Hockey came to the United States in 1895, having been brought here by a group of collegians who had learned the game in Canada. Before that time ice polo, which was played with short sticks with rounded ends and a rubber ball, was popular in the United States and had been enjoyed informally by the colleges for several years, and at Brown was taken up in the winter of 1894 by a team which within a week won three games. The first game was a 4-2 victory over East Greenwich Academy which took place on February 19 in East Greenwich. On February 22 a team lead by Malcolm Chace 1896 and Alexander Meiklejohn 1893 (who had already graduated) played two twenty-minute halves against the Cambridge Polo Team, composed of mostly of Harvard men and considered the champion amateur team of Massachusetts, at the Ten Mile River and won 4-0. The third game was also played against the Cambridge team, this time at Spy Pond before one hundred spectators. The teams played four twenty-minute parts, and Brown scored seven goals, prompting the Brown Daily Herald to conclude, “The establishment of a polo club at Brown has proved a very fortunate move.” In the summer of 1894 some American and Canadian tennis players who met at a tournament in Niagara Falls were comparing the Canadian game of ice hockey with the American game of ice polo. The outcome was an invitation for a United States ice polo team to visit Canada and try out both games. A series of games was arranged, to be held in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto during the Christmas vacation of 1894-95. The United States team members included Brown men Byron Watson 1897, William Jones 1896, George Matteson 1896, and Alexander Meiklejohn 1893, then a graduate student, Yale men A. C. Foote and Malcolm Chace (who had transferred from Brown to Yale in 1894), F. H. Clarkson of Harvard, and Billy Larned of Columbia. They were accompanied by George Wright (founder of the athletic equipment distributor, Wright and Ditson) as organizer/manager and Associated Press man C. M. Page. Seven men played on a side when the game was hockey, five when it was polo. Each evening the teams played two periods of polo and hockey and broke even, as each team won at its own game. However, the United States team became converted to hockey and brought back with them the flat skates, puck, longer sticks, and rules of the Canadian game. Brown continued to play ice polo. In 1896 Harvard defeated Brown 5-4 in ice polo on Spy Pond in Arlington, and the next winter Harvard won again 5-0 in Roger Williams Park.
On January 19, 1898, on Franklin Field in Boston, the first game of intercollegiate ice hockey in the United States was played by Harvard and Brown. Members of the Brown team were Jesse Pevear 1899, Irving Hunt 1899, Charles Cooke 1899, Horace Day ’01, Harris Bucklin ’00, Robert Steere ’01, and Albert Barrows 1898. They brought no substitutes with them. On the Harvard side was George Matteson ’96, who was then a student at Harvard Medical School. Brown won 6-0, and Horace Day was the first to score a goal in United States intercollegiate hockey. On the occasion of the Brown hockey team’s visit to Harvard’s new Donald C. Watson Rink in 1957, the Brown Club of Boston presented a plaque which commemorated the first game and generously omitted the score. On January 29 Brown defeated Yale 1-0 in a hard fought game at the Clermont Avenue Rink in Brooklyn, the first of a series of games between Brown, Columbia, and Yale, in competition for a trophy offered by Mr. Ireland of the Skating Club of Brooklyn. In this series Brown defeated Columbia 3-1, tied Yale 0-0, and in the decisive game beat Yale 2-1 to become the intercollegiate champions. In the meantime Brown suffered a 9-0 loss in a game with the New York Athletic Club at the St. Nicholas Rink. In 1901 the Brown team, although twice defeated by Harvard, won all of its league games against Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania, before losing the two final games for the league championship to Yale. Brown’s early success in hockey was short-lived, and the team lost sixteen straight games from 1904 to 1906. Hockey at Brown was discontinued and was dormant for twenty years.
A report of the renewal of hockey at Brown in the Boston American in January 1923, which announced a new Brown team with Quentin Reynolds ’24 as coach, was only a rumor. In 1925 the Rhode Island Auditorium, the first indoor artificial ice rink in the area, was built on North Main Street in Providence, sparking a renewed interest in hockey as the Rhode Island Reds competed in the Canadian-American Hockey League. Brown students organized class teams which played each other in the new arena, and regained official recognition from the University in 1926, when James H. Gardner, the coach of the Reds, was hired to coach the new Brown team. The 1926-27 team lost its first two games, but ended the season with a 4-4 record. Jean Dubuc, a former major league baseball pitcher, then general manager of the Reds, coached in 1927-28 (4-8) and 1928-29 (8-5), and was followed in 1929 by Tom Taylor who later became Athletic Director at Brown. Taylor’s first two teams, which boasted such players as Philip Lingham ’30, Westcott Moulton ’31, G. Edward Crane ’31, and Alden R. Walls ’31, won eight, lost three, and tied one in 1929-30, and in 1930-31 had a 9-1 record, losing only to Dartmouth. Tom’s brother, Bobby Taylor, who played for the Reds, coached for two years before Tom took over again in 1933. Another team to remember was that of 1935-36, which, although beset with injuries, managed a season of seven wins and five losses. The high point of the season was the game which Harvard won, 3-0, in spite of 76 saves by Jack Skillings ’37. The next year Skillings made 50 saves as Brown beat Yale for the first time in 35 years, 3-2 in overtime. Art Lesieur, who also played for the Reds, coached in 1938-39, but the next year hockey was discontinued again for financial reasons.
During the war years some informal hockey at Brown was kept alive by teams organized by Frank Mazzeo, the campus barber. In 1946 an informal team coached by Mazzeo, having been denied the use of the college name, played under the name of “Providence Clippers.” An outdoor rink, the gift of the Providence Brown Club, was built just north of Marvel Gymnasium and used for practice. Hockey became an officially recognized sport in 1947-48 with Westcott E. S. Moulton 1931, former star player for Brown, as coach. In its first official season since 1939, the team won five of its thirteen games. The 1948-49 team finished with a 7-7 record. Against each Pentagonal League rival, Brown won one, lost one, and the League ranking at season’s end was Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Yale. One event of the 1948-49 season which gained national attention was Whiston’s face mask. In those days before goalie masks were worn, Don Whiston ’50 suffered an injury when a puck hit him in the mouth during a game with Princeton. Dr. G. Edward Crane ’35, doctor for Brown’s athletic teams, proceeded to design a mask for Whiston, which would protect him without blocking his vision. Whiston, the first college goalie to wear a mask, wore Crane’s invention for the rest of his college career. In 1949-50 Brown won the Pentagonal league championship with a 7-2 record in league play, losing to Dartmouth and Yale, but did not fare well in the national championship series in Colorado, with losses to Michigan, Colorado College, Boston College, and Boston University. Don Whiston was named number one goalie in the country by the Columbine Network. The next year’s team with Whiston, Don Sennott ’52, and All-American Bobby Wheeler ’52 defeated the defending champion, Colorado, 8-4, and lost to Michigan, 7-1 in the finals. Whiston’s awards included first string tournament goalie, most valuable tournament player, All-Ivy League first string goalie, first goalie on the Player’s All-Star Hockey Team in 1949-50 and second in 1950-51. Brown was second in the Pentagonal league in 1951-52 behind Yale, and lost to Boston University in the New England Playoffs. In 1954-55 Whiston coached the team to a 9-8-1 record. Whiston’s three-season record from 1952 to 1954 was 28-27-1. The next year Jim Fullerton became Brown’s first full-time hockey coach. He resigned fifteen years later with a record of 170-166-9 and an Ivy League record of 58-26-3.
The opening of Meehan Auditorium in 1962 greatly improved Brown’s hockey prospects. In the new rink’s first season, there were 25 intramural hockey teams. In January 1965 at an invitational tournament held at Meehan Auditorium, in which the East was represented by Brown and Providence College and the West by Michigan State and Colorado College, Brown was the winner of its own tournament, defeating Michigan 6-2, and Colorado 6-5 in overtime. The 1964-65 team, led by All-American Bob Gaudreau ’66, Terry Chapman ’65 and Leon Bryant ’65, won the Ivy League championship and played in the NCAAs in Meehan Auditorium, losing to Michigan Tech, 0-4, and North Dakota, 5-9. F. Wayne Small ’68 made All-American in his senior year. The next Ivy League championship came in 1976 after a thirteen game winning streak, which ended with a 10-4 defeat of Yale and, in the final game of the season, an overtime 8-7 score against Dartmouth. In the opening round of the ECAC playoffs Brown defeated Dartmouth at Meehan Auditorium in a 5-4 sudden death decision. After defeating Cornell, 6-2, the team lost to Boston University, 2-9. Both Brown and Boston went to the NCAAs, where Brown lost to Michigan Tech, 6-7 in overtime, but had the pleasure of beating Boston University, 8-7. In four years under Coach Allen Soares the record was an unimpressive 33-44-1. In Soares’s final game on February 6, 1974, the team received eleven penalties, injured three Harvard players, and lost the game 6-1, all of which resulted in the replacement of Soares by freshman coach Dick Toomey. Coach Toomey’s record from 1974 to 1978 was 73-44-2. Goalie Kevin McCabe’s ’77 career record of 43-20 from 1974 to 1977 still stands. After Toomey, the coaching records, Paul Schilling’s (34-66-3) and Herbert Hammond’s (36-114-3) were less successful. In December of 1985 the Brown team became the first American hockey team to visit the People’s Republic of China, under the auspices of People to People, an organization which arranges international exchanges of students and athletes. The team played five games in Harbin, winning over teams from Harbin and Qiqihar, and losing twice to and tying once the Chinese national team. Robert Gaudet became coach in 1988. His 1990-91 team, after a seven-game winning streak, took the Ivy League title.
Hockey coaches at Brown have been James H. Gardner in 1926-27, Jean Dubuc from 1927 to 1929, Thomas W. Taylor from 1929 to 1932, Robert Taylor from 1931 to 1933, Thomas W. Taylor again from 1933 to 1938, and Arthur J. Lesieur in 1938-39. After seven years of no hockey at Brown and an informal team in 1946-47, the coaches were Westcott E. S. Moulton from 1947 to 1952, Donald Whiston from 1952 to 1955, James Fullerton from 1955 to 1970, J. Allan Soares from 1970 to 1974, Richard Toomey from 1974 to 1978, Paul Schilling from 1978 to 1982, Herbert Hammond from 1982 to 1988, and Bob Gaudet, whose four-year record frow 1988 to 1992 was 15-19-6.
Women’s Ice Hockey
Women’s ice hockey started at Brown in 1964. In that season the men’s coach, Jim Fullerton, arranged for Nancy Schieffelin ’67, an experienced hockey player disguised in full uniform, to join a team practice and show the men’s team how well a woman could play. This demonstration led to interest in hockey by other women students, and with the support of physical education director Arlene Gorton and the coaching of Sarah Phillips, eventually to the formation of the first women’s college ice hockey program in the United States. About twenty players learned to play hockey by practicing with the men’s team, and raised their own funds. One fund-raiser was a game against the men’s J.V. team, who played with brooms. The Pembroke team, coached by Jerry Crane ’68, lost to the Walpole Brooms by a score of 1-4 in February 1966. Two weeks later, on March 6, 1966, an improved Pembroke team lost, 1-2, in a rematch with the Brooms, in a sudden death overtime after the Pembroke goalie was pulled. Impressed by the fact that 300 people had come out at 6 p.m. on a Sunday to watch the game, the Brown Daily Herald, in an editorial on March 9, announced that Pembroke hockey had come of age and the team was in need of a suitable name. Dismissing “Cubs,” which was already used for men’s freshman teams, the Herald suggested “The Pembroke Pandas,” which sounded feminine, provided the proper alliteration, and “fits nicely into almost any headline space.” In a letter to the editor of the Herald on the next day, the Pembroke hockey team accepted it new name. Syriac Dupree ’69 coached the Pandas the next year. Barbara Jacobskind ’67, who had assisted Sarah Phillips, coached the women players between 1968 and 1970 with help from the men’s hockey team. For a while Pembroke had the only women’s ice hockey team in the United States and its only competition was with Canadian teams. The Pandas ventured into international competition in January 1968 in Kingston, Ontario, where they were overcome, 1-10, by an amateur Canadian team, the Humberside Omegas, and in a second game by the Golden Gals of Queen’s University, 1-4. In the Second Annual Loyola University Invitational Hockey Tournament for Women, held in Montreal in January 1970, the Pandas outshot Loyola’s team 30-0 and won 8-0. In the next game the Pandas were defeated, 2-3, by the McGill University team, which outshot them 36-6. McGill came to Brown to play in 1971. Meanwhile the Pandas used their contacts to encourage women’s teams to start in other American colleges, and improved their own prospects with the acquisition of Linda ’68 and Janet Fox ’70 from Canada, and Allison McMillan ’74 and Martha Schmitt ’76 from Minnesota. In 1972 the Pandas, with Tom Garland ’74 as coach, entered and won the Loyola Invitational Tournament by defeating Cornell 2-1 in overtime and Loyola 5-4 in double overtime, after Susie Barnes ’72 scored the tying goal with only three seconds left in regulation play. Marcia Hoffer ’71 coached with Tom Garland in 1972-73. In 1974 a team from John Abbott College of Quebec visited Brown, and was twice defeated by the Pandas. Steve Shea coached the women’s team from 1973 to 1989 with a record of 120-130-10. The Pandas tied with Cornell for the Ivy League championship in 1981 and won it outright in 1985. Amy Crafts ’81 was a four-time All-Ivy selection from 1979 to 1982. In their first ECAC tournament in 1985 the Pandas lost to the University of New Hampshire in the first round, while Mardie Corcoran ’86 was named ECAC player of the year. The next year the team, led by Corcoran and Lisa Bishop ’86, was the first Brown team ever to have an undefeated Ivy League season, but lost in the finals of the ECAC tournament to the University of New Hampshire. Shea was succeeded by Margaret DeGidio Murphy, whose three-year record is 27-34-2 overall, and 2-18-1 in the Ivy League.