There was a specific time in the 1950s when the Ivy League hosted its own hockey conference. This occurred in the six seasons between the ending of the Pentagonal League and formation of the ECAC. The 1957-58 season took place during that time. Dartmouth posted a 13-12-0 record the season before. The team also had a winning Ivy League record of 5-3-0. Yale came into the season looking to improve upon a 10-15-0 overall and matching 5-3-0 Ivy League record from the previous season.
The game that took place on the Dartmouth campus January 11, 1958, was technically the Ivy League opener for both teams. However, Yale played Brown in the third game of the RPI Tournament in Troy, New York, the week before. The Indians (later renamed the Big Green in the 1970s) touted a 7-2-0 nonconference record. Yale was looking to rebound from an early hole of 2-6-1 and get back into the win column for the first time since December 4, 1957.
The game was played on campus at Davis Rink – the precursor to Thompson Arena. The home team would end up victorious by a score of 5-2. In the featured photo, sophomore Ryan Ostebo scores as a Yale player defends. Ostebo grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was a standout defenseman on the Dartmouth team. He was twice named to the All Ivy Team and once to the All New England Team.
The nonconference hot streak at the beginning of the season would help Dartmouth finish with a 13-10-1 winning record despite the team’s 2-5-1 Ivy League record. Yale bounced back after this game and went 2-0-1 in the following three games. The Bulldogs ended with an 8-12-2 record yet were even with a 4-4-0 in-conference Ivy League record.
The six Division I men’s hockey programs that are a part of the Ivy League today are currently members of the ECAC. The Ivy League team with the best record against the other five teams are crowned the Ivy League hockey champion. There was no Ivy League champion crowned last season during 2020-21 due to the schools not participating during the pandemic. Cornell was the Ivy League champion for the 2019-20 season with an 8-1-1 Ivy League record.
The Dartmouth Library Archives noted the game was from January 1, 1958, due to the hand-written note on the back of the featured photograph. However, Dartmouth and Yale archives state the game was played January 11, 1958, with neither team playing January 1. This archival date was likely due to an overzealous comma in the hand-written “January, 1958” note being mistook as the number one on the back of the photo.
Photo Credit: Ostebo, Ryan. “Hockey Games 1, Davis Rink and Before.” Dartmouth College Photographic Files, 1958. Dartmouth Digital Library Program, collections.dartmouth.edu/archive/object/PhotoFiles/PhotoFiles-Icon1647-1044-0000030.