Thursday, July 11, 2013
July by the Numbers makes it's way to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for jersey #11.
The Lake Superior State University Lakers hockey program was founded in 1966 and joined the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in 1972, the second season of the conference.
The CCHA was formed in 1971 with just four member teams. The league grew to seven teams by 1978, but the conference gained national recognition in 1981 when it expanded from six teams to 11 with the defection of Michigan Tech, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Michigan from the WCHA. The new clubs proved their mettle by finishing 2-3-4-5 in the conference. The Bowling Green Falcons were the first CCHA team to win the national title in 1984, the first of eight for the conference. Lake Superior State leads with three, followed by Michigan (1996 and 1998) and Michigan State (1986 and 2007), each with two championship titles.
The Lakers won the CCHA regular season championship in 1972-73, but the fledgling CCHA consisted of but three members that season. Further success would elude the Lakers until the 1987-88 season, when LSSU captured the CCHA title with a 22-4-6 record, in a league that had now grown to a proper nine teams, and then defeat Maine in the semifinals 6-3 before defeating St. Lawrence 4-3 in overtime to win their first ever national championship.
Jim Dowd, Craig Hewson and Tim Breslin celebrate the national championship in 1988
The Lakers would win both the CCHA regular season title and the first of three consecutive CCHA playoff championships in 1990-91 before coming back to win not only the CCHA playoff championship again, but their second NCAA national championship in 1991-92 by a score of 5-3 over Wisconsin with a roster that included future NHLers Sandy Moger and Brian Rolston.
They would lose the NCAA championship game to Maine 5-4 the following season, but return to the top of the mountain with a 9-1 shellacking of Boston University in the championship final in 1994.
Their run of success concluded with a CCHA playoff championship in 1994-95 and a CCHA regular season title in 1995-96 when they posted a 22-6-2 record.
The most well known among former Lakers players include NHLers Bates Battaglia (1994-1997), Jim Dowd (1987-1991), who holds the school record for most points with 274 in his 181 game career, goaltender John Grahame (1994-1997), Rolston (1991-1993) and Doug Weight (1989-1991), with Dowd, Rolston, Grahame and Weight all going on to win the Stanley Cup.
Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 Lake Superior State University Lakers Brian Rolston jersey. This jersey is very similar in style to that worn by the Minnesota North Stars at home and the Toronto Maple Leafs that same season, as well as the Winnipeg Jets as recently as 1990.
The simple color combination of primary blue and yellow of LSSU make for a very attractive jersey and the bold, angled "Lakers" over their now iconic anchor makes for one of the nicest college hockey jerseys ever.
Here, Brian Rolston talks about being a musician.
Next, Rolston reflects on his college hockey career at LSSU.
Finally, a look at some of the traditions of Lake Superior State hockey.