Featured Flashback: First UConn hockey team
The first season the University of Connecticut officially fielded a hockey team was 1960-61. The first game in program history took place at Harvard against the Crimson JV team. The Huskies lost 7-3 but it wasn’t too surprising since the team only practiced several times before the first game and did not have a hockey rink of their own. The Huskies would play all games on the road throughout this inaugural season. In fact, it would be several seasons before the Huskies would host a hockey game. The first program win for UConn was the second game of the 1960-61 season when the Huskies defeated Fort Devens 4-3. UConn would end up with a respectable 4-6-1 record in the program’s first season. The highlight of the season was a 7-4 win over MIT followed by an 8-7 victory over American International to end the season. The Huskies had three goal scorers in double digits in 1960-61. John Dello Stritto led the team with 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists).
UConn joined the ECAC the following season. From there, the UConn program didn’t sit still for long. The Huskies made the move to ECAC 2 in 1963 (to be classified later as Division II in 1973). When ECAC 2 was split into two conferences in 1984, UConn became a part of ECAC East and moved to Division III along with the conference. The Huskies made the jump back to Division I hockey prior to the 1998 season as one of the founding members of the new Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (MAAC) hockey conference. Then five years later UConn was one of the teams that left the MAAC to start the Atlantic Hockey Association in 2003. The Huskies stayed in that conference until 2014 when the program moved to Hockey East, where the team resides today.
The Huskies won the program’s first-ever Hockey East postseason game last weekend in a 3-1 victory over Boston University. UConn will be heading to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time and will face Northeastern at TD Garden in Boston this Friday, March 18.
Photo Credit: Connecticut Huskies 1960-61 team photo from the University of Connecticut Nutmeg Yearbook, 1961.