The Michigan hockey team’s 22-year NCAA Tournament streak came to an end Sunday with a loss to Notre Dame in the CCHA title game. For a period spanning three decades, the Wolverines were a model of consistency. Their 22-year streak dwarfs the nearest competitor: if North Dakota surpasses Michigan’s mark, it won’t be until the year 2025. The Daily Sports staff takes a look back at 22 years of hockey memories:
The Daily reached out to alumni, authors and more for perspective on the run. Below, find the best of the best. On the left, we’ve ranked each of the 22 teams in order of success:
The NCAA Tournament streak started with a snub. This article, originally published in 2012, takes a look at the last team that didn’t make the tournament, and the year that sparked the decades-long run.
The streak was never really in jeopardy — that is until the 2009-10 season. A slow start left the Wolverines out of the playoff hunt and left Michigan coach Red Berenson with dwindling options. So, in desperation, Berenson turned to a player named Shawn Hunwick. There were several problems, the least of which may have been Berenson’s preference for big goalies (Hunwick was 5-foot-7, generously). But it wasn’t just the size: Hunwick was an unheralded walk-on, a third-string benchwarmer who had played a grand total of three minutes in his career at Michigan. Didn’t matter — Hunwick was magic, and the rest is history.
The 2012-13 season was an utter disappointment. Until, suddenly, it wasn’t. But the Cinderella run ended tantalizingly close to the NCAA Tournament.
There just wasn’t enough offense, writes Greg Garno.
Plus, Liz Vukelich takes a look at Michigan’s surprise rock, freshman goalie Steve Racine, who was just a few paces too short.