It was a magical, unforgettable ride.
The 1963-64 Marblehead High hockey team shocked the Massachusetts schoolboy puck world on its journey to the all-divisions state tournament championship game. The Headers combined a hard nosed style of play with a talented group of players who approached every shift like it was their last.
That entire 18-player team, along with collegiate All-American goaltenders Cory Schneider and Gary Whear, will be inducted into the Friends of Marblehead Hockey Hall of Fame Aug. 18 at 5:30 p.m., as part of the organization's 14th Annual Bud Orne Golf Tournament at Tedesco Country Club.
"It was an honor and a privilege to represent Marblehead High," said Daynor Prince, the Headers captain and MVP during the 1963-64 regular season. "We left it all on the ice every day. We were a team that played for each other, the school and the community. We were filled with pride — and we loved to compete."
"The 1963-64 team lit the flame for future Header hockey teams to follow," said Bob Roland, who was in his second of an eventual 29 seasons guiding MHS as head coach. "We had a system that every player bought in to: Play hard and get after it."
And get after it they did. Led by the first line of Prince, Don "Toot" Cahoon and John Sumner, the Headers scored and banged their way to an unprecedented ice campaign. Despite falling to the Arlington Spy Ponders in the title game at the Boston Garden, the 1963-64 season is still considered by many as the best in the program's storied history. The program averaged a yearly record of 15-3 from 1963-1973, which has been labeled "The Golden Era of Marblehead High School Hockey."
Roland was quoted in a 1985 column by then-Salem News sports editor Bill Kipouras as saying, "Our first (1964 Tournament) game was against Hudson at Worcester Arena. I can still remember Tootie, a freshman, getting on the bus without a tie, and Daynor, a senior, really got on Tootie's case. We won that game, 5-2, then got on a roll.
"We went to Boston Arena and Daynor scored the goal to beat Malden, 2-1, in overtime. After that we got Winchester, the top rated team in the state. They had this All-American line and we beat them on Cahoon's breakaway. Someone was draped all over him and he still got the shot away. A slapper. Amazing."
"Then," Roland continued, "We went to the Boston Garden and played Stoneham. That was a doubleheader. Brookline met Arlington in the other game. You alternated periods. Stoneham was beating us, 2-0, and when they came off the ice the Brookline kids asked them what the score was and Stoneham said it was a piece of cake. Our kids overheard that and went nuts in the dressing room. They were in an uproar. It
goes to show you how much is in the mind. We went out and beat Stoneham, 3-2, with 56 seconds left. There were 12,000 in the Garden and the place went wild because we were such big underdogs."
Kipouras went on to report legendary Boston Garden organist John Kiley played "Marblehead Forever'" after the monumental upset over Stoneham, and Marblehead fans cried it was such an emotional experience.
Unfortunately, Arlington hadn't been taxed nearly as much as Marblehead in the 1964 tournament and was fresh as a daisy in the final, beating the Headers, 5-1.
"It was a game for one period, then they got us," Roland said. "Arlington was the king in those days."
Nevertheless, Marblehead's Cinderella effort became part of the state hockey tournament's legend.
When it came to stopping the rubber biscuit and leading his team to victory, the acrobatic Gary Whear was undoubtedly one of the best in MHS history, Whear, who went on to earn All-American status at Babson College, still holds the record for most saves made in a season by an MHS goaltender, turning aside a mind-boggling 428 shots during his junior season (1975-76). As a senior, Whear (who recently stood on his head while earning consensus MVP honors at the Jason Garfield/MHS Alumni
Game played in April) was the backbone of the 1976-77 MHS squad who captured the Northeastern Conference playoffs and almost derailed eventual state champion Braintree in the tournament.
Cory Schneider, 22, is the only homegrown Marblehead player ever drafted by the National Hockey League. A product of the town's youth hockey program, Schneider played his freshman year at MHS,before attending Phillips Andover Academy for the next three years. Cory then attended Boston College for three years, helping led the Eagles to back-to-back NCAA championship game appearances in 2006 and 2007. He
was honored as an All-American after the 2005-2006 season.
He was drafted No. 26 by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Schneider, who was chosen Hockey East Rookie of the Year, posted an impressive record of 66-26-7 during his three seasons at BC. This past winter Cory, who is considered the top prospect in the Vancouver organization, played for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League, where he compiled a record of 21-12 with a 2.28 goals against average.
The Friends of Marblehead Hockey was founded in 1994 as a support group to help the town's hockey programs at all levels. The proceeds raised from the Annual Bud Orne Golf Tournament and the auctions conducted at the Hall of Fame ceremonies go directly to the organization's scholarship fund. Scholarship funds are distributed to Marblehead High School boys and girls hockey players, MHS hockey cheerleaders and the town's youth hockey players.
During the organization's first 13 years of existence, close to $100,000 has been awarded in scholarships to college bound senior boys and girls hockey players; almost $80,000 has been donated to assist Marblehead families in need to pay for equipment and ice time; and nearly $60,000 has been earmarked to promote the women's hockey program, various charities and memorial funds.
If you would like to make a donation, please log on to www.friendsofmarbleheadhockey.org or send a check made payable to The Friends of Marblehead Hockey, P.O. Box 1273, Marblehead, 01945.
1963-64 Marblehead High School Hockey Team Roster
Head CoachBob Roland
Notables from the 1963-64 Marblehead High state finalist season:
âóè Final overall record of 15-3-2.
âóè Northeastern Division Champions of the 15-team North Shore League with a 10-2-2 record.
âóè Scored league-leading 47 goals.
âóè First line of center Daynor Prince (21 points) and wingers Toot Cahoon (16 points and John Sumner (20 points) led league in scoring.
âóè Goaltender Peter Eyges,who was selected State Tournament MVP, gave up just 20 goals the entire season.
âóè Defeated Hudson High, 5-2, in first round game.
âóè Defeated Malden High, 2-1 in overtime, in second round game.
âóè Defeated Winchester, 3-2, in quarterfinal round game.
âóè Defeated Stoneham, 3-2, in semifinal round game.
âóè Victory over Winchester High is still considered today as one of the most stunning upsets in the history of the Mass. State High School Hockey Tournament.