1930s – West Coast Rises and the East Coast Goes International

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The NCAA held steady on their rule against forward passing until 1931. At that time, the NCAA announced they were going to adopt the NHL’s stance on the forward pass. This allowed players to perform forward passes within each zone of the ice.

USC’s hockey team dominated the California competition from 1930 through 1933 when the Trojans had a 35-game win streak. It’s important to note that not one native Californian was on the team at this time. Instead, they lured players to the warm weather from Canada, Minnesota and Massachusetts. This lack of home-grown talent isn’t surprising because there were few indoor ice arenas in California in the 1930s. Loyola (later known as Loyola Marymount in 1968) finally snapped USCs winning streak in 1933. They also sought out-of-town hockey talent, mainly from Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. The Loyola Lions formed their own dynasty when they won four straight Pacific Coast League titles in California from 1935 to 1938 going 47-5-3 in the process.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers made a trek out to California in 1938 and lost both games they played to USC. Rumor has it they refused to play Loyola due to their poaching of Iron Range players in the Gopher State. USC went to Minneapolis in 1939 and swept that two-game series as well. On March 25, 1939, USC and Loyola were in a tie for first place in the Pacific Coast League. They set a California college hockey game attendance record that day when more than 8,000 fans saw the teams play to a scoreless tie at Westwood’s Tropical Ice Gardens. The NCAA guide of 1938-39 states that 76 colleges in the U.S. fielded hockey teams at that time. Of these 76 teams, only a handful was able to claim they played their home games in sunny California – while sporting very competitive teams at that.

USC and Minnesota met in game 2 of the series on March 26, 1938
USC and Minnesota met in game 2 of the series March 26, 1938, as described in the Daily Trojan.

In February 1936, Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth agreed to form an International Intercollegiate Ice Hockey League (IIHL) with four Canadian universities: McGill, Queen’s, Montreal and Toronto. From 1937 to 1940, each team played ten-game schedules and the league was a resounding success. Unfortunately, the league ended abruptly due to World War II before an American team could win a championship. McGill went 28-2 in the league’s first three years and won the league’s Thompson Trophy each year while Toronto was crowned champion in the final season.

In January 1938, the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs converted its indoor riding academy into an ice rink and named it the Broadmoor Ice Palace. At the same time, Colorado College formed its first hockey team to play in the arena. The Broadmoor Ice Palace would eventually become known as a top-tier facility. Ten years later, it would set the stage to become an historic location in college hockey history.

Next: 1940s – First NCAA Tournament