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1960 Michigan Tech Hockey team played the U.S. Olympic team in Houghton on January 20, 1960. Tech won 5-2, the Olympic team went on to win the Olympic Gold Medal in Squaw Valley, California later that year. Michigan Tech also played the Olympic team in Dec of 1976 and won 3-1.
Local hockey standout born in Hancock,
Paavola, played for the 1960 USA Gold Medal winning Olympic Hockey Team. The
1960 U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team, coached by Jack Riley (Boston, Mass.) won
America's first Olympic gold medal in hockey by completing upsets of the favored
Canadian and Czechoslovakian Olympic teams at Squaw Valley, Calif. Rod
Paavola, played defense for the 1960 USA Gold Medal winning
Team at the age of 20. This was the first American team to win Olympic Gold in ice
hockey; the US had previously won five Silvers and a Bronze, but this was the first Gold
Medal win for a US Hockey Team. The U.S. squad in 1960 was made up mostly
of former college players who held full-time jobs. Coached by Jack
Riley, a player on the 1948 U.S. team and longtime head coach at West Point, the
U.S. advanced through the preliminary round, rallying to beat Czechoslovakia 7-5
and beating Australia 12-1, then knocked off Sweden and Germany in the first two
games of the championship round-robin. Then they had to face Canada and the
U.S.S.R.. They beat the Canadians with a shocking 2-1 upset. A crowd estimated
at 10,000 jammed into Squaw Valley's Blythe Arena, which was open along one side
and held only 8,500, to watch their game against the Russians, which they won
3-2; the first time in history a U.S. team had beaten a Soviet team. After these
upsets, they had to play the Czechs at 8:00 am the very next morning after the
Soviet game. The USA posted a six-goal third period to
overcome a 4-3 deficit and claim a 9-4 gold-medal victory. Beating
the Czechs in the final game, gave the US team a 7-0-0 sweep during
the tournament, winning the United States' first Olympic hockey Gold Medal. The
games were televised nationally which was a rarity for any hockey game in 1960.
After the games, the US Olympic team members went back to their lives of being
fathers, firemen, coaches, businessmen and military service. Of this team,
goalie Jack McCartan and Tommy Williams were the only players to go on to play
in the NHL. At that time, the six-team NHL was made up almost exclusively of
Paavola also had played on the 1959 National team that played in Prague, Czechoslovakia at the World Championships and for the Muskegon Zephyrs 1961-63. He came home and was a player/coach for the Portage Lake Pioneers. In 2000, Rod was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 1960 USA Gold winning Olympic Team. In 2002, Rod received the Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States as part of the 1960 USA Gold winning Olympic Team; they are only the 3rd team in the 35 year history of the Award to receive this honor.
|1960 Gold Medal Olympic Team
Members of the 1960 Olympic team are: Bill and Bob Cleary (Cambridge, Mass.), Bill and Roger Christian (Warroad, Minn. of the "Christian Brothers" hockey sticks), Gene Grazia (W. Springfield, Mass.), Paul Johnson (W. St. Paul, Minn.), John Mayasich (Eveleth, Minn.), Jack McCartan (St. Paul, Minn.), Jack Kirrane (Brookline, Mass.), Bob McVey (Hamden, Conn.), Dick Meredith (Minneapolis, Minn.), Weldy Olson (Marquette, Mich.), Bob Owen (St. Louis Park, Minn.), Larry Palmer (Wakefield, Mass.); Rod Paavola (Hancock, Mich.); Dick Rodenhiser (Malden, Mass.) and Tommy Williams (Duluth, Minn.). The 1960 US Olympic team was only the third team to be honored in the 35-year history of the Lester Patrick Award.
|PFC Rodney Paavola (left) and PFC Jack McCarten chat with Carole
World's Champ Woman Figure Skater during the 1960 Olympics. Paavola played
defense and McCarten played goal tender on the team.
1962 Michigan Tech scored 4 goals in the third period to beat Michigan at Ann Arbor to win the MacNaughton Cup for the first time ever for the school on March 3rd, 1962. They won it again in 1965...
1964 Dee Stadium is
the host for the National Juvenile Championship Tournament.
1964-67 Tony Esposito, born in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, played goalie for Michigan Tech University for 3 seasons. Tony is still the MTU career leader in goals against average (2.55). He went on to play Pro Hockey with the Vancouver Canucks, Houston Apollos, Montreal Canadiens, and from 1969-84 for the Chicago Blackhawks and then 2 years as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins (1988-90). Tony played a total of 886 games in the NHL, winning 423, losing 306 and earning a draw in another 152. He also earned 76 shutouts to place him among the all-time leaders.
1969 Inaugural year for the return of local High School Hockey; there had been local High School sponsored hockey in the 1920's and 1930's. After WWII, high school hockey was dormant as an organized sport until a group of local hockey enthusiasts, led by John MacInnes from Michigan Tech, Don Miller from Houghton, Randy Peterson from Calumet, Bob Hauswirth from Hancock, and William Lindstrom of Marquette (and a native of Painesdale), began a drive to convince our local schools to reinstitute the sport. Up until then, players aged 17-19 played in the Juvenile Division of Junior Hockey.
In 1969, the Lake Superior High School Hockey Conference was formed for their inaugural season. The league consisted of Houghton, Hancock, Calumet and Marquette and played a 12 game schedule.
1969 Inaugural year for the local Calumet High School Hockey Team. Their first coach was John Jukuri who resigned after the 1969-70 season due to ill health; he was replaced by Gordie Lassila who handled the team for the next seven years from 1970 to 1977. John Jukuri then returned to the helm and coached the Kings for the next three seasons, 1977-80. Gordie Lassila was then brought back for the 1980-81 season and he was replaced by Don Poshak who led the team from 1981-84. Jim Crawford took over from Poshak and has coached the team for the last 19 seasons, 1984-2003. Their home ice is the Calumet Armory Ice Rink. Calumet won the State Hockey Championship in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998 in Class B-C-D and in 2003. They have been a state runner-up on three occasions, 1975 in Tier I and 1985 and 1991 in Class B-C-D. This past season, Calumet won it's fifth state championship by capturing the Division 3 crown. After the 1998 season, Calumet player, Bob Rangus, was honored as Michigan's Mr. Hockey and still has the honor of being the only Upper Peninsula player to ever receive that award. Calumet High School has participated in high school hockey off and on from 1920 through the present. They played fairly consistently throughout the 1920's, 30's and early 40's until WW II started. After the war, senior and intermediate hockey took over and many of the best high school age players were rostered on these older teams until 1969 when the Lake Superior High School Hockey Conference was formed to bring back local High School Hockey.
1969 Inaugural year for the local Hancock High School Hockey Team. Their first coach was Bob Hauswirth (3 years), followed by Doug Hembroff (1 year), Paul Heinonen (8 years; 1973-79) & now Rick Miller for 22+ years. Their home ice was the Dee until about 1975 when they moved to the newly built Houghton County Ice Arena, with a seating capacity of 1,200.. In 1987 Hancock was the State Runners-up; in 1999 Hancock won the State Championship and in 2000 were state finalists.
1969 Inaugural year for the local Houghton High School Hockey Team. Their first coach was Don Miller; coaching the team for 30 years until retiring in 1999. Houghton's current coach is Corey Markham, an alumni of the Houghton HS hockey team.
1959-60 The Dollar Bay VFW Midget Team won the State and National Championship Title. They won 4 straight games on the march to the National Title. The Championship team was coached by Earl Gorman and Andrew Wiitanen; their home ice was the Dee Stadium in Houghton.
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