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Frank Pond Era: 1930-31 through 1934-1935

Frank Pond, a native of Two Harbors, who had captained the 1923-1924 team to a 13-1-0 record, was appointed Gopher coach in the fall of 1930.  During his five-year tenure at Minnesota, he iced strong teams in 1931-1932, and 1932-1933, and 1933-1934. During the three-year period, the Gophers won 34, lost 8 and tied 1. They were ranked very high every year according to the Tonnelle System.

As in the 1920s, Minnesota continued to schedule Michigan, Michigan Tech, and Wisconsin, usually playing each four times during the season.  Manitoba was added to the schedule, while after the 1932-1933 season Marquette dropped the sport and Wisconsin followed suit after the 1934-1935 campaign. The strong 1932-1933 team, captained by a Marsh Ryman- who later became Athletic Director at Minnesota- was the first Minnesota team to meet a team from the east when they lost to formidable Harvard 7-6 in Boston. The team played in the Western Olympic Playoffs defeating Eveleth Junior College and the Upper Michigan All-Stars before losing to the Eastern All-Stars in the United States final in Boston. The forward line of Ryman-Todd-Parker led the Gophers in scoring.  Using the Tonnelle System of rating the 1931-1932 team was ranked second in the country behind Harvard.  The following were among the team members: Captain Marsh Ryman, George Todd, Howie Gibbs, Ben Constantine, Laurie Parker, Alex MacInnes, Andy Toth, Gordon Schaeffer, Bucky Johnson, Phil La Batte, George Clausen, Harold Carlsen, Fred Gould, John Suomi and John Scanlon. MacInnes, Toth, Constantine and Suomi came from Eveleth, the first of many from Eveleth who would in the future wear the maroon and gold uniform.  Schaeffer and Todd were from Duluth while the others were Minneapolis products.

Another strong team was iced for the 1932-1933 season.  Captained by Harold Carlsen, the team lost only one game during the season, that a 3-1 loss to Michigan.  The fast forward line of Russ-Gray-Munns led the team's offense, while Wagnild and LaBatte anchored the defense, and Clausen and Scanlon tended goal.  The writer recalls attending the 1933 Wisconsin series at the Hippodrome in which the Gophers swamped the Badgers by a combined 14-1 score in the two-game series.  On the large Hippodrome ice surface (119’ x 270’) the fast skating Gophers outclassed the Badgers as the Minnesota “Pony Line” of Russ-Gray-Munns led the Minnesota attack.

With the Russ-Gray-Munns line returning, the 1933-1934 sextet posted another fine season with an 11-3 record.  With returnees LaBatte, Wagnild, and Zieske at defense and Clausen in the nets, the Gophers featured a strong defense.  Later LaBatte was selected as a member of the 1936 U.S. Olympic team. Wagnild received the honor of being chosen for the 1937 and 1938 U.S. National teams.

Frank Pond finished his Minnesota coaching career with a winning record for his campaign of 1934-1935.  Ponds five-year stay resulted in a 46-21-4 record for a winning percentage of .676%.  In the 14 year Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry extending from 1921-1922 through 1934-1935, the Gophers dominated the series with a 36-6-2 record.  In 1928, seven years into the series, the Badgers finally were able to defeat Minnesota.  During this same period the Gophers record against Michigan was 26-13-5, Michigan Tech 18-3-0, Marquette 14-8-1 and North Dakota 6-0-0.