1952–53 Michigan Wolverines men's ice hockey season

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1952–53 Michigan Wolverines men's ice hockey season
National Champion
1953 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, Champion
Conference Midwest Collegiate Hockey League
Home ice Ann Arbor Coliseum
Overall 17–7–0
Coaches and Captains
Head Coach Vic Heyliger
Captain(s) John Matchefts
Michigan Wolverines men's ice hockey seasons
« 1951–52 1953–54 »

The 1952–53 Michigan Wolverines men's ice hockey team represented the University of Michigan in college ice hockey. In its ninth year under head coach Vic Heyliger, the team compiled a 17–7–0 record, outscored opponents 139 to 71, and won the 1953 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament.[1] The season was the third consecutive, and the fourth overall under Vic Heyliger, in which the Michigan hockey team won the NCAA championship. The team also finished the regular season in at tie with Minnesota as the co-champion of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League.[2]

Individual accomplishments[edit]

Team captain John Matchefts, a senior from Eveleth, Minnesota, was the leading scorer with 48 points on 18 goals and 30 assists. Five members of the team were selected as first-team All-Americans: George Chin, Willard Ikola, John Matchefts, Alex MacLellan, and Reg Shave.[3]

Michigan left wing Johnny McKennell, a senior from Toronto, was suspended for the remainder of the season after he allegedly punched referee Milo Yalich in Denver, Colorado, following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Denver Pioneers on December 23, 1952. McKennell was accused of slugging Yalich three times while disputing Denver's game-winning overtime goal. Athletic director Fritz Crisler announced the suspension after receiving a notarized report from the president of the Rocky Mountain Hockey Officials Association in early January 1953.[4][5][6] McKennell denied hitting the referee and claimed that he was the victim of a plot by Colorado College coach Cheddy Thompson to "get even" with Michigan coach Vic Heyliger. Heyliger opined that the suspension was too severe, noting that McKennell had no prior disciplinary action in three years and the evidence was conflicting as to whether McKennell even hit Yalich. Heyliger noted, "This has ruined Johnny's whole college career."[7]

Right winger Earl Keyes, who served as captain of the 1951–52 Michigan hockey team, graduated in January 1953 and played his final game for the Wolverines on January 17, 1953. At the time, The Michigan Daily called Keyes "[o]ne of the best players in Michigan hockey history" and praised him for his versatility. Keyes played at the center position for two-and-a-half years, moved to right wing in 1952, appeared in several games as a defensemen, and even played at the goalie position for two games. In two games at goalie, he had 49 saves in back-to-back victories over Michigan Tech during the 1950-51 season.[8]

1953 NCAA Tournament[edit]

In the 1953 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, Michigan and Minnesota were invited to represent the west, and Boston University and Rensselaer Polytechnic were invited to represent the east. In the first round, the Wolverines defeated the Boston University Terriers by a 14-2 score.[9]

In the championship game, Michigan faced Minnesota before a capacity crowd of 2,700 at Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[10] Michigan and Minnesota had played four games in the regular season, with Minnesota winning three of the four contests. In mid-February, the Golden Gophers had swept a two-game series in Minneapolis by scores of 5-2 and 4-0.[9]

Minnesota led 2-1 at the end of the first period of the championship game. Jim Haas gave Michigan a 1-0 lead with a goal at the 5:48 mark of the opening period (assist by Alex MacLellan), but Minnesota took the lead on goals by Dick Meredith and Dick Dougherty. In the second period, Michigan scored two goals to take a 3-2 lead. Doug Philpott scored at the 6:15 mark (with an assist by Reg Shave) to tie the score at 2-2, and Doug Mullen put Michigan in the lead with a goal at the 11:08 mark (with assists by George Chin and Pat Cooney). Michigan added three goals in the first ten minutes of the third period to extend the lead to 6-2. John Matchefts scored an unassisted power play goal at 3:38 of the third period; JIm Haas added an unassisted goal at the 7:17 mark; and Doug Philpott scored on a power play at 9:14 with an assist from Haas. Minnesota scored on a goal by Yackel at 10:42, and Matchefts closed out the scoring with an empty net goal with 11 second left in the game (assist by Philpott). With four goals in the third period, Michigan won its third consecutive NCAA championship, defeating the Golden Gophers by a 7-3 score.[11]

Alex McLellan and John Matchefts were chosen for the first-team All-Tournament Team. Matchefts was named the Most Outstanding Player in the tournament.[3]


Date Opponent Score Result Location
Dec. 6, 1952 St. Lawrence 6-1 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Dec. 13, 1952 Toronto 6-3 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Dec. 19, 1952 Colorado College 3-2 Win Colorado Springs, CO
Dec. 20, 1952 Colorado College 10-6 Win Colorado Springs, CO
Dec. 22, 1952 Denver 5-2 Win Denver, CO
Dec. 23, 1952 Denver 4-5 (OT) Loss Denver, CO
Jan. 7, 1953 Michigan State 6-0 Win East Lansing, MI[12]
Jan. 9, 1953 Montreal 13-2 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI[13]
Jan. 10, 1953 Montreal 1-2 Loss Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI[14]
Jan. 14, 1953 Michigan State 10-2 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI[15]
Jan. 16, 1953 Minnesota 3-4 Loss Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Jan. 17, 1953 Minnesota 5-4 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Feb. 11, 1953 Michigan State 4-0 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI[16]
Feb. 13, 1953 Minnesota 2-5 Loss Minneapolis, MN
Feb. 14, 1953 Minnesota 0-4 Loss Minneapolis, MN
Feb. 20, 1953 North Dakota 5-3 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Feb. 21, 1953 North Dakota 8-3 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Feb. 27, 1953 McGill 0-7 Loss Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
Feb. 28, 1953 McGill 1-2 Loss Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
March 4, 1953 Michigan State 8-4 Win East Lansing, MI
March 6, 1953 Michigan Tech 8-3 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
March 7, 1953 Michigan Tech 10-2 Win Coliseum, Ann Arbor, MI
March 13, 1953 Boston University 14-2 Win Broadmoor Arena
Colorado Springs, CO
March 14, 1953 Minnesota 7-3 Win Broadmoor Arena
Colorado Springs, CO
139–71 17–7–0

Roster and scoring statistics[edit]

No Name Year Position Hometown Goals Assists Pts
1 Willard Ikola Jr. G Eveleth, Minnesota
1 William G. Lucier Soph. G Windsor, Ontario
2 James J. Haas Sr. D Nipawin, Saskatchewan
4 John Matchefts Sr. F Eveleth, Minnesota 18 30 48
5 Douglas B. "Burt" Dunn Soph. D Montreal, Quebec
6 George E. Chin Jr. F Lucknow, Ontario
7 Donald Earle Keyes Sr. F Tiverton, Ontario
8 Patrick J. Cooney Jr. F Riverside, Ontario
10 John H. McKennell Sr. F Toronto, Ontario
12 Douglas M. Philpott Jr. F Sarnia, Ontario
14 Telesforo A. "Telly" Mascarin Soph. F Windsor, Ontario
15 Ronald M. Martinson Sr. F Eveleth, Minnesota
16 Louis B. Paolatto Jr. D Windsor, Ontario
17 Reginald E. "Reg" Shave Jr. D Yorkton, Saskatchewan
18 Alexander D. MacLellan Sr. D Montreal, Quebec
19 Douglas C. Mullen Jr. F Grass Lake, Michigan

Albert P. Pickus, a senior from Sioux City, Iowa, was awarded the Manager's "M" for his service as the team's manager.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Michigan Hockey Record Book" (PDF). University of Michigan. pp. 2, 6, 7. 
  2. ^ "Wrestlers Win Big Ten Title: Track, Swimming Teams Place Second in Conference Meets While Michigan Hockey Sextet Shares League Crown". The Michigan Alumnus. March 14, 1953. pp. 294–295. 
  3. ^ a b "Michigan Hockey Record Book" (PDF). University of Michigan. pp. 16–17. 
  4. ^ "Michigan Icemen Meet Spartan Sextet Tonight". The Michigan Daily. January 7, 1953. p. 3. 
  5. ^ "McKennell Draws Year Suspension". The Windsor Star. January 10, 1953. p. 19. 
  6. ^ "Charge Wolve Hockey Ace Struck Referee". The Milwaukee Sentinel. December 26, 1952. p. Part 2, page 2. 
  7. ^ Ed Whipple (January 10, 1953). "Hockey Wing Draws Ban For Season". The Michigan Daily. p. 1. 
  8. ^ Dave Baad (January 16, 1953). "Right Wing Keyes Plays Final Game Tomorrow". The Michigan Daily. 
  9. ^ a b Michigan Hockey Record Book (Part I: Through the Year), p. 6.
  10. ^ Michigan Hockey Record Book (Part II: Team History), p. 8.
  11. ^ "Michigan Six Keeps N.C.A.A. Crown, 7-3". The New York Times. March 15, 1953. 
  12. ^ Paul Greenberg (January 8, 1953). "Michigan Pucksters Blank MSC, 6-0". The Michigan Daily. p. 1. 
  13. ^ Hanley Gurwin (January 10, 1953). "Icers Trounce Montreal, 13-2". The Michigan Daily. p. 1. (eight Michigan goals in the first period; hat tricks by both George Chin and Doug Mullen)
  14. ^ Bob Margolin (January 11, 1953). "Montreal Stuns Michigan Icemen". The Michigan Daily. p. 1. 
  15. ^ Paul Greenberg (January 15, 1953). "Wolverine Puckmen Rip State, 10-2". The Michigan Daily. p. 1. 
  16. ^ "Michigan Pucksters Blank MSC, 4-0". The Michigan Daily. February 12, 1953. p. 1. 
  17. ^ "Athletic Awards For 1952-53 Winter Sports". The Michigan Alumnus. April 11, 1953. p. 327.