Historic Upsets and Wins: Memorable Moments in Harvard History

Harvard hockey history

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in the United States. With its rich history and impressive academic achievements, it is not surprising that Harvard also has a notable history in sports, particularly in hockey. Over the years, the Harvard Crimson hockey team has seen its fair share of ups and downs, but among those moments, there are some that stand out as truly historic and memorable. In this article, we will discuss some of the most significant upsets and wins in Harvard hockey history, highlighting the team’s resilience and success in the face of adversity.

The Birth of a Rivalry: Harvard vs. Yale

In the world of college sports, rivalries are a crucial aspect that adds excitement and passion to the games. The rivalry between Harvard University and Yale University is no different, and it also holds a significant place in the history of Harvard hockey. The Harvard-Yale hockey rivalry dates back to the late 19th century, and it is known as the oldest rivalry in college hockey. The first official game between the two teams took place in 1898, and since then, they have faced each other more than 200 times on the ice.

One of the most memorable moments of this historic rivalry came in 1963 when the Harvard hockey team pulled off a stunning upset against Yale. The Crimson had a dismal record that season, winning only two games out of their 22-game season, with 19 losses and one tie. On the other hand, Yale was having a fantastic season, with 20 wins and only one loss. But in their match-up against Harvard, the unthinkable happened. Despite the odds stacked against them, the Crimson team played with a fierce determination, and in a stunning turn of events, they emerged victorious against their fierce rivals with a score of 7-6. This upset, known as the Miracle at the Whale, is still talked about among Harvard hockey fans, showcasing the resilience and never-say-die attitude of the team.

Reclaiming the ECAC One of the most memorable moments in Harvard hockey history came in 1989 when the Crimson team claimed the ECAC title after a 13-year dry spell. The ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) is one of the most prominent conferences in college hockey, and winning the title is a significant achievement. Harvard had a strong team that season, with legendary coach Bill Cleary leading the way. They faced off against four-time defending champion St. Lawrence University in the final game, and it was a nail-biting match that went into double overtime. In the end, it was Harvard who came out on top, winning the game 4-3 and claiming the ECAC title after 13 years. This victory marked a turning point for the Crimson hockey program, and it also put them back on the map as one of the top teams in the ECAC.

Making History with Four Straight Beanpot Titles

The Beanpot tournament is a prestigious event in the world of college hockey, featuring four of the most prominent Boston-based universities: Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern. The Harvard hockey team has been a regular participant in the Beanpot and has had its fair share of success in the tournament. However, in 1993, the Crimson team made history by becoming the first team in the tournament’s history to win four consecutive titles. This feat had never been achieved before and has not been duplicated since, cementing Harvard’s place as one of the top college hockey programs in the country.

Championship Controversy and an Inspiring Comeback

In 2017, Harvard hockey made headlines once again, but this time it was for all the wrong reasons. The Crimson team was set to face off against rival Minnesota-Duluth in the finals of the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, with the winner being crowned the national champion. Harvard had a strong season, and they were considered the favorites to win the game. However, controversy struck just before the match, with four of Harvard’s best players suspended for breaking team rules. This left the team in a precarious situation, facing their opponents without key players on the ice.

Despite the odds stacked against them, the Harvard hockey team showed tremendous resilience and determination, putting up an inspiring fight against Minnesota-Duluth. In an intense and emotional game that went into overtime, the Crimson team managed to tie the score and force a shootout. Led by their captain, Alexander Kerfoot, Harvard pulled off a stunning upset, defeating the heavily favored Minnesota-Duluth to win the national championship. This historic victory is a testament to the unwavering spirit and determination of the Harvard hockey team.

Honoring the Fallen: Remembering 9/11

In the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Harvard hockey team found a meaningful way to honor the victims and show their support for the country. In a game against Dartmouth, the Crimson players took to the ice wearing jerseys featuring the names of the victims from the attacks. They participated in a pre-game ceremony, paying tribute to the fallen and showing their solidarity with the nation. The gesture was met with a standing ovation from the crowd, and it was a powerful moment in Harvard hockey history, showcasing the team’s unity and compassion.

In Conclusion

From epic upsets against fierce rivals to historic wins and inspiring comebacks, Harvard hockey has seen it all. These memorable moments in the team’s history serve as a testament to the resilience, determination, and spirit of the Crimson hockey program. As they continue to strive for excellence on the ice, one thing is for sure, Harvard hockey will continue to make its mark as one of the most prominent and respected teams in college hockey.


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