skip navigation

Emil Iverson Era: 1923-1924 through 1929-1930

Emil Iverson, exhibition skater and skating instructor from Denmark, followed in MacDonald's footsteps as Gopher coach.  During the same period his brother Kay coached a strong Marquette University team, and a strong rivalry was established between the two schools.  After leaving the Gophers Iverson coached the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL for a short time.  During Iverson's seven-year stay the Gophers won 70, lost 20 and tied 13 games.  Captain Frank Pond and goalie Fred Schade led Iverson's first team of 1923-1924 to a 13-1-0 season, while for the following season of 1924-1925 most of the home games were played at the newly constructed Minneapolis Arena.  Captain Ed Olson led the 1925-1926 team to an undefeated season by winning 12 and tying 4 games.  The 1928-1929 six shared top National honors with Yale as they compiled an 11-2-1 record.  Chuck McCabe, Joel Brown, John H. Peterson, Leland Watson, and goalie Osborne Billings were selected to the All-Western team.  In addition, McCabe, Brown and Peterson were accorded All-American honors during their Gopher careers.  During the six seasons of 1923-1924 through 1928-1929 they lost only 10 games, won 75 and tied 11.  During this period Minnesota was consistently ranked among the very best in the nation.

Among the teams approached regarding sending a team to the 1928 Winter Olympics were: Harvard, Minnesota, Augsburg and Eveleth Junior College.  Either for lack of finances or students missing classes, all of the colleges except Augsburg declined the opportunity.  The final outcome was that no team was sent to the 1928 Winter Olympic Games.

Teams met during the 1920s included Michigan Mines, Michigan, Marquette, Notre Dame, Hibbing, Eveleth Junior College, North Dakota, North Dakota Aggies, St. Thomas, Hamline, Luther Seminary, Ramsey, Manitoba, Dallas A.C. and Tulsa A.C. Notre Dame was met during the seasons of 1924-1925, 1925-1926, and 1926-1927 after which they dropped the sport due to lack of indoor facilities.  At Marquette Canadians Don McFayden and Pudge Mackenzie proved to be very popular at the Milwaukee college.  In Milwaukee, crowds of 1,500-2,500 would stand outdoors in cold weather to view the games, while the Marquette-Minnesota games staged at the Minneapolis Arena attracted 4,000-5,000 fans.  As was the case at Notre Dame, due to the lack of an indoor rink, Marquette dropped hockey after the 1932-1933 season.

During the 1920s the Gophers played their games at a variety of rinks, including an outdoor facility located on the campus.  Early in the decade games were played at the Coliseum, while later many games were played at the large natural ice surface at the Hippodrome at the State Fairgrounds.  While the opening of the Minneapolis Arena, which possessed artificial ice, in late 1924, the Gopher home games were played there or at the Hippodrome.

A large number of Gopher players during this era came from Minneapolis, with fewer from St. Paul, Duluth and the Iron Range.  On occasion a Canadian was on the roster.  Among the leading players to compete for Minnesota during the 1920s included: Chuck McCabe, Joel Brown, Osborne Billings, Frank Pond, John H.. Peterson, Cliff Thompson, Ed Owen, W.B. Eldredge, Chet, Ken and Ben Bros, Don Bagley, Reuben Gustafson, Fred Schade, Walt Youngbauer, Vic Mann, Ed Olson, Phil Scott, Jack and Bill Conway, Lloyd Russ, Herb Bartholdi, Leland Watson and H.J. Kuhlman.