The Chargers travel to Houghton, Michigan, this weekend to play Michigan Tech for the first time ever.* The new WCHA has finally brought these programs together on the ice.
But Michigan Tech is a more than a new conference mate. Like UAH, it is a school that prides itself on its engineering programs.
Michigan Technological University was founded in 1885 as Michigan Mining School, which specialized in training mining engineers. The university adopted its current name in 1964 after expanding its engineering curriculum to include chemical, electrical, civil, mechanical, and geological engineering, as well as many other science-related fields. Today, MTU has one of the top engineering graduate schools in the country.** Michigan Tech also has a similar enrollment to UAH at over 7,000 students with over 5,000 undergrads.
So we know MTU can bring it with academics. But what about their hockey prowess? While the Huskies have seen better days, they have a rich tradition that’s coming up to 100 years.
Like UAH, Michigan Tech is primarily a Division II school that plays Division I hockey. The Huskies have played hockey since 1919, and the program has seen both the highest highs and lowest lows.
Michigan Tech has three Division I national championships (1962, 1965, and 1975), and has been to the Frozen Four 10 times. The last time, however, was in 1981, which is also the last time the Huskies made the NCAA Tournament. One of the founding members of the WCHA, Michigan Tech has seven regular-season titles and nine tournament titles.
Michigan Tech is the trustee of the MacNaughton Cup, which goes to the winner of the WCHA regular season. Whichever league MTU is in, the MacNaughton Cup follows, as was the case when the program switched to the CCHA in 1981 and returned to the WCHA in 1984.
MTU’s recent history has not been so kind, as its last winning season was in 1992-93. The lowest point came in the 1999-2000 season, when the Huskies went 4-34 and set an NCAA record for losses in a season.***
For news about the Huskies, visit our counterparts at Tech Hockey Guide.
As timing would have it, the Chargers’ first trip to Houghton just happens to be during one of Michigan Tech’s biggest traditions — the Winter Carnival. The yearly event started in 1922 and features many student activities, including snow statue, broomball, curling, and other snow-related competitions. Some of the snow and ice statues can be pretty impressive.
The Huskies always have a WCHA series during the Winter Carnival. While some may lament that UAH is this year’s Carnival opponent instead of a, say, more glamorous team, it’s just the way the schedule rotation landed.
So there’s your primer on Michigan Tech. Will a rivalry form between these two engineering-rich, hockey schools? We’ll start finding out Friday night.
* Michigan Tech is one of four current Division I programs (out of 58) UAH has not yet played. The others are Boston University, Dartmouth, and Union College.
** UAH and Michigan Tech are tied for 89th for best engineering graduate schools according to U.S. News & World Report rankings in 2013.
*** Not avoiding the elephant in the room, UAH is on pace to break Tech’s record this season, in case the Huskies needed any extra incentive to win this weekend.