"I felt we made a mistake in building a baseball field. I thought that should have been the ice skating rink, because I think hockey in this state right now, not just hockey, but ice skating, if you come up to our office building at 6:00 in the morning, some mornings you can't get a parking spot because parents have taken their kids up here to skate...I think hockey will be a great addition to our intercollegiate program. [The Pegula gift] is a great, great gift. And I think very far-sighted and I'm really pleased with it." - Joe Paterno

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breakout Past: La Vie of Penn State Hockey (Part II)


Here's the conclusion to the look at old Penn State yearbooks that I began last week. A couple reminders: my comments are in italics between rows of periods, and the "previous work" referenced throughout means the data generated from Daily Collegian archives that allowed me to produce a schedule/results page for the original varsity hockey team.

1942 La Vie (1941-42 season)

Coach.............................Art Davis
Captain.....................Larry Lightbody
Manager.........................John Clarke

VARSITY SQUAD

L. Lightbody, J. Dufford, E. Johnson, M. Fedock, T. Goodwin, B. Anthony, R. Hill, S. Sussman, A. Gladstone, W. Freesland, K. Herrick, T. Cauffman, R. Templin, J. Burford, J. Fisher, W. Bitner, D. Steva, A. Bitner, F. Bernbaum, T. Heberling

SEASON’S RECORD

Penn State.............7 Carnegie Tech..........0 Away
Penn State.............3 Georgetown.............5 Away
Penn State.............3 Carnegie Tech..........2 Away
Penn State.............5 St. Josephs............1 Away
Penn State.............4 Franklin and Marshall..1 Away
Penn State.............4 Lehigh.................2 Away

Penn State’s ice hockey players, without any home rink, and with practically no ice on which to practice, compiled another remarkable record under the coaching of Dr. Art Davis. Although six lettermen returned from last year, the majority of the squad was green, and the only practice session held were the actual games played.

Perhaps the outstanding player on the squad was Captain Larry Lightbody, the goalie. It was Lightbody’s steadiness which carried the icemen through to victory on many occasions, and it was this same expertness and steadiness which enabled the Lions to make a fine showing against the two non-college opponents on the schedule.

Only one college team was able to defeat the Penn State hockeymen. Georgetown handed the Lions a 5 to 3 defeat in an early season contest in Washington, D.C. College opponents defeated were Carnegie Tech (twice); St. Josephs College, F. and M., and Lehigh. Games were played in Hershey, Johnstown, Washington, D.C., and Youngstown, Ohio.

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The only discrepancy here is the presence of games against the Hershey Jr. Bears and the Navy All-Stars in my previous work, which is supported by recaps given in the 1/16/1942 and 3/12/1942 Daily Collegians.

That one is pretty easily explained by La Vie and its repeated qualifier of "college" games - they simply weren't counting those two tilts. While I understand the sentiment to consider them as exhibitions, they were never expressed as such in the Collegian, and playing non-college teams was not at all out of the ordinary at the time. In fact, the Jr. Bears are a former conference foe.

Since no dates and locations are given for the remaining games, I was only able to verify scores, opponents and sequence - all of which were dead on what I already had.


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1944 La Vie (1942-43 season)

Coach.............................Art Davis
Captain........................Ted Cauffman
Manager.......................Paul Panneton

VARSITY SQUAD

R. Bacher, F. Bernbaum, W. Bitner, J. Burford, T. Cauffman, A. Gladstone, R. Herr, B. Levy, J. McKechnie, S. Skuta, D. Steva, S. Sussman, B. White, E. Williams, H. Yocum

RECORD

Feb.  8 – Penn State.............4 Drexel.................0
Feb. 16 – Penn State.............4 Drexel.................1
Mar. 13 – Penn State.............0 Baltimore All-Stars...11
Mar. 14 – Penn State.............1 Washington All-Stars...5

The Penn State ice hockey team was limited to competition in only four games after several opponents dropped the sport for the duration.

In their first game of the winter season, after only two weeks of practice, the Nittany icers defeated the Drexel Engineers, 4 to 0. Acting Captain Cauffman pushed two goals past the Engineer cage watcher, which the other Lion wingman, Bernbaum, was credited with two assists in the game.

Two weeks later, the Penn State squad met the Drexel stickmen at Hershey and again sunk the Philadelphia team. This time the score was 4 to 1, with McGreger tallying the Drexel lone marker in the last period. Cauffman and Bernbaum again played excellently and they accounted for two markers each.

The regular season completed, the Lions then moved down to Balitmore to meet the Baltimore All-Stars in a game which saw the Nittanymen suffer a 11 to 0 defeat. The icers were completely outplayed by the fast All-Stars.

The stickmen met the Washington All-Stars on the next night in Washington, D.C. Again an All-Star squad proved too much for the Penn Staters, and they lost, 5 to 1. Captain Cauffman scored the lone tally for the Lions.

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Four games, and not only a confirmation of everything we knew, but some added detail - the scores of the pretty unsuccessful trip to the Baltimore-DC area.

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1944-46 La Vie (1943-44 season)

Ice hockey ran into the usual problem of keeping its outdoor rink in condition for competition, and succeeded in playing only two matches – both away from home. The pucksters were licked in both encounters, losing to Cornell and Army. Mild weather forced the postponement of all home matches.

SEASON OF 1944

Feb.  5 – Penn State.............1 Cornell................7 Away
Feb. 26 – Penn State.............3 Army..................18 Away

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Hockey wasn't the only extracurricular activity affected by World War II - La Vie also was suspended for the duration after the 1944 edition, then a consolidated 1944-46 volume was published once the war was over.

One of the advantages of games against still-active teams is that another source of information exists: media guides. Army's 2010-2011 version verifies their shellacking of PSU (overlooked by my Collegian search), while Cornell's insists that the score was 8, not 7, to 1.

While I do have two extra games in my records, unlike last week, I can definitively prove that they happened. First, here's the 12/17/43 Collegian on the game against the Jr. Bears on December 15th.



And here's the game against the Army Air Corps, from the 1/21/1944 edition.


Elsewhere in that same Collegian, this one was referred to as a "practice game," so feel free to assign it less weight than the other games if you wish. However, for the sake of completeness and because there isn't a consistent way to identify such games, I'm going to include it in the 1943-44 record.

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1947 La Vie (1946-47 season)

Coach..........................James O’Hora
Captain.......................Fred Bernbaum
Manager.......................Richard Yoder

LETTERMEN

Fred Bernbaum, Lloyd Black, Theodore Cauffman, John Egan, John Fast, Arthur Gladstone, Thomas Goodman, William Levy, Richard Neilson, Cliff Sullivan

RECORD

Jan. 18 – Penn State.............0 Colgate................14
Jan. 27 – (Game cancelled with Georgetown)
Jan. 29 – (Game cancelled with Lehigh)
Feb.  1 – (Game cancelled with Cornell)
Feb. 12 – Penn State.............3 Army...................12
Feb. 15 – Penn State.............4 Georgetown.............11
Feb. 22 – (Game cancelled with Colgate)

The Nittany Lion ice hockey team ran into bad luck with old man weather and opposing pucksters as Penn State’s first squad since 1943 took the ice. Seven games were scheduled to be played, but the cold weather didn’t come around at the right time and four contests had to be canceled. With practically no practice, the Lion puckmen took on three opponents and lost all games by decisive margins.

Jim O’Hora, new addition to the football coaching staff, was selected to head the hockeymen for the 1947 season. The return of veteran players helped very little as Colgate, Army and Georgetown sank the Blue and White pucksters. The first game was to be played on New Beaver Field, but the cold weather didn’t hold out and the contest was shifted to Hamilton, N.Y., where the Lions proceeded to drop a 14-0 game to a powerful and undefeated Colgate team.

Three games in succession were canceled with Georgetown, Lehigh and Cornell, and it wasn’t until February 12 that Penn State traveled to West Point to take on the Cadets. The Lions pushed three goals into the net, but Army in turn tallied 12 points to win the contest, 12 to 3. Three days later Penn State journeyed to Georgetown and dropped an 11 to 4 game to the Hoyas. The classic with Colgate on February 22 failed to materialize when the weather once more warmed to melt the ice.

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One minor conflict to close things out, the date of the Georgetown game, which stands (for now) as the last varsity game at Penn State.


The above is from the 3/6/1947 Collegian, and refers to the game as having happened "Monday night." March 6th was a Thursday that year, making Monday the 3rd.


I often wish that someone had thought to ask Jim O'Hora - who died in 2005 and is best known to people under 50 years old for his appearance in the Sensational Sixties football highlight video - about hockey. While he only coached three completed games and is generally forgotten as a hockey personality, I think he would've had some interesting thoughts on the closure of this chapter of PSU's hockey history. At the very least, he's good at explaining how the play-action pass beat Ohio State in 1964.

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