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UMass Hall of Fame; Olympic Camp Starts

UMass named its 2009 class for induction into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame yesterday.  There are no hockey representatives this year but the class is led by softball pitcher Danielle Henderson, easily one of the top athletes ever to play at the school.  A three time All-American, Olympic gold medal winner, and the only softball player with her number retired at the UMass Softball Complex, though you have to wonder if there will be a #16 next to Henderson’s #44 someday when Brandice Balschmiter is eligible.

This seems like a good chance to delve into the past and look at some of the UMass hockey greats that are already enshrined.  I’m not sure if it’s because of the 15 year hiatus the program went on or the fact that they went decades without playing on campus (the program called Orr Rink at Amherst College home for most of its existence), but there’s a common misconception that UMass hockey does not have much tradition to it.  Not the case.  Here’s a look at some of those who donned the maroon (or red) and white way before anyone had the great idea to put a giant triangle on the front of a hockey jersey.

George “Sugar” Cain was one of the most prolific scorers in the 30’s as well as a pretty good baseball player for the school.  His 14 goals in 1931 don’t  seem like much until you consider the team only had 12 games on their schedule back then.  He once contributed 5 goals towards a 17-0 defeat of UConn.  I guess UConn didn’t offer scholarships back then either.

Pat Flaherty was the goaltender on the 1972 Division II Championship team.  His win total has only been surpassed by Gabe Winer.  The All-American went on to play professionally after his UMass days were over.

Pat Keenan is the all-time leading scorer in UMass history in both goals and points.  He averaged nearly 3 points a game and once scored 7 goals in a game against Holy Cross.  The two time All American still holds multiple scoring records and helped lead the Redmen to the 1972 Division II championship.  I had the chance to meet Pat last year and he told me that though he lives quite a distance away in Ontario he still follows the Minuteman program very closely through the internet

Jerry McCarthy won a silver medal at the 1924 Olympics. (courtesy UMass Athletics)

Jerry McCarthy won a silver medal at the 1924 Olympics. (courtesy UMass Athletics)

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Russ “Cap” Kidd has done just about everything relating to UMass sports.  In addition to playing three years of hockey, he also was all-conference in football, played lacrosse, was a coach for the soccer team, and even served as director of the Phys Ed program.

Justin “Jerry” McCarthy is most likely the best UMass hockey player you’ve never heard of.  Probably because he was a star back when the games were played on the Campus Pond.  He played well enough in the shadow of the Old Chapel to earn a chance to participate in the first ever Olympic hockey tournament as the USA took home the silver medal in the 1924 games.  To my knowledge he and Tommy Pöck are the only UMass hockey Olympians.

Clifton Morey was a goaltender back in the Campus Pond era of the 30’s and served as captain his senior year.  He also played football and baseball for the school.

Coach Jack Canniff is the most recent hockey representative in the Hall of Fame, elected last year.  His all-time win mark at UMass was just passed last year by Toot Cahoon.  He was named the ECAC Coach of the Year in 1972 when he led the UMass to the Division II Championship with a 19-7 mark.  Before his coaching days Jack was was a player for Boston College.  But we like him anyway.  Jack can regularly be found at the Mullins to watch the Minutemen.   He has been battling some health issues lately so our thoughts go out to him for a speedy recovery.

Those are all the hockey representatives in the HOF I found in my research.  One has to wonder if perhaps Brian Sullivan will be inducted at some future point.  Sullivan led the defense on that legendary 1972 team and was honored as an All-American that year along with Keenan and Flaherty.  In case anyone was wondering Thomas Pöck will be eligible in 2014 so there is plenty of time to prepare your nominations.

 

Olympic Orientation Camp for Team USA and Jon Quick started yesterday outside of Chicago.  Here’s a prospectus on the team with the current roster.  Look for updates on Quick’s Olympic journey on FTT in the future.

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