MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - If there's one sport most, if not all, Yoopers love, it's hockey. You can find dedicated fans of the game in all levels, from little leagues, to high school and beyond. But perhaps one of the U.P.’s greatest and longest running programs is that of Michigan Tech University.
With three national championships and a number of NCAA tournament appearances under their belt, it’s not hard to see why the program that began in 1919, has remained as one of the U.P.’s most beloved programs.
Of every win Michigan Tech hockey has recorded, legendary coach, John MacInnes has almost half of them - That’s 555 wins in 26 seasons.
“He really cared about his players," Scott MacInnes said. "He wanted to make sure they got an education, he wanted to make sure that they set goals for themselves, ya' know, and performed at 110% level.”
For Scott, having a father like MacInnes, also meant having an extended hockey family with those same players.
“As a little kid, I used to go in the locker rooms with the players," Scott said. "I could remember helping the goaltenders put their pads on. I used to be able to skate with the team when I was a small kid, going to the locker room between periods.”
That locker room used to be inside Dee Stadium – the program’s original home.
“The size of the building, the atmosphere; it was all wood seats and people could start stomping their feet and make a ton of noise," Scott said.
Scott says his dad played a vital role in the creation of the new stadium named after him. From the shape and size, down to the design of the locker room.
Since then, the number of players sent to the NHL has only grown. John Scott for the Chicago Blackhawks, Jarkko Ruutu of the Ottawa Senators, Clay Wilson of the Florida Panthers – the list of alumni goes on and on.
“I think you see more guys go into the NHL now than maybe in the last 20 or 30 years because of the fact that the guys that are being brought in, the recruiting are guys that can move on to that next level," MTU's play-by-play announcer, Dirk Hembroff, said. "It has to be something within the player, so. It’s all here, and you have smart people. I mean you can’t be a dummy here at Michigan Tech and play at Michigan Tech, so that’s a big part of it right now to help these guys move on."
Hoping to continue that legacy, is Tech’s newest head coach, Joe Shawhan. With the season nearing its end, is Shawhan bringing the Huskies closer or farther from returning to their powerhouse days? Find out Friday, Feb. 23, on your TV6 news.