All posts by jfumia

Stars on the Ice – Dancing Duo

Over the past weeks, we have explored the hockey greats that have graced the ice at Bowling Green State University.  These hockey legends are not the only prominent names to have roots here in bowling green, no there are others.  In order to find these individuals, we must look to another sport, the sport of Figure Skating.

Scott Hamilton is pretty much a household name when it comes to figure skating but did you know he was raised here in Bowling Green Ohio and skated at the BGSU Ice Arena for many years?   At the age of 13 Scott began training with Olympic coach Pierre Brunet however he was almost forced to quite in 1976 due to the high cost of training.  He was encouraged to keep training through financial assistance from Helen and Frank McLoraine.

Alissa Czisny began skating at the age of 1 ½ here at BGSU’s Ice Arena and quickly showed that she had a gift on the ice.  Her and her sister Amber created quite a tandem on the ice over the next years as they competed throughout the country at different competitions.  In 2010, Alissa was ranked #1 in the world for the ISU Grand Prix season.

Now let’s take a look at their impressive resumes;

Scott Hamilton

  • 4 consecutive U.S. Championships (1981-1984)
  • 4 Consecutive World Championships (1981-1984)
  • Gold Medal – 1984 Olympics
  • Inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame – 1990


Alissa Czisny

  • 2010-2011 Gran Prix Final Champion
  • 2 time U.S. National Champion (2009,2011)
  • 2007 Bronze Medalist
  • 2 time Skate Canada Champion (2005,2010)
  • Ranked 11th in the World by the International Skating Union


Stars on the Ice – Miracle Men

Ken Morrow and Mark Wells skated for the Falcons in the mid to late 1970’s and both experienced success during their time at BG. Their true moment came in 1980, during the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. For those who know hockey lore, you already know about what 1980 meant to the hockey world. For those who are unfamiliar, this was one of the biggest moments in sports history.

The cold war was in full speed during 1980 and the Soviet hockey team had been dominating the world for years. The soviets were the best team on the planet and were almost impossible to beat. During their run, from 1954 to 1991 the Soviets won gold medals at 7 out of 9 Olympic games and got 4 bronze medals, 7 silver medals and 19 gold medals out of 31 World Championships (they medaled in 31 out of 32 championships with the 1 coming in 1962 when they did not participate). In conclusion, they were GOOD!

There is a saying; “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” and having the 1980 games on American soil gave the U.S. a chance to make the Soviets fall and fall hard.

To the players, it was only a hockey game at first. To the world, it was a showdown of super-powers and world supremacy. The Soviet Union vs. The United States, Professionals vs. College Kids.

Ken Morrow played for BGSU Falcons and was a standout defenseman during his time. He won CCHA First All Star Honors in 1976, 1978, 1979 and was Second All Star in 1977. He was also named the CCHA Player of the Year in 1979. He was drafted in 1976 by the New York Islanders of the NHL, and was chosen to represent his country in 1980 at the Winter Olympics.

Mark Wells attended BGSU from 1975-1979 where he was a strong forward for the Falcons. He won CCHA All Star First Team Honors in 1976-77 and 1978-79 and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1977. After his time with BGSU, he joined the U.S. National team for their Olympic Games in 1980.

These two young men joined 19 other college kids from across the country to take part in the biggest upset in sports history. The “Miracle on Ice” as it has been called occurred on Friday February 22, 1980 and saw the United States defeat the Soviet Union by a score of 4-3, to advance on to the gold medal game. They then went on to beat Finland to complete the “miracle” and win the gold.

Ken Morrow went on to play for the New York Islanders and won the Stanley Cup with them in 1980, becoming the first player to win a gold medal and a Stanley cup in the same year. He finished his career with 550 NHL games and 4 Stanley Cups, all with the Islanders. He currently serves as the Islander’s Director of Pro Scouting.

Mark Wells did not experience the same success as Ken Morrow, and retired in 1982 never playing a single NHL game. Due to medical issues, he sold his gold medal on November 6, 2010 for $310,700.

These two men helped make hockey history when they were young college kids, and they began their careers here at BGSU.


Stars on the Ice – George McPhee

George McPhee aka “The Undertaker” (named for his play after the whistle) has led a very successful career in hockey that has its roots right here at Bowling Green State University. McPhee is the current General Manager of the Washington Capitals, as well as the team’s alternate governor and vice-president.

McPhee spent four very successful years playing for the Falcons from 1978-1982 suiting up for a total of 153 games. During those 153 games, McPhee scored 114 goals and added 153 assists for a total of 267 points. McPhee’s best season came in his freshman year with the Falcons where he put up 40 goals and added 48 assists in 43 games. His totals slumped during his sophomore and junior years but his senior year saw him reach a career high in assists (52) and end up 8 points shy of his career best.
During his time at BGSU, McPhee was the recipient of numerous awards for his play on the ice. In 1979 he was named the CCHA’s Rookie of the year and was also named to the Second-Team All-CCHA, an award he would receive again in 1981. 1982 was by far the best for McPhee as he was named to the First-Team All-CCHA and was the recipient of the Hobey Baker Award. The Hobey Baker Award is comparable to the Heismann Trophy for collegiate football players, as it is awarded to the best collegiate hockey player in the country.

After BGSU and his career with the Falcons, McPhee went on to enjoy a seven year career in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.

McPhee reached his current position with the Washington Capitals in 1997 after working with the Vancouver Canucks since 1992. Under George McPhee, the Washington Capitals have won five Southeast Division Championships, had six 40 or more win seasons and a franchise record 121point season in 2009-2010. However through all of this success, the team is still in its search for a Stanley Cup and they have been unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs.

Many hockey experts believe that it is only a matter of time before the Washington Capitals win that elusive Stanley Cup and of course it doesn’t hurt having Alexander Ovechkin on your team, who is one of, if not, the best hockey player in the world.

Stars on the Ice – Rob Blake

Rob Blake is considered one of the best defensemen to ever play the game of hockey, and for three years he graced the ice sporting the white and orange for the Bowling Green State University Falcons. Rob Blake, born December 10, 1969 in Simcoe Ontario, started playing for the Falcons during the 1987 – 1988 season recording 13 points and 88 penalty minutes in 43 games. At the end of his freshman season, Rob was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL) 70th overall.

He went on to play for the Falcons another two years scoring 32 points his sophomore year and 59 points his junior year before moving on to the NHL. During his three years playing for the Falcons, Blake recorded 104 points in 131 games and was named to the CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Association) second team all star in 1989, first team all star in 1990 and NCAA West First All American Team in 1990.

In his first full NHL season, Blake scored 46 points and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1991. During the 1997-98 season, Blake won the James Norris Trophy as the best defensemen. He went on to play with the L.A. Kings until 2001 when he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.

In 2001, Blake reached the highest goal that any hockey player dreams of, he won the Stanley Cup.

Rob Blake went on to play 9 more years in the league, going back to L.A. in 2006 and then on to San Jose in 2008. He hung up the skates on June 18, 2010 after a Hall of Fame worthy 11 year career.

Some of the major awards during Blake’s career;
• James Norris Memorial Trophy – 1998
• The Stanley Cup – 2001
• Winter Olympics Gold Medal – 2002

Stars on the Ice, Part 1

Bowling Green State University’s Ice Arena was opened on February 25, 1967 and in the past 44 years of operation; it has seen its share of memorable moments and prominent skaters. Due to financial issues in 2009, the BGSU Ice Arena was almost shut down and the hockey team lost. However, the community and University joined hands and together saved the arena and hockey program through a combination of state money and private donations.

As a result of almost losing the arena, many people have looked back into its history and remembered the “glory days”. The BGSU Development Office has established a campaign and foundation to shed light on the amazing history of the BGSU Ice Arena. Link here to learn more about the BGSU Ice Arena and help Bring Back the Glory.

This blog is going to be a type of tribute to the great names who have graced the halls of the BGSU Ice Arena and shared the ice over the years. The idea is to highlight some of the greats who have learned and honed their skating skills at Bowling Green State University and gone on to create a legacy for themselves.

Some of the greats to be featured in this blog include:
• Rob Blake
• Alissa Czisny
• Scott Hamilton
• Ken Morrow / Mark Wells
• George McPhee
• Dan Bylsma

The blog is featured twice a month so please look for it and give your support to the great history BGSU has in its own backyard.