THE MICHIGAN DAILY
TUESDAY, AUGUST 24,196!5'
PAGE SIX THE MICHIGAN DAILY TUESDAY, AUGUST ~4. 1965
HOCKEY COACH VIEWS SEASON:
'Young Team, Tough League'
By JIM TINDALL
"The Western College Hockey
Association plays the best ama-
teur hockey in the world, and we
finished fifth in that conference,
so I'm not real disappointed,"
said Coach Al Renfrew, reflecting
upon the past season.
Michigan wound up behind'
Michigan State in dramatic fin-
ish that held the four WCHA
playoff teams in ?doubt until the
last weekend of the season.
The league lived up to the old
adage that "any team can beat
any other team on any given
night." Denver found this out the
hard way as Coach Murray Arm-
strong's squad, which he con-
sidered stronger than last year's
runnerups to Michigan's NCAA
champs, won only four WCHA
games. Colorado College, which
beat Boston College, the 1965
NCAA runnerups to WCHA champ
Michigan Tech, could win 'only
two games in the rugged confer-
The season was certainly not
without its bright spots for the
Wolverines. Michigan's master-
ful center, Mel Wakabayashi, who
was elected 1965 captain and most
valuable player, won the WCHA
individual scoring championship
and was selected on the Western
All -America team. M i c h i g a n
brought home some hardware
from the East Coast over Christ-
mas vacation as the Blue walked
away with the Boston College
tourney by beating Harvard,
Northeastern and Boston College,
the NCAA runnerup.
The Wolverines continued to
play the powerhouse hockey that
won them so much attention last
season as they romped over a
rugged Cornell team early in Jan-
uary, 7-1. Upon their return to
Ann Arbor, the Wolverines re-en-
tered WCHA play.
Michigan held the second and
third spots, in the conference for
several weeks, but was unable to
win the big games that would put
them over the top of the .500
mark. According to Renfrew, the
turning point in the season was
the Michigan State series the
first week of February. The Wol-
verines had won five out of six
games going into that home-away
series, but those games were all
played in the short space of nine
This left the icers exhausted,
and they were not able to get up
for either game, losing 7-2 and
6-4. Michigan had a two goal lead
in the second game but wasn't
able to hold it in the late periods
Michigan had to play Minnesota
in a two-game away series while
the Spartans met Colorado Col-
lege, WCHA cellar-dweller.
The Wolverines knew what was
at stake when they went to Min-
neapolis but they were still un-
able to come up with a big victory.
Musing on the first game of that
series, Renfrew said, "The boys
played as well in that game as
A Tough League Means Rough Action
and second leading scorer, Alex
Hood, starting wing, Marty Read,
the other wing on the Martin-
Hood line, and Pete Dechaine. The
effect of the losses will, of course
affect nextyear's squad, butthey
might not be a disasterous as the
losses sustained by the 1964-65
Coming on to captain the team
this season will be Wakabayashi,
of Chatham, Ontario, who with an
extra year of experience under
his belt could be the terror of the
league. The "Mighty Mite," who
tips the scales at 155 pounds,
played the entire WCHA season
without incurring a single penalty.
Wakabayashi, whose name gives
PA announcers fits, has to be rat-
ed as one of the most colorful
and clean players in Michigan
Returning on defense will be a
much-improved Teddy "Bear"
Henderson and Hank Brand. Both
players drew high praise from
Renfrew, and much is expected of
them for the coming season. All-
America Tom Polonic, who has
been the 220-pound bulwark of
the defense for the past two sea-
sons, will also be returning, as will
two-year veteran Barry MacDon-
A strong forward can be found
tn junior Mark Thompson, who
came on strong at the end of the
season and copped the Dekers
Booster Club's Rookie of the Year
At goalie the Blue will have
Greg Page, a junior who had a
nearly impossible Job last year of
filling in for Bob Gray. Page
picked up some rapid seasoning
at the first of the year, and play-
ed "extremely well" in Boston, but
after that, and with the tough
WCHA competition, Page's play
was somewhat less consistent than
Renfrew would have liked.
Renfrew explained, "The entire
game of hockey revolves around
the goalie. A team has to have
confidence in their netminder to
play a good offensive game. Our
style when we won the national
title was wide open, and we had
to reverse that last year when we
had such a lot of young players.
This is hard to do in one season
and our defensive lapses were par-I
tially due to this.
"We had a group of about sev-
en players that were in their first'
conference last year, and with a
year of experience they can be
"This year's team will also be
a different squad tlan we have
had for a number of years. We
will be a young team, and our
workouts will be centered more
(Continued on Page 9)
as -MSU vaulted into third place
in the WCHA just a hair behind
The Wolverines then had a
week off before a rematch with
the Spartans. That game was
considered a "must" by the icers
and going out on the ice with that
in mind the Wolverines clobbered
State by a 7-2 margin.
With' only four games left in
the season the outcome of the
WCHA was anything but definite.
North Dakota was solidly en-
trenched in first place with Mich-
igan Tech and Minnesota hot on
the heels of the Sioux.
In the battle that was raging
for the fourth spot Michigan held
a .022 percentage edge over State,
and both teams had a home series
left with Michigan Tech, but
they did all season. I thought that
was one. that we -had won, but I
guess we won some we shouldn't
have, but that's hockey."
Michigan outplayed Minnesota
in the first game according to
Renfrew. and held a one-goal lead
in the first period, but was un-
able to hold that margin and
wound up on the short end of a
5-4 score; however, Tech bested
the Spartans in East Lansing to
keep Wolverines playoff hopes
Saturday night was a near re-
peat performance as the same
combination of wins and defeats
left the icers precariously perched
in the fourth spot of the WCHA
by .021 percentage points. This set
the stage for the last weekend of
action as the Spartans faced
Colorado while Michigan had to
tackle Michigan Tech.
The Tigers were unable to live
up their mascot, while Michigan
took two games on the chin from
the Huskies to eliminate Michigan
from the WCHA playoffs. These
losses also cost the Wolverines
their chance to repeat as NCAA
champions, a title they held in
Michigan played the entire sea-
son with only one senior on the
team, Dave Newton, and loses
four players to the WCHA eligi-
bility rule-Wilf Martin, captain
How Long Must This
Curse of Victor Continue?
It's a sad thing to discover after three years and 89 credit hours
that you went to the wrong college. But I had this rueful revelation
when I checked the awesome winning records of Michigan's varsity
teams since I've inhabited Ann Arbor. Every single one is over .500.
You see I'm slightly perverse (that's the collegiate word for nuts)
for I'm a lover of losers. I can't help it, they just fascinate me. Some
people collect their kicks in numismatism and philatelism. Others
adore milking cows, feeding pigeons, taking out contorted appendixes
(or is it appedices), or planting zinnias and petunias. Humans are
a screwy sort of fauna.
But my passion is for also-rans, guys who stink but still retain
their own distinctive smell. I'm the kind of nut who keeps hoping that
Studebaker will outsell Chevy next year, and I yearn for the day
when Adlai will finally make it to the White House. I've even got soft
spots (admittedly, rather microscopic ones) for folks like Ken Keat-
ing, Madame Nhu, Charles Van Doren, Ming, Richard Burton's first
wife, and Ringo's barber.
Which brings me back to the sorry specter of Michigan sports.
One of the reasons I chose to come to Michigan was because it
had a lousy football team. I remember three years ago how joyful I
felt when I told people I was coming to Ann Arbor and they said,
"Isn't it Michigan State that always has the great football teams?"
Man, was I cocky when I came up here so confident that I'd be
greeted by a miserable football team I could really root for, a team
that would be the Chicago Cardinals of college ball.
Well, thank goodness Bump's boys didn't disappoint me-that
year. There were some guys on that team who sent blissful shivers
down my'spine-they were that inept. One hero I'll never forget is
the fullback. There was a football player. So help me, if I was putting
together a pro franchise, he'd be my number one draft choice. His
nickname was Cowboy because he was bowlegged and is alleged to
have worn spurs on his football shoes one day in practice.
You wouldn't call him exactly a bulldozing type of back. As a
matter of fact some folks claim he was felled by a stray hot, dog
wrapper in the Ohio State game, but this isn't true. He just tripped
Then there was Wrong Way, the halfback on that immortal team.
He often seemed rather confused about which way the team was going.
The fellow had the blinding speed of a Sumu wrestler-but he always
found daylight. The quarterback would make the routine handoff for
a slant off tackle. He would grab the ball, look at the vanishing hole
and aburptly turn around. Seeing an empty field ahead of him he
would take off. Let me tell you, the Wolverine quarterback made more
tackles that year than both guards and the center.
Fateful Yea i...
But Cowboy and Wrong Way graduated that fateful year and none
of the green sophomores could- take their place. The football team
started a rebuilding program which culminated in last year's hor-
rendous Rose Bowl victory. That 1964 team was disgustingly good
and-damn it all-this season's team might be even better. Why
Cowboy would be a fourth stringer on this squad even if he wore
spurs to practice every day.
But the shattering football renaissance isn't the half of my
misery. In basketball they didn't even give me the pleasure of one
losing season. Wouldn't you know it. The year I arrive Bill Buntin
becomes a sophomore. Not only that, Cazzie Russell and Oliver Darden
are entering freshman eagers to make Michigan a basketball colossus.
It's enough to drive you to Wheaties.
Well, you know the sordid story. Suddenly the Wolverines forsook
the blessed cellar and ruined my winter months. How can you really
root for a team that's'so beautifully brutish and graceful.
This isn't all. The hockey team wins a national championship
two years ago, the track team makes the Big Ten in '64, the gym-
nastics team cops the NCAA in '63 and the conference title every year
since 1960, and those wretched wrestlers hardly ever lose. Thank
goodness for Indiana or the swim team would. have three champion-
ships too. And of course the baseball boys have been runners up in
the Big Ten the last two years just to rub it in.
Do I sound bitter? Good. How long must this curse of victory
continue? Why, people have forogotten how to burn coaches in
effigy on this euphoric campus. They say the alumni haven't com-
plained in years. How long can this morbidly tranquil era of good
The frightful truth is that there is no end in sight for the Mich-
igan victory trail.
It's enough to make you transfer to Michigan State. Of course,
with my luck Duffy Daugherty would probably wind up number one
in the nation.
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