With four games left to play in the 1978 season, Penn ice hockey coach Bob Finke learned the news from a Daily Pennsylvanian reporter: Because of budget restraints, the University was dropping hockey as a varsity sport.
Though students stormed the athletic department in protest of the cuts—which also included golf and gymnastics—hockey at Penn officially ended with a game against rival Cornell on March 4, 1978, because while golf and gymnastics were reinstated, hockey was not. It was a sad end for a sport that, for a while, was among Penn’s most popular. In fact, when the Class of 1923 Arena (pictured above) opened in 1970, Penn hockey boasted one of the premier facilities in the country, and crowds of 2,000 fans routinely packed the arena to see the Quakers play. In the 1971-1972 season, the team posted a 15-7 record and earned a playoff berth. It would prove to be the high point of the team’s varsity years.
For more on this and other notable moments in Penn’s history, visit the University Archives web site at www.archives.upenn.edu.
Originally published on January 18, 2007