Thursday, January 19, 2012

1988-89 Harvard Crimson Peter Ciavaglia Jersey

The first collegiate hockey game in the oldest active rivalry in the United States was played on this date in 1898 when Brown University defeated Harvard University by a score of 6-0 in a game played outdoors at Franklin Field in Boston, Massachusetts.

1898 Brown University team, 1898 Brown University team
The 1898 Brown University hockey team, winners of the first collegiate game in the United States

Brown vs Harvard 1/19/1898, Brown vs Harvard 1/19/1898
The Boston Herald's account of the game

Brown would win again the following year by a score of 2-1, but Harvard would even the score in 1900 with a pair of wins over Brown in back to back games.

Brown, based in Providence, Rhode Island, originally played men's hockey from 1898 until 1906. They resumed play in 1926-27 through 1939 before taking an extended break during World War II.

1929-30 Brown Bears team, 1929-30 Brown Bears team
The 1929-30 Brown Bears

Play resumed in 1947 as an independent club until joining the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1961-62, where they have retained membership ever since. Notable seasons for Brown have included 1964-65, going 21-9, and the 1975-76 season which saw Brown finish with a record of 23-7.

1975-76 Brown Bears team, 1975-76 Brown Bears team
The 1975-76 Brown Bears

Their last NCAA appearance came in 1993, when they were defeated by Minnesota-Duluth in the first round. They came in third in 1976 following a 7-6 loss to Michigan Tech in two overtimes followed by an 8-7 win over Boston University. They took fourth in the nation in 1965 and were runners-up to Michigan back in 1951 following an 18-6 regular season.

Notable NHLers to have played for Brown include Curt Bennett, Tim Bothwell and Todd Simpson among the dozen Bears to have appeared in the NHL.

Curt Bennett, Curt Bennett
Curt Bennett while with Brown and later the Atlanta Flames

Harvard, meanwhile, played just the one game in 1898, but fielded a team continuously through 1916-17, taking a break of one year due to World War I.

Harvard Stadium 1910 Hockey, Harvard Stadium 1910 Hockey
Hockey at Harvard Stadium, circa 1910

Starting up again in 1918-19, played through 1942-43 before they too, suspended play during World War II, resuming again in 1945-46 after a two year hiatus.

1931 Harvard team, 1931 Harvard team
The 1931 Harvard Crimson hockey team

Harvard played as an independent until 1960-61 when the ECAC was formed due to the NCAA selection committee overlooking any Boston area schools, which prompted the formation of the ECAC, with the conference tournament champion earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Crimson has won the regular season conference title ten times, with a period of dominance from 1985-86 to 1993-94 seeing them win 7 times in 9 seasons, the first four of those won consecutively under long time coach and 1960 United States gold medalist Bill Cleary, who ran the program from 1971 to 1990.

Bill Cleary, Bill Cleary
Longtime Crimson head coach Bill Cleary

Additionally, Harvard has won the ECAC post season tournament 8 times in 1963, 1971, 1983, 1987, 1994, 2002, 2004 and 2006. Harvard has made the NCAA tournament 21 times, winning the national championship in overtime in 1989 and posting runner-up finishes in 1983 and 1986. Most recently, the qualified five years running, from 2002 until 2006.

Krayer 1989 Harvard NCAA, Krayer 1989 Harvard NCAA
Ed Krayer scores the overtime goal to win the national championship in 1989

Lane MacDonald 2, Lane MacDonald 2
Team Captain Lane MacDonald with the 1989 NCAA championship trophy

Harvard has had three players win the Hobey Baker Award, Mark Fusco in 1983, Scott Fusco in 1986 and Lane McDonald in 1989. 23 Crimson players have appeared in the NHL, with some of the better known ones being Craig Adams, current Crimson head coach Ted Donato, Dominic Moore and Don Sweeney.

Dominic Moore Harvard, Dominic Moore Harvard
Current NHLer Dominic Moore while captain of the Harvard Crimson

Since that first meeting back in 1898, the Harvard Crimson holds a 102-41-12 all-time lead in American college hockey's oldest rivalry, a rivalry which will be renewed on January 28th when Brown travels to meet Harvard, with the rematch coming on February 17th.

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Harvard Crimson Peter Ciavaglia jersey as worn during Harvard's championship victory in 1989. Normally overlooked in the world of college hockey as being too soft, the Crimson began the season with 15 straight wins to earn the #1 overall ranking in the country. They went on to win their first Beanpot Tournament in 8 years to further demonstrate they were a club not to be overlooked that season.

Their number one line, the "Line of Fire" consisted of Hobey Baker winner MacDonald, and runner up Allen Bourbeau as well as C. J. Young, both of whom had played for the United States at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Additionally, Peter Ciavaglia and Donato would both play in the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. The Crimson won the ECAC regular season title and entered the playoffs with a stellar 24-2 record.

They learned from being beaten in overtime during the ECAC playoffs, and went on to defeat defending champions Lake Superior State in the NCAA playoffs 4-2 and 5-2 in their best-of-three series. They defeated Michigan State 6-3 to advance to the finals against the University of Minnesota, a game held in the Golden Gophers backyard in St. Paul.

In one of the greatest games ever played, the two teams traded goals back and forth, ending regulation of the exhilarating contest tied at 3-3. In overtime, Ciavaglia won a faceoff in the Minnesota zone back to Ed Krayer, who passed it to Brian McCormack who fired a shot which rebounded off Minnesota goaltender Robb Stauber's pad to Krayer, who moved to his right, forcing Stauber to move, which allowed Krayer the opening he needed to slide the puck between Stauber's legs for the championship winning goal, giving Harvard it's first championship in any NCAA sport.

Harvard's classic jerseys, rivaling those of teams like the Chicago Blackhawks for unchanging longevity, are true hockey classics, with their simple waist and arm stripes, colored shoulder yoke and "Harvard" vertically arched above each players number on the front. They jerseys are topped off with the school crest, which contains the university motto Veritas, Latin for "truth".

Harvard Frozen Four, Harvard Frozen Four

Here is footage from Harvard's championship victory over Minnesota, when the Gophers Randy Skarda hits the pipe, keeping Harvard alive in a game they would go on to win, a moment still talked about in Minnesota to this day. We were unable to find any footage of the game winning goal, however.


  1. Great stuff! One quick note: this was the first game between active rivals. Yale played Johns Hopkins in the first college game Feb. 1, 1896.

  2. It look as if our original source and inspiration for today's entry (which by the way was the Hockey Hall of Fame's own website) had their facts wrong when they called Brown's defeat of Harvard "the first recorded U.S. collegiate hockey game". Many sources on the internet back up your assertion that Yale played John's Hopkins two years prior in 1896.

    Brown however, seems to disagree.

    Either way, it appears as if we have a) some editing to do and b) our topic for February 1st (most likely for 2013) on the history of hockey at Yale all planned out.

    Thanks for the heads up. We're not above being corrected when we're proven wrong now and again.


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