The Case of the Vanishing Jesuit Hockey Team

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Since the 1970s, Jesuit has had a rich hockey culture.

Ranging from freshman to juniors, supported by their siblings and friends, hockey is an entertaining, exhilarating, and engaging sport to watch and play.

Practice and training for the Crusader hockey team began in the summer of 1974 and throughout the late 70s and 80s, Jesuit had an unofficial “official” team.

As of 1977, the Jesuit hockey team had completed three years in the Oregon State High School Hockey League and had already taken home one state championship in ‘74.

The team was not supported financially by Jesuit, so members bought all of their own equipment and rink space for their practice sessions. While the team lacked financial support, the moral support from the Jesuit student body was strong.

Bill Peterson ‘78, uncle to senior Garrett Peterson, was a player on the Crusader team and remembers that “we woke up early, around 5 a.m., to get the ice time that we needed. Everyone on the team was determined.”

“We played Friday and Saturday nights at Valley Ice Arena,” Peterson ‘78 said. “During my second year that I played, the word started to get out that Jesuit had a team, and more people started to show up. The games were fairly popular. We got about 100 [fans]”.

Because of the support from the student body, 5 a.m. practices, and numerous hours spent improving their skills, the Jesuit team went on to win five State Championships.

Around the early 90s, the Jesuit hockey team suddenly stopped appearing in the yearbooks.

“The Jesuit Hockey team was never an official ‘team’,” Athletic Director Mike Hughes said. “They were a club through the Valley Hockey Rink that used our name”.

“To be considered a valid ‘team’ now in the OSAA, Jesuit must set the budget, determine what teams to play, and have a part in the hiring and firing of the coaches for the team. None of this was happening with the hockey organization, because, once again it was an unofficial club sport that used Jesuit’s name,” Hughes said.

Doug Naimo ‘82, who played for four years on the Crusader team and went on to coach them from 1985-1993, recalls that the Jesuit teams had won five championships during the 1974-1993 era.

“The reason that Jesuit discontinued their hockey team in 1993 was because it was the last year that the state of Oregon had high school leagues,” Naimo said. “Thus, hockey turned into a more intense club sport, much of what high school hockey consists of today, allows students from other schools, besides Jesuit, to play.”

Father Robinson noted that eventually throughout the years, other students who did not go to Jesuit began to play for the club.

When the administration found out about this, they asked the Valley Ice Program to remove Jesuit’s name.

Despite no longer having a team, hockey is still alive at Jesuit. The number of hockey players that play through the the Winterhawks Association today at Jesuit consists of six players, including junior Walker Reiersgaard ‘18 and freshman Jackson Manlove ‘20.

Reiersgaard has played for ten years through the Winterhawks Association.

“When I was a freshman at Jesuit, we went to Nationals as a team and we won, which was unbelievable”, Reiersgaard said.

He went on to recognize that most people at Jesuit do not know about this accomplishment because it received very little publicity, if any.

Both players further commented that they would play for a Jesuit team.

“If we had a team, I think I would play, but it would depend on how competitive and experienced the coach would be,” Manlove said.

“If we hypothetically had a team, I would be inclined to play, but it would also depend on the skill level and intensity of the team,” Reiersgaard said.