Friday, July 9, 2010
July by the Numbers takes us back to school with jersey #9.
The University of Maine hockey program was founded in 1977 and joined the Division II Eastern College Athletic Conference and the conference was upgraded to Division I in 1979. The Black Bears remained in the ECAC through the 1983-84 season before leaving to join the newly formed Hockey East conference.
Hockey East was formed in response to the fear that the Ivy League schools in the ECAC would leave that conference to form their own new league, which it turned out never came to pass.
With traditional college hockey powers Boston College, Boston University and Providence in the league, Hockey East gained immediate respectability and began it's first season with seven member clubs, which included the Black Bears.
It was tough going for Maine that first season in Hockey East, finishing a distant last with a 2-26-0 record under new coach Shawn Walsh. 1986-87 saw improvement with their first winning record in Hockey East, a 19-12-1 mark, good for third in the league followed by a stellar 20-4-2 record to win the league's regular season title in 1987-88 and made it to the national semifinals. While they placed second in the 1988-89 regular season, Maine captured it's first Hockey East playoff championship that season and again advanced to the Frozen Four.
The team remained a strong contender, with second place finishes the following two seasons, which included another Frozen Four appearance in 1991 before again winning both the Hockey East regular season and playoff championship in 1991-92 behind Hobey Baker Award winner Scott Pellerin.
The arrival of Canadian Paul Kariya from Vancouver and the goaltending duo of Garth Snow (21-0-1) and Mike Dunham (21-1-1) led the Black Bears to a memorable season. Kariya became the first freshman to win the Hobey Baker Award following his 33 goals and 91 assists for 124 points in just 51 games as Maine destroyed all before them, going 42-1-2, (with their only loss coming in overtime) winning the Hockey East regular season and playoff championship, as well as taking the first NCAA national championship in school and Hockey East history after staging a come from behind win after entering the third period trailing the defending champion Lake Superior State Lakers 4-2 when Jim Montgomery scored a hat trick, all on assists from Kariya, to propel Maine to the title.
Paul Kariya of Maine
Following the 1992-93 championship, Maine win the Hockey East regular season title in 1995, the conference playoff title in 2000 and 2004 and made it to the national championship final again in 1995 against Hockey East rival Boston University, won their second championship in 1999 (captained by Paul Kariya's brother Steve Kariya) and again reached the championship final in 2002 and 2004 in seven Frozen Four appearances.
Hockey East members have won the national championship a total of seven times, two by Maine in 1993 and 1999, two by Boston University in 1995 and 2009 and three by Boston College in 2001, 2008 and 2010, giving Hockey East, and the city of Boston, the last three in a row.
Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 University of Maine Black Bears Paul Kariya jersey. This jersey has to be one of the Holy Grails of college hockey jerseys. Not only is this University of Maine jersey one of the most gorgeous, traditional looking jerseys, but it was worn by a college hockey legend, Paul Kariya, a 15 year NHL veteran who is just 11 points shy of 1,000 for his professional career.
The classic matching "Northwestern" stripes on the waist and arms, as well as the colored shoulder yoke with white trim by all rights should be the standard template for all hockey teams. When done in it's two shades of blue with white trim, it only gets more attractive. Add in the collegiate script logo on the front and it's nothing short of perfection.
Today's video features players from the 1993 national championship team recalling the title game and their third period comeback.
Next, an interview with Jim Montgomery and Paul Kariya, who teamed up to capture the 1993 National Championship for Maine, the first for Hockey East.
Finally, a look at the ridiculous skills Kariya possessed in college.