ECAC Hockey History and Records
Home to 12 of the most prestigious ice hockey programs in the nation, ECAC Hockey is a conference filled with tradition, legendary players, coaches and administrators and a bright and exciting future.
In terms of tradition, no conference can lay claim to the history of ECAC Hockey.
The birthplace of collegiate ice hockey, member institutions have been sponsoring the sport for over a century. On February 1, 1896 in Baltimore, Maryland, Yale faced Johns Hopkins in the first collegiate ice hockey game. Two years later on January 19, 1898, Brown defeated Harvard in Boston in the first college hockey game between schools still sponsoring the sport.
From a team standpoint, Cornell (1969-70) stands as the only
team in NCAA ice hockey history to produce a perfect unbeaten and
untied record en route to the Division I men's title. The Big Red
posted a mark of 29-0 under coach Ned Harkness, a Hockey Hall of
Fame inductee in 1994.
On the ice, legendary players such as Princeton's Hobart Amory Hare "Hobey" Baker, Cornell goaltending great Ken Dryden, who led the Montreal Canadiens to five Stanley Cups, and fellow Big Red alum Joe Nieuwendyk, who won three Stanley Cups during his 19-year career in the NHL and was recently named to the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2011, and Clarkson's Dave Taylor, who starred with the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, are among the numerous standouts who made their mark in the conference.
The conference's tradition and history are not limited to the playing surface. A wealth of legendary coaches have called the conference home, including Harkness, Dartmouth's Eddie Jeremiah, whose instructional book on the game was the hockey bible for a generation; Army's Jack Riley, who led the 1960 U.S. Olympic squad to the gold medal at Squaw Valley; and Yale's Tim Taylor, who led the 1994 U.S. Olympic Team in Lillehammer, Norway.
In terms of leadership, ECAC Hockey is second to none. When the Decathlon Club of Bloomington, Minn., wanted a model for hockey's version of the Heisman Trophy, they turned to an ECAC Hockey institution and found Princeton's Baker. Today, the best male player in college hockey receives the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
Lest anyone think ECAC Hockey is about yesterday, the NHL draft annually features a wealth of conference draftees. Since the conference's inception in 1961-62, over 600 players have been drafted by NHL teams, including 42 over the past five years and 154 over the last 15.
Today, many former conference players enjoy NHL careers with nearly 50 of them playing in the NHL during the 2010-11 season, including former standout Rich Peverly (St. Lawrence) claimed professional sports' greatest trophy, the Stanley Cup, as members of the 2011 Boston Bruins. In addition, ECAC Hockey is well-represented at the highest level by a surpluss of alums, including New York Rangers forward Todd White (Clarkson); Calgary Flames forward Craig Conroy (Clarkson); Carolina Hurricanes forward Erik Cole (Clarkson); Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Noah Welch (Harvard); New York Islanders forward Matt Moulson (Cornell); Florida Panthers defenseman Joe Callahan (Yale); Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins (Yale) and defenseman Aaron Volpatti (Brown); San Jose Sharks defenseman Doug Murray (Cornell); St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald (Colgate); Phoenix Coyotes forward Lee Stempniak (Dartmouth); Anaheim Ducks forward George Parros (Princeton); Montreal Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern (Princeton); Tampa Bay Lightning forward Dominic Moore (Harvard); Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (Clarkson); and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Chris Clark (Clarkson) and defenseman Grant Clitsome (Clarkson).
Beyond the playing surface, a plethora of former standouts now hold management positions in the world's elite league. Harvard graduate Peter Chiarelli is the general manager of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins; Nieuwendyk is the Dallas Stars general manager; Former RPI standout and newly elected Hockey Hall of Famer Adam Oates is now the head coach with the Washington Captials; Princeton's Brent Flahr (Minnesota), Brown's Rick Olczyk (Edmonton), Harvard's Don Sweeney (Boston), Jason Karmanos (Carolina), and John Weisbrod (Calgary) each hold assistant general manager roles with NHL clubs. St. Lawrence alum Ray Shero is the executive vice-president and general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins; Dartmouth alum Dick Patrick is the Washington Capitals president; In Florida, St. Lawrence graduates Bill Torrey serves as the Panthers' alternate governor. In addition, Harvard alum Chuck Fletcher is the general manger of the Minnesota Wild and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is a Cornell graduate.
All of these players have played in each of the ECAC Hockey rinks, rinks that are regarded as some of college hockey's finest. From the frenzy at Rensselaer's Houston Field House to Cornell's historic Lynah Rink, spectators get a feel for and become part of the league's tradition.
ECAC Hockey has its Hobey Baker winners, its All-Americans and its national champions, but what may set it apart from any other conference in the nation is its tradition and success in academics.
Few, if any, conferences can produce a list of influential and successful alumni like ECAC Hockey.
Scott Hanley (Brown) currently serves as the Director of Sports and Competition for ESPN X Games while John McLennan (Clarkson) spent his career as the CEO of Bell Canada. Some former ECAC Hockey players became inventors, like Ed Werner (Colgate) and John Haney (Colgate), who invented the board game Trivial Pursuit.
Other players have excelled in the business world after hockey. Players like Phil Falcone (Harvard), Chairman and CEO of Harbinger Group, Inc., and former Hobey Baker winner Mark Fusco (Harvard), President and CEO of Aspen Technology, Inc. Terry Butryn, RPI alum, is the President of Barrday Advanced Material Solutions. Terry Morris, Princeon alum, Carl Ferenbach is the Founding Partner of Berkshire Partners. Jason Currie (Clarkson) is the Managing Director, Bear Stearns Assest Management.
Some of ECAC Hockey's former student-athletes have found careers in politics, such as Harvard alum David Johnston who currently serves as the Governor General of Canada, as well as Yale alums Mark Dayton and Jack Dalrymple who are Governors of Minnesota and North Dakota respectively.
Various former league alum have been contributors in the field of medicine, such as, Don Armstrong (Rensselaer), who is an Orthopedic Surgeon.
Other former league players made it big in the entertainment world, and none bigger than David Kelley (Princeton) the writer, creator and producer of shows like Boston Legal, Ally McBeal, LA Law and Chicago Hope and the movie Mystery, Alaska. Rensselaer alum Bob Farrelly is the writer, director, and producer of There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, Shallow Hal, Me, Myself and Irene, and Stuck on You.
As a means to give fans and alumni an opportunity to remain a part of the ECAC Hockey family, the league offers a variety of opportunities, including a television package, conference Web site, and a new Weekly Radio Show for the upcoming 2011-12 season.
As for the future, it is clear that ECAC Hockey shall continue to occupy its spot among ice hockey's elite conferences.