Our congratulations to the Union College Dutchmen who upset the top-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers in Philadelphia over the weekend to claim their first ever NCAA men’s collegiate hockey national championship. Union College triumphed in a bit of a Cinderella story, emerging as champions of the Frozen Four by defeating the the likes of Vermont, Providence, and traditional collegiate hockey power Boston College before skating past the Gophers with a 7-4 victory.
And here at the University of Houston, we know a thing or two about traditional collegiate hockey powers.
Oh what’s that, you say? They don’t play real hockey in Texas and the University of Houston, of all places, certainly does not have a rich hockey tradition.
Oh ye of little sporting history.
Patrick J. Nicholson’s In Time reminds us that an upstart Cougar hockey team forged a cross-town rivalry with Rice University over at the Polar Wave Ice Palace on McGowen Avenue four decades before these two schools would ever square off on the football field. Out of the blocks the Houston Cougar ice hockey team barnstormed through their season’s schedule, thrashed their competition, and went undefeated, outscoring their opponents on average three to one. As one might imagine, however, finding opponents for a brand new hockey program representing a very young Houston Junior College was not easy and counted among the victories that year was a besting of Rettig’s Ice Cream Parlor among others. The Houston hockey establishment was less than impressed with the Cougars’ competition and, as the 1934 Houstonian informs us, “Because of an incomplete schedule, the city championship was forfeited.”
For a few years the hockey program lay dormant until 1939 saw a new hockey team become the first sport to be sponsored by the newly chartered University of Houston. The high water mark for Cougar hockey may have been the 1940 season as they attempted to reclaim a city title stripped from them just a few years prior. This time there were no questions about incomplete schedules when a would-be dream season saw a regular season split with “Rice Institute” deal the Cougars their only loss and the Owls would go on to win a unique tie-breaking scenario, claiming the city championship for themselves.
From there, it would seem, enthusiasm for a University of Houston hockey team melted under the heat and humidity of Houston. A war was waging half a world away and the nation’s youth turned their attention away from diversions like collegiate athletics. Once the war was over and the veterans returned home, the diversions returned as well. UH ice hockey, however, would not make a comeback and, to this day it persists in its slumber.
But, who knows. In a 21st century where everything old is new again, perhaps that sleeping giant will wake up soon.
No, we haven’t stepped into a time warp.
However, fans of the Red and White may notice a little Cougar hue to the TBS coverage prior to the Final Four on Saturday. As part of their pregame analysis and with the help of resources from the University Archives here in Special Collections, the TBS team will take a look back to those glorious years in the early 1980s, when the Coogs’ dunking and dominant style of play struck fear in the hearts of basketball teams across the nation, but ultimately claimed a dubious distinction–becoming arguably the best team in history to never win a national title and being on the wrong end of one of college basketball’s most monumental upsets.
We understand if the diehard Cougars out there don’t want to relive the pain, again. But, for those of us who can’t get enough of those glory days, coverage begins at 3PM EST, 2PM Central with “The Road to the Final Four.” Be on the lookout for some old Houstonian yearbooks, chock-full of “Akeem the Dream” (sans the “H”), “Clyde the Glide,” and the rest of Texas’ Tallest Fraternity, to make an appearance during “The Final Four Show” airing at 4pm EST, 3pm Central.
categories: Department News
Chinwendu Rose Ejezie recently joined our team here in Special Collections as our new Shuart Women’s Archive Graduate Assistant. Earning her Bachelor of Arts in English and Literary Studies from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Ms. Ejezie began her graduate study in the fall of 2013, pursuing her Master of Science in Human Resource Development through the College of Technology here at the University of Houston.
Thanks in large part to the generous support of Mr. Jeff Beauchamp and the Friends of Women’s Studies, the Shuart Women’s Archive is able to apply the talents of Ms. Ejezie to the surveying, arrangement, and description of new and unprocessed collections with particular regional and national research potential. Ms. Ejezie began her work here in Special Collections in mid-February 2014 and has hit the ground running, working with the recently acquired Toni Beauchamp Papers.
By her own account, Ms. Ejezie has been impressed with the depth and content of the character of the late Toni Beauchamp as she reviews her papers. At first tentative and fighting back the feelings of invading one’s privacy that come with the territory of the archives, Rose has quickly discovered the passion Ms. Beauchamp had for the altruistic work being done and the people that made the work possible, noting that this dedication shines through in the collection, even as it is being processed.
Previous work in the Architecture and Art Library gave Ms. Ejezie an understanding of the amount of work going on behind the scenes to make research available to the general public, but now she has taken on a role in the vanguard as she prepares collections for future research. Settling into this new role in Special Collections, Ms. Ejezie has been quick to point out the supportive environment provided by Vince Lee, Archivist for the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive & Research Collection, and others as she immerses herself in this new world of the archives. She hopes the insight gleaned from working in this capacity will help translate to future work in human resources, the handling of sensitive documents, confidential information and the like.
Ms. Ejezie is slated to graduate in December 2015. However, hailing from a family that embraces and values education, she is weighing her options of pursuing further studies or beginning a career track in human resources. Until then, Special Collections is thrilled to have her talents and insights as we continue to grow our collections.
On Friday, March 14th, the UH Libraries hosted a reception for members of the USS Houston Survivors Association and the Next Generations, who were visiting Houston for their annual reunion. The organization was established in 1946 to bring together surviving crew members of the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30), who had fought together in the Battle of the Java Sea, and spent 3 1/2 years together as prisoners of war. In 1981, the Survivors Association donated to the Libraries a set of historic documents, letters, photographs, and memorabilia which became known as the Cruiser Houston Collection.
In attendance this year were survivors Bill Ingram and Howard Brooks. Ingram was the second youngest crew member on the ship, having enlisted in the Navy at seventeen. Many family members of other Houston crew members were also present, as well as historian Don Kehn, author of A Blue Sea of Blood: Deciphering the Mysterious Fate of the USS Edsall. The group enjoyed the opportunity to view the USS Houston Exhibition, have some cake and lemonade, and relax in the camaraderie of longtime friends.
UH Special Collections wishes Howard Brooks a speedy recovery after his recent fall.
Main Street Theater has been an important part of Houston’s vibrant performing arts community for almost forty years. Led by founding director Rebecca Greene Udden, the company staged their first production in the summer of 1975. As the name suggests, their first home was located on Main Street at Autry House, a community center belonging to the Episcopalian Diocese. The theater has grown steadily since then, first moving into a larger 92-seat space on Times Boulevard in Rice Village in 1981, and later adding a second, even larger, Chelsea Market location. The Main Street Theater is currently in its 39th MainStage season and its 34th Theater for Youth Season.
The Main Street Theater Records provide insight into the company’s activities both on stage and behind the scenes. The first 12 boxes of the collection consist of materials like playbills, scripts, posters, flyers, and photographs, documenting the theater’s MainStage productions as well as productions that are part of its Theater for Youth program. The collection also contains substantial amounts of financial records, meeting minutes from the Board of Directors and various other committees, donor correspondence, and materials related to the planning of benefits and fundraisers.
Take some time and peruse the finding aid, or better yet come visit us at Special Collections and see the history of this Houston theater for yourself!