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Copper Country Hockey History, choose time...
1880s 1890s 1900s


1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2005


 1921 The Palestra, the large covered ice rink in Laurium, was sold to a group of sports enthusiasts from Marquette for $15,000. It was dismantled and moved via train to Marquette to become that area's first full sized (195 feet by 80 feet) covered hockey rink. (At the time, most covered rinks were small and had poles in the middle for roof support.)  It took Edward Ulseth, a Calumet contractor, just 55 days to move the building and put it back together. The railroad  cars on which the building sections were loaded were switched over to the street car tracks, and the material unloaded on a spur track near the Marquette location on the North end of Third Street in Marquette; currently where the parking lot is for NMU Phys Ed. facility. After transporting it by rail to Marquette and erecting it cost another $45,000.  John McNamara, from the Copper County, went to Marquette to run it.  All around the rink were bleacher seats about eight rows, built right down to the ice. The Palestra Ice Rink in Marquette featured a weekly dance on the second floor; it was open every day for public skating and sometimes at night too. Hockey was its main activity, with two or three professional games a week among rival cities, as well as games between rival private teams (the Comets, the Wild Geese) for young players sponsored by local businesses. A few times a year, especially in the spring, young skaters presented fancy-skating or figure -skating exhibitions. Over the years the ice rink was the host for entertainers like Tex Ritter and his horse, and Abbott and Costello, and Gus Sonnenburg of Marquette wrestled there while he was World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion. It was home to the semi-pro team Marquette Iron Rangers, the Marquette Sentinels, Marquette Jr Hockey and Annual Skating Shows. For the 1969-70 season, the Marquette Iron Rangers hired an 18-year-old goalie named Karen Koch from Gibraltar, Michigan for $40 a game as their back up goalie, which made her the first professional female hockey player in North America. The three "Hanson brothers" featured in the 1977 movie "Slapshot" were modeled after Jeff, Steve, and Jack Carlson, who first played together on the Marquette Iron Rangers team. Jeff and Steve played themselves in the movie joined by a Jet's linemate, Dave Hanson, playing Jack. The story was written by Nancy Dowd after she heard the stories her brother, Ned Dowd, told her about the antics of the three Carlson brothers when they played together with her brother for the Johnston Jets, Pa team the year after they played for Marquette. The Palastra also hosted two Detroit Red Wings exhibition games, including hockey greats Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuck, played against two Marquette hockey teams in 1954.  Later in 1954, the Palestra was damaged by fire (the ballroom was destroyed) and then rebuilt; it was closed for the last time and demolished in September 1974 when the Lake View Ice Arena opened in Marquette.

1921 The first local High School league play since 1912. The three teams in the league were: Hancock Central HS, Houghton HS and Calumet HS. HCH game scores were:  HCH vs Houghton: L 1-7; HCH vs Calumet: L 1-2; HCH vs Houghton: T 2-2 (two 10 min OT); HCH vs Calumet: W 3-1; HCH vs Houghton: L 0-3.

1922 There was a local four team High School League: Calumet, Sacred Heart (in Calumet), Houghton & Hancock. Hancock Central HS game scores were: HCH vs Calumet: L 1-4; HCH vs Sacred Heart: W 4-1; HCH vs Houghton: L 0-3; HCH vs Calumet: W 5-0; HCH vs Sacred Heart: W 2-1; HCH vs Houghton: L 1-3. Houghton won the Championship of the High School League in 1922.

1923 The Copper Country Intermediate Hockey League was formed in late December, "teams representing Calumet, Keweenaw, Laurium-Rambaultown, Hancock Naval Reserve, Mohawk and the MCM. Each team played eight games and provided many interesting and exciting contests. The College team, though outclassed at the beginning of the season, rapidly developed into a strong aggregation..." according to the 1924 Michigan College Mines (now Michigan Tech Univ) Keweenawan book.

There was a local five team High School Hockey League: Calumet, Chassell, Sacred Heart (in Calumet), Houghton & Hancock (HCH). Hancock won the Championship of the High School League in 1923. Hancock Central HS games were: HCH at Sacred Heart: W 3-1 in OT; HCH at Houghton: W 6-1; HCH at Calumet: W 2-1; Chassell at HCH: HCH W 7-4 in OT; Sacred Heart at HCH: HCH W 6-3; Houghton at HCH: HCH W 3-1; HCH at Chassell: HCH L 3-4 (Chassell had undersized rink); Calumet at HCH: HCH W 5-2.

1923 Hancock Central High Champions 
Trophy says: 
"Copper Country Interscholastic Hockey Trophy Donated by Hudson Edgerton? and Alfred Erickson? Posts of The American Legion. Hancock 1923"

Clockwise from Top: Emil J "Butch" Juntunen -Goalie, Douglas W Gregory -Def.,  Clyde S Messner -Wing, Howard M Hendricksen -Center,  Schumaker -Coach,  Jack S Hicok -Wing Captain, John T Toivonen -Spare, Jack D Crawford -Def.
Lower Left: Bernard G Orella -Spare
Lower Right: Elof Nyman -Spare

1923 Hancock Central High
Copper Country Interscholastic Hockey Trophy
HancockCentralHS1923Champ s.jpg (121465 bytes)
Photo courtesy Houghton County Museum 

1924 The following local High Schools had hockey teams that played each other: HCH (Hancock HS), Houghton HS, and Sacred Heart. They also played N. Reserves, Duluth and MCM (Michigan College of Mines): Jan 15: HCH 5 vs Sacred Heart 0, Jan 22: HCH 5 vs Houghton 1, Feb 1 HCH 1 vs Sacred Heart 2, Feb 3 HCH 7 vs N Reserves 1, Feb 5 HCH 3 vs Houghton 1, Feb 12 HCH 7 vs MCM 2, Feb 19 HCH 6 Duluth 5, Feb 25 HCH 3 Sacred Heart 1, Feb 27 HCH 8 vs MCM 1, March 5 HCH 1 Houghton 2.

1924 Hancock High School won the Copper Country  Championship and the Championship of the NorthWest!
Members of this 1924 team were: 
Top Row Lt to Rt: Coach Don Crawford, Gordon Hovinen, Douglas Gregory, Harold Hoffenbacher, Jack Crawford, Douglas Tesen.
Bottom Row: John Conway, George Abramson, John Schneider, William Mason, Arne Riutta, Joseph Ruppe.


1924 Championship "H" Team
HancHS1924Champs_s.jpg (76456 bytes)
Photo courtesy Houghton County Museum 

1925 Hancock High School won the State Championship Title.
Games they played were: HCH 2 Calumet 1, HCH 2 Sacred Heart 1, HCH 5 Sacdred Heart 2, HCH 2 Calumet 1, HCH 4 Houghton 1, HCH 3 Houghton 4, HCH 2 Eveleth 3, HCH 3 Marquette 0, HCH 4 Marq 2, HCH 4 Alumni 3, HCH 2 Northern Lights 1 (at Marquette).

Members of this team were: 
Top Row Lt to Rt: Coach Don Crawford, Joseph Ruppe, George Funkey, Emil Riutta, Ardell Condon, Joe Mishica -Trainer.
Seated: Henry Latva, Bill Mason, Doug Tesen, Foley Conway, John Schneider, Arne Riutta.

1925 Hancock High School
 State Champions
HTeam1925StateChamp s.jpg (79674 bytes)

1926 Hancock High School was the Copper Country Conference Co-Champions. 

Members of this 1926 team were: 

Back Row Lt to Rt: Mgr Davis, Ted Mattonen, Ernest Klingbeil, Condon, Rundle, Ray Wuopio, Coach Crawford.
Seated Lt to Rt: Uno Hill, Toivo Riutta, John Schneider, Foley Conway, Arne Riutta, Emil Riutta, George Bousu.

1926 Copper Country Conference
HTeamCoChampsofCC1926 s.jpg (71326 bytes)

1927  Amphidrome was entirely destroyed by fire, in the early morning hours of Sunday, January 9, 1927. The fire was discovered at 3:45 am in the upper part of the Armory annex, and within an hour, the huge structure was reduced to ashes and a lone chimney, according to an article dated January 9, 1927 in the local paper. The newspaper account of the fire on 11 January, 1927 said: "The Amphidrome, popular social and recreational center of the Portage Lake district for more than a quarter century, was destroyed by fire early Sunday morning just a few hours before what promised to be one of the greatest hockey games ever stage in the historic arena.  [There had been nearly a complete sell-out of reserved seats for the Calumet-Portage Lake game, and the management of the hockey association had made plans to take care of a crowd of 2,000 spectators. Calumet fans had arranged for six special street cars, and a large gathering was coming from the north end by automobile.]  The fire was discovered at 3:45 o'clock in the upper part of the Armory annex, and within an hour the huge structure was reduced to ashes. Beside the Amphidrome, a large warehouse owned by the Lake Superior Produce Co. and occupied by the Hansen Motor sales, was destroyed with all its contents, including about 30 used automobiles, two new ones, and valuable garage machinery and equipment. The monetary loss in the Amphidrome, including the building, furniture, equipment and hockey supplies, is estimated as $70,000.  The amount of the insurance was $27,000.... Although there was no wind while the Amphidrome and the warehouse burned, the heat was terrific, and it was only through the diligent efforts of the Houghton fire department that the fire did not spread to other property.... The fire was discovered by Miss Emma Rickard, a telephone operator on duty in the Houghton exchange who notified the fire department and call the rink where the night man, John Manderfield, was engaged in making ice. Attracted by the telephone bell, Mr. Manderfield left the ice and went into the office to answer the telephone. As he did so, he heard the crackling of the fire which was the first intimation he had that the building was afire. He went back into the rink to ge the sprinkling hose to fight the fire, but before he dragged it half across the icek the flames broke through the partition between the rink balcony and the dance hall, and he was driven from the building. From that time on, the building burned like paper, and in less than half an hour the entire building was aflame.  The cause of the fire is not know. The location of the blaze at the time it was discovered would indicate that it started int eh upper part of the Armory annex near the balcony on the dance floor. There was a community dance and skating at the rink Saturday night, but the dance hall was closed at 12 o'clock sharp. Henry Ruelle, superintendent of the building, left the rink about 2:15 o'clock in the morning. After he left the building, he noticed that a light had been

1928  The "New Amphidrome" was built in the same place as the original, with local funding through shares sold in the New Amphidrome Company. Shares were issued at $10 each for the New Amphidrome Company. 

With this funding, organized by local businessman, James R. Dee, the Amphidrome was rebuilt in time for the very next hockey season following the fire.

Shares issued to rebuild burned
AmphidromeShares1927_s.jpg (169848 bytes)
This Certificate, dated 19 August 1927, shows that the Houghton County Electric Light Company, with James R. Dee as President, purchased 120 shares. 


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Web Page designed, researched and maintained by Connie Julien 
2003 ~ 2008 Copper Country Hockey History

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