SPS Hockey: A Student Perspective

Marvin Cho ’24 is this year’s Archives Proctor. As such, he helped with the research for our winter term archives exhibit, First on the Ice: 140 Years of SPS Hockey. Below, he shares his thoughts on what he learned about St. Paul’s hockey legacy.

“Most students often hear passively about St. Paul’s crucial role in beginning the long-running epic of American ice hockey. But without spending much time looking around the exhibits in the Captain’s Room at the Hockey Center or being on an SPS hockey team, it is difficult to truly grasp the historical weight of our school on the rink. I, for one, had known only the bare basics. I had seen pictures of the first hockey games in America being played on our very own Lower School Pond, and of course, I knew that our school produced Hobey Baker, one of the most prominent figures in hockey history, who lends his name to the prestigious NCAA Hobey Baker Award. But, when I had the opportunity to help Ms. Parsi curate the First on the Ice exhibit, I realized that St. Paul’s is not only the host of the historic first matches or the alma mater of the most famous collegiate hockey player in history; our predecessors essentially fathered the game of ice hockey as we know and love it today.

I did not know, for example, that Malcolm Kenneth Gordon, one of our very own teachers, documented a rule set for intramural hockey at St. Paul’s that would set the foundations for what we know now as American hockey rules. Neither did I know that collegiate ice hockey began as a series of friendly matches between St. Paul’s alumni at Harvard and Yale, and that they were the ones who first pushed colleges to recognize hockey as an official interscholastic sport.

Considering our history, one can only imagine the feeling of privilege and honor that comes with being a Pelican on the ice. Brad Cox ‘24, a Captain of the Varsity Hockey team, describes what it means to him to play hockey at St. Paul’s: “I remember the first time I put on my jersey. I paused for a second with my jersey over my head. It was a surreal feeling to put on more than 140 years of history, and it’s special to me because it’s a jersey with the same name on it that Hobey Baker wore.”

Our hockey story can be a source of inspiration for the rest of us, too. As students can see through the exhibit, the vision, passion, and initiative of our own alumni brought about several monumental “firsts” in the world of ice hockey. I hope that this inspires students today to become firsts in our own worlds, just like St. Paul’s hockey community did more than a century ago.”

SPS Hockey Team 1908-09. Hobey Baker is 4th from the left.


To learn more, visit the exhibit or come to our Archives Talk on Thursday, January 18th at 6:30 in Room 202 of Ohrstrom Library. Our archivist, Ms. Parsi, will be talking about the history of SPS hockey, as well as sharing artifacts and photographs from the archives. Hope to see you there!

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