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The 2016 Three Rivers Classic was held in Pittsburgh during the final weekend of the year. The four college teams vying for the Confluence Cup were host Robert Morris, Quinnipiac, Boston College and Ferris State. This was the first time this combination of teams participated in the holiday tournament since it began four years prior. Robert Morris was defending its tournament title after defeating Massachusetts Lowell in 2015. The opening round in 2016 between Robert Morris and Ferris State was a nail biter as the Colonials won 1-0 on a goal from Daniel Leavens. Robert Morris freshman goalie Francis Marotte earned the shutout. In the other opening round game, 13th ranked Quinnipiac defeated Boston College 3-1.

The Bobcats jumped on the board first during the tournament’s championship game with a goal from Chase Priskie. The Colonials evened the score and then pulled away for good on a goal from Rob Mann with 46 seconds left in the second period. In the above photo, Daniel Mantenuto of Robert Morris handles the puck against Kevin McKernan in the third period.

Robert Morris went on to defeat Quinnipiac 5-2 to win the Confluence Cup; a trophy provided to the winner of the annual tournament. It was the Colonials third Confluence Cup in five years. After surrendering just two goals throughout both games, Francis Marotte earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. Earlier in the day, Boston College defeated Ferris State in overtime to win the consolation game.

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Robert Morris again hosted the Three Rivers Classic the following two seasons with Providence and Brown each winning one. With the recent news that Robert Morris has discontinued its men’s and women’s hockey programs, it doesn’t look promising that this tournament will come back without the host school. In fact, the tournament wasn’t held in 2019-20 because the organizers took a year off to reevaluate strategy. The Colonials still played a game at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena against Penn State on January 4, 2020. And the tournament didn’t have a chance of reappearing this past season because of reduced schedules due to COVID protocols. If a weekend college hockey tournament is to happen again in Pennsylvania, then the responsibility falls to Penn State to act as the host due to the Nittany Lions being the only remaining Division I program in the state. It’s worth noting Penn State was a fixture in the first four Three Rivers Classics. No matter what happens with the Robert Morris program or future tournaments in Pennsylvania, it appears this era of the Three Rivers Classic is designated for the history books.

The 1939-40 college hockey season was a successful one for the Colgate Raiders hockey team. The Raiders won the Lake Placid Invitation Hockey Tournament at the beginning of the new year. After defeating Union on New Year’s Day and then Middlebury the following day, Colgate met MIT in the tournament championship game. It was the third game in three days for both clubs. The thrilling game ended when co-captain Steve Dewey scored a goal in the closing seconds of the second (and final) overtime period to give the Raiders a 5-4 win. The game would have been called a tie if the second overtime period remained scoreless. Harry Wheeler, the other co-captain, received praise for his goal-scoring prowess throughout the season. There were numerous games where he scored the only goals of the game for the Raiders. Wheeler totaled 15 goals and 7 assists by season’s end. Fan-favorite Jack Wells followed with 11 goals and 4 assists. This earned him the lone captaincy the following season. Other notable items from the season included the postponement of three games due to poor ice as well as an exciting Sophomore line that was broken up near the end of the season when two of the three Sophomores dropped out of college halfway through the spring semester. The team lost the final three games of the season after this occurred. There are some discrepancies regarding the final record of the team. After consulting additional sources, we recognize the record of 8-6-0. In the accompanying photo, the 14 members of the 1939-40 Colgate hockey team lined up for the annual team photo that later appeared in the school’s yearbook. The goalies wore different jerseys compared to the rest of the team. Note the different color sweater with numbers on the front compared to the school’s name for the remainder of the team. Looking at it even closer, it appears the number font is different between each goalie.

Photo credit: 1940 Colgate Yearbook

In a game that took place nearly three years before the first Beanpot Tournament, Northeastern and Harvard met on the ice on January 16, 1950. Harvard outlasted Northeastern 5-4. It was technically a home game for Harvard even though both teams called Boston Arena their home rink at the time. Harvard would later win the inaugural Beanpot Tournament (then known as the New England Invitational Tournament) between the four Boston teams on December 27, 1952. Northeastern has won the last three Beanpot Tournaments. The 2021 Beanpot championship game would have taken place tonight but the tournament has been cancelled due to COVID. Northeastern will look to make it four in a row in 2022. Despite there only being four teams in the tournament, these two teams have never faced each other in the Beanpot Final.

Photo courtesy of Herb Gallagher, in the Northeastern University Photography records at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

Harvard Stadium hockey in 1920

During the first seven seasons of Harvard hockey, the team primarily played in a rink on Holmes Field when hosting games on campus. Prior to the start of the 1904-05 season, Harvard built two rinks on the field within the newly-created Harvard Stadium. This allowed for considerably more spectators to attend the games. Harvard also charged admission for high-profile games. The Crimson would go on to win the Intercollegiate Hockey Association of America title that year; their third of four championships in a row.

Photo Credit: Harvard Library Archives

Hobey Baker from a March 2, 1914 issue of the Daily Princetonian

It would be a disservice if the first person to appear within a College Hockey History post wasn’t Hobey Baker. Considered one of the best athletes of his time and the first great American hockey player, Hobey Baker was a three-sport athlete for Princeton between 1911 and 1914. He captained both the hockey and football teams and led them to national championships. The Hobey Baker Award was created in 1981 to be awarded to the most outstanding college hockey player each year. The accompanying photo is from a March 2, 1914, publication of the Daily Princetonian announcing his retirement from college hockey shortly before he graduated. More information about Hobey Baker can be found within his write-up in our U.S. College Hockey History summary.