Harvard's varsity hockey team had a disappointing time last year, but it is not hard to be optimistic for the coming season. With a lot of high-scoring forwards, the Crimson should be an exciting team and should make a stiff bid for a berth in the NCAA championships.
Coach Ralph "Cooney" Weiland is entering his last season as a Harvard coach because he has reached mandatory retirement age, and he needs only three victories to become one of five hockey coaches to win 300 games.
The key figure for the Crimson is captain Joe Cavanagh, who was named the best American born hockey player in his sophomore year and was twice selected an All-American.
"Joe takes the puck at one end of the rink and proceeds to the other end, going over anyone in his way," one former teammate said. "Whenever he was on the ice last year there was one and sometimes two players just covering him, and he still wound up with 53 points."
Cleary May Coach
Amid speculation that he is being groomed to succeed Weiland, Bill Cleary was named assistant coach this summer after two years as the freshman coach. Cleary is a Vince Lombardi on the ice, and the results are appearing already.
Cavanagh skates with Cooch Owen and Dan DeMichele on the strong first line. Sophomore Dave Hynes Bob McManama, and probably Bill Corkery will combine for the second line.
Last year the McManama-Hynes combination collected 140 points for the freshmen. "Hynes has one of the fastest wrist shots I've seen, and McManama is a slick playmaker," Cleary said last year.
"There will be healthy competition for spots on the varsity next year." Cleary said at the end of last season. Last year's freshman hockey team was one of the best in many years, and the number of sophomores on this year's team will be large.
The competition for spots is shaping the character of the team. Practice is sharp and tough. Now there are 26 players on the squad and Weiland will probably keep only four lines, five defensemen, and two goalies.
Harvard's third line, pressed by the sophomores, is getting many second looks. Juniors Lief Rosenberger, Tom Paul, and Bobby Havern should give the Crimson a lot of offensive depth.
For the fourth line there are seven competitors, Juniors Red Jancke and Dave Cavanagh, brother of Joe, are being challenged by newcomer junior Skip Barry and sophomores Jay Riley, Harry Reynolds, Steve Harris and Larry Desmond.
"None of those boys are JV material," freshman coach Tim Taylor said. Second cuts will be difficult for Cleary and Weiland.
Ultimately what is going to determine Harvard's success is the defense. Only Dave Jones and Terry Driscoll are returning. Jones and Doug Elliott, who is an aggressive and high-scoring defenseman, will be the first pair.
Andy Burns, up from the JV's, is making a strong bid for a spot and freshman captain Kevin Hampe is small, but makes up for it in quickness and strength. Other candidates are junior Don Olson and sophomores Phil Shea and Bobby Muse.
Strength at Goal
One of Harvard's greatest strengths is at goalie. Starter Bruce Durno is one of the best goalies in the East and sophomore Joe Bertagna is better than most starting goalies and will probably play a lot.
Cornell once again will be the team to beat in the East, as last year their freshman team gave the varsity a good game. Clarkson and B. U. should compete with Harvard as the main challengers to the Big Red.