysis.