November 3, 2000

Explaining 'The New Tradition'

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I titled the wrap surrounding this paper “The New Tradition” because I believe this men’s hockey team has a chance to return Cornell to the glory it once possessed. This is a talented team which has the potential to do well not only in the ECAC, but also in the national arena.

But “The New Tradition” means more than just that. The two years before I came to Ithaca, the men’s hockey team returned from Lake Placid with tournament titles and berths in the NCAA Championships.

But for the two years after my arrival, something changed, and the team struggled to go .500 during those seasons. I was worried that I would never see a powerful Cornell team like the 1966-67 national championship squad my Dad saw.

Last year erased that fear of mine. And I think I figured out what had, at least in part, prevented the Red from being a title contender. It boils down to the simple truth that size matters.

Last year the Red was probably the most physical team in the league. The team had the power and strength to win any scrums for pucks along the boards. And with big players came the opportunity to put a large body in front of the opponent’s net to screen a goalie or poke home a rebound.

It was the size and strength to do these things that the Red was missing my first two years here. But now coach Mike Schafer ’86 and his staff seem to have made a concerted effort to bring in players who exhibit these qualities.

Looking at the roster this year everyone is over 5-10, 180-pounds (with two exceptions), and this says nothing of the beasts like Doug Murray, Stephen B