Season 5 Episode 25 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; Matriarch with Jerry MacInnes. This special episode was recorded in October 2023 when Tim Braun and Rob Gilreath were in Houghton and visited Jerry MacInnes, the wife of former Michigan Tech hockey coach John MacInnes. In this episode they discussed how Jerry met John, Michigan Tech hockey playing at the Dee, the student section before Mitch’s Misfits were created, the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena, Jerry’s memories both old and new and Winter Carnival.

When Jerry met John

Jerry shared the story about how she and John originally met. The story involved an adventure trying to find someplace to eat in Ann Arbor, Mich. on New Year’s Eve 1945. Jerry then shared the story of how her and John ended up in Houghton, Mich. with John coaching the Michigan Tech hockey team.

Michigan Tech Hockey

Most of the conversation centered around Michigan Tech hockey (obviously) and how it has changed or been similar throughout the years. Jerry talked about watching games at Dee Stadium and how she earned the nickname “blue line coach”. She then talked about the different atmosphere between the Dee and Mac when it opened.

Throughout the entire conversation, Jerry continually pointed out how great the community and students have always been to Michigan Tech hockey. Tim, Rob and Jerry all talked about the old and new student section as well as the pep band. Jerry talked about how she doesn’t enjoy the “commercialization” of the game and thus the pep band having less time to play. They all talked about the various pep band antics throughout the years.

They also talked about the Mac and how it came to be, how it has changed throughout the years, and their favorite parts of the complex. All of them thought that the hockey viewing is great in all areas of the arena. Jerry talked about John pouring over blueprints and was sure to mention her one contribution to the stadium design. Jerry also gave kudos to all of the people who take care of the arena and the effort they put in to keep it in good shape. They talked about some of the more recent changes to the Mac, including the recently renovated locker room. Jerry talked about the Blue Line Club and some of the activities they used to put on for the students before the NCAA got stricter on their rules.

Jerry talked about some of her memories of the last ten years of Michigan Tech hockey, stating that some of them are big disappointments. They all talked about the lack of NCAA tournament wins for Michigan Tech in recent years.

Jerry also talked about some of the work done to digitize old reel to reel tapes from her collection. One is a tape from 1962 MacNaughton Cup Homecoming and the other is the 1972 dedication of the new rink at the Mac.

1962 MacNaughton Cup Homecoming digitized by Jeff MacInnes
1972 dedication of the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena digitized by Jeff MacInnes

Jerry talked about some of her favorite players during John’s time coaching the team and how many of them have stayed in touch with her throughout the years. She told stories about receiving overwhelming amounts of mail on her birthdays as well as running into former hockey players all over the world. Jerry also talked about John’s commitment to his players and making it a point that they were attending Michigan Tech to earn their degree, not just to play hockey.

Jerry also told stories about one of her kids picking up swear words from the locker room during Michigan Tech practices and a former player playing a prank on unsuspecting guests with a fake mongoose. This lead to Tim talking about his experience in speaking with school administration about what he was and was not allowed to do in the stands during hockey games.

Winter Carnival

Jerry talked about Tech having very little women in attendance back in the day and having to bus the hockey teams’ girlfriends up to Houghton for Winter Carnival Ball. She talked about many of them being underdressed and underestimating the amount of snow in Houghton. She also talked about how much the Winter Carnival hockey games mean to the team and presenting the trophy every year.

Photo via Michigan Tech

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