Marshfield Athletics History: The creation of the hockey team
By Kris Leonhardt
As the Marshfield School District prepares to make improvements to their athletic facilities, the Marshfield Hub City Times takes a look at the district’s sports programs and facilities over the years.
In December 1929, Marshfield High biology teacher D.T. Stillman organized a hockey club. With interest high – 20 students in total – construction of a hockey rink began. On one of lumberman, William H. Upham’s ponds, with donated lumber from the Marshfield Lumber Company and the assistance of the Marshfield Rotary Club, a hockey rink was constructed and the sport of hockey was born in Marshfield.
The city was very supportive in the endeavor, assisting with flooding the ponds and removing the snow for play.
A schedule with Nekoosa, Wausau, and Wisconsin Rapids, consisting of six games was organized.
First string players for the inaugural season consisted of: Ralph Borens, goalie; Jack Wolfe, right defense; E. Mattison and W. Reed, left defense; Captain Robert Berghammer, center; E. Goldbach, right wing; and R. Rochon, left wing. Substitutes players consisted of: J. Sternweiss, goalie; J. Normington, defense/wing; J. Schubert, center; and R. Meyer and W. Becker, wings.
With a game against Wisconsin Rapids canceled due to poor skating weather, only five games were played that first season – three of which Marshfield won.
Considering the inexperience of the team, the school declared the season a success, making it a minor sport earning letters as the football and basketball teams did.
During the 1931-32 season, Stevens Point added a team to what was now known as the Wisconsin Valley Conference, now consisting of five teams.
In 1934, what became the McKinley High hockey team won the Wisconsin Valley Conference Championships, pushing their way through a nine-game season undefeated. For this, the team brought home their first ever trophy in hockey and medals for each player.
The sport of hockey made a huge advancement in the 1935-36 season, with the use of an indoor hockey rink in the exposition building at the fairgrounds.
During the 1936-37 school year, Mr. Stillman – originator of the hockey team – left Marshfield High and was replaced by biology teacher, E. Burnkrant, who took over coaching the hockey team, as well.
Next week: The dawn of a new era
A special thanks to the MHS Athletic Department for providing the material for this series. For more information on the school district’s current athletic facility project, visit www.marshfieldschools.org. To donate, contact the Marshfield Area Community Foundation at 715-384-9029.