1984 Hockey Team Honors 2009 Team for Stellar Season
The 1984 Babson ice hockey team wasn’t supposed to win a national title.
Their coach left Babson after the previous season, and they were starting fresh with a new coach, Rob Riley, who was only a few years older than they were. The odds were against them winning any championship, never mind the national title, but the team was hungry.
Russ McKinnon ’84 remembers the ECAC final game as if it were yesterday. “There were 20 guys and we were a cohesive unit. In games like those, you have to play like you want to win. One crack and the ship goes down. I remember looking around during the game and seeing the look in everyone’s faces. No one was going to be denied.”
After winning the ECAC Division II title, the team went on to capture the Division III NCAA championship —Babson’s first national title in hockey.
McKinnon says that great memories come flooding back whenever he walks into Babson’s rink now to watch a game. “To win a national title—that is a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing to know we owned it for a time.”
Fast forward 25 years. The 2009 ice hockey team brought home the Beavers’ fourth ECAC East championship, the second in the last three years, and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in the College’s history.
The 1984 hockey team banded together to help fund championship rings for the younger players. “We wanted to honor these kids for playing hard and for what they were able to accomplish,” McKinnon says. Members of the ’84 and ’09 teams met for dinner and a celebration in October 2009.
Assistant captain Jason Schneider ’10 says meeting the ’84 champions meant a lot to the team. “The stories they told were so similar to the stories we have now. Both teams worked incredibly hard, and both teams have great team unity, which is a large part of why Babson hockey is so successful year in and year out.”
Schneider says the rings capped off an unforgettable year for him and his teammates. “Receiving the rings from the ’84 team was truly an honor because the best team to ever play at Babson recognized the success we were having. It shows how much Babson hockey meant to these men, and one day hopefully our team will get the chance to present another Babson hockey team with championship rings.”