Season 3 Episode 13 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; You Got Wilsoned. This week, Tim Braun, Rob Gilreath, Dustin Lindstrom and Matt Cavender were joined by Professor William (Bill) Sproul, Professor Emeritus in the Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering Department at Michigan Tech and author of “Michigan Tech Hockey: 100 Years Of Memories” and “Houghton The Birthplace Of Professional Hockey“. This week, the guys discussed Bill’s interest and involvement in Tech’s hockey program, some of the content in Bill’s new book on Michigan Tech hockey, Bill’s favorite moment in Tech hockey history, a weekend recap of Tech’s series against St. Thomas, the Joe Shawhan Hour, and Fantasy College Hockey.
Conversation with Bill Sproul
Tim started the conversation by asking Bill how he, as a Civil Engineering professor, got into hockey enough to write books about it. Bill talked about Michigan Tech replacing freshman English classes in the early 2000s with new Perspectives on Inquiry classes. These new classes would help students write papers and make presentations on topics that interested them. Being from Canada, Bill had a natural interest in hockey and so he taught a class on hockey called Hockey History and Culture. Bill talked about gathering materials for the class and discovering that Houghton was the birthplace of professional hockey; a claim he was skeptical of given his Canadian heritage. He started by writing a few papers on the subject, and these became a book on hockey in the Copper Country. Bill then talked about being approached by Tech’s athletic director about doing a book specific to Tech hockey, which became Bill’s COVID-19 project.
Tim then asked Bill about Bill’s previous role as the Faculty Athletic Representative and what that meant. Bill talked about his role in that position and the work that goes into it. Rob pointed out that there have only been 5 or 6 other Faculty Athletic Representative’s for Tech since the role was mandated by the NCAA for any school that has an NCAA athletic program.
The conversation then transitioned to focus more specifically on the new book Bill wrote about the history of Tech hockey. Rob was the most prepared for this part of the conversation as he followed the tried and true method of “cramming the night before the exam” by reading the book the previous night. Rob asked about St. Thomas College being the predecessor to the University of St. Thomas. Rob also talked about Tech playing the Alaska Nanooks before they were known as such. Bill then talked about his experience looking through 100 years of the Daily Mining Gazette and the Lode for information to include in the Tech hockey book. Bill also discussed reaching out to former players to get their favorite memories of playing for Tech.
Tim then relayed a question from Tech Hockey Guide’s own Old Dog, who asked Bill what his favorite moment was in Tech hockey history. Bill responded with a story about the time he got a puck during a game he attended in 1970, which then lead into Bill talking about getting tickets to games at Dee Stadium when Tech used to play their games there. The guys then talked about John MacInnes and the impact he had, not only on Tech hockey but college hockey as a whole. Bill told a story about John going to the Soviet Union to learn their system of playing hockey. A little later in the podcast, Bill added that putting together the new book was a pretty good memory as well.
The guys then talked about some of the changes to the sport of hockey throughout the years. Rob asked about some of the old positions, their names, and when they switched to the current naming system and Bill talked about those changes largely happening in the 1920s. Matt then discussed how his mind was blown that the forward pass used to be illegal in hockey. Matt also discussed how goalie’s going from standing style to butterfly style is the biggest change to the sport he’s witnessed in his lifetime. The guys then talked about Tech being the first team to wear plastic helmets, and Bill talked about MacInnes era players experimenting with goalie masks.
St. Thomas series recap
Matt started off the recap by expressing his disappointment with the game on Friday. Tim and Dustin didn’t agree with Matt and both said that Matt’s anger should be saved for the Saturday game. Tim was happy to see Tech finally crush a team they were supposed to on Friday and thought it showed what Tech can do when they don’t play to their opponents level. The guys then spent some time discussion Arvid Caderoth’s faceoff violation penalty. Dustin thought there was a lack of urgency in Tech’s players and that they were simply going through the motions. Tim mostly agreed with this but pointed out that Justin Misiak, Brian Halonen and Ryland Mosley stuck out over the others. The guys then discussed pulling the goalie early, some of the analytics behind when to do it, and the effect it can have on the game.
The Joe Show
The guys briefly discussed the Joe Shawhan Hour. Matt thought that Joe took the weekend on the chin and showed that he recognized that’s not what Tech hockey is looking for moving forward. Tim talked about Joe taking responsibility initially, but then turning that responsibility back to the players. The guys also discussed the news that Marcus Pederson had an injury setback which is why he hasn’t been playing.
There were two questions that came in from Patrons this week that the guys answered and discussed. The first asked why we as fans think it’s acceptable to allow the staff to have a team that doesn’t perform against low end teams. The guys talked about not accepting it, but also pointed out that hockey is a sport where numbers do not reliably point to the outcomes like they do in other sports. The second asked how the guys can consider the team a contender when they can’t beat a team such as St. Thomas in regulation. The guys talked about Minnesota State losing to Ferris State, and recalled back to last season when Tech would struggle against Ferris State and Alabama Huntsville. Dustin talked about looking at the season as a whole and how the team has improved compared to last season. Tim discussed this needing to be a wake up call for the team.
There was no new segment of the Fantasy Challenge this week due to the low number of college hockey games being played. Dustin did a quick recap of last week which saw Tim scoring six points, Dustin scoring four, The Ghost and Rob scoring three and Matt scoring two. The overall standings remained the same as last week.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 45 minutes long. The guys discussed Copper Country hockey, how streetcars played a role in Tech hockey and UP teams that used to exist and play against Tech. Rob talked about wanting Illinois to start a hockey program to renew an old rivalry against Tech. The guys briefly discussed Tech football and a project Bill is working on chronicling its history. Tim talked about his trip to the UP this past weekend and all of his food experiences. The guys discussed the two point conversion and analytics in football. The final cut segment was about a possible live edition of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast coming in July.
For additional information and more episode liner notes, check out our episode overview on Tech Hockey Guide. To make sure we can afford all our fancy equipment we purchased for the podcast and the THG website in general, please check out our patreon page and consider joining. Patrons at our Black Level or above receive an authentic MTU jersey patch and access to extra podcast content including extended versions of our other episodes. This week’s extended version is about 133 minutes.
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