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February 2014


Dear Abbot Pennings, 

Is it true that St. Norbert once beat the University of Notre Dame at hockey?

Maggie Hall ’15


My dearest Maggie,

This question excites me very much! I do enjoy reminiscing over our hockey history, for we have always shown such promise.

The answer to your inquiry requires me to, if you will, set the stage a little. The year was 1983. At the time, hockey at the college comprised a club team. But never fear! We attained varsity status just a bit later in 1987.

I believe it was late 1983 when our club hockey team played a two-game, home-and-home series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In fact, this was about a year before the Irish advanced to a Division 1 program.

Let it be known that our men traveled all the way to South Bend, Ind., for the first game. I am sorry indeed to report to you and fellow readers that our Green Knights lost. Thankfully, though, the second game of the series took place at home, at the Brown County Arena. It lifts my spirits to inform you that we tied in that rousing second game, 2-2. New coach Hank Therrien, who was voted coach of the year, perhaps had a little something to do with the tie.

Playing at that time were quite a few talented young men, including Bill Tochterman ’85 who was all-star center, leading St. Norbert on with the most goals in the league! Bob Brocker ’85 was also first team all-star, and Steve Olli ’87 received the team sportsmanship award as second team all-star. What pride I have in all these young spirits who represent dear St. Norbert!

It would be remiss of me not to mention the other souls who competed as well. On the team that year were also Joe Fowler ’87, Phil Stevens ’86, Tom Stefely ’84, Perry Rech ’84, Eric Johnson ’86, Mike Foley ’84, Nick Heintz ’86, Mike Garland ’84, Chuck Taffe ’86, Brien Hodgman ’86, Bill Long ’87, Ray O’Connell ’86, Bart Baugnet ’84, Joe Lyng ’86 and Joe Massarelli ’86 – not to forget manager Ingemar Venckus ’86.

Thank you again, Maggie, for your most interesting inquiry! St. Norbert has much to boast about when it comes to our beloved hockey teams! I swell with such pride just at the mention. 

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.

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