WCHA Press Releases

1997 WCHA Player of the Year was one of the league's top blueliners for the Golden Gophers
Minnesota's Mike Crowley Named WCHA 1990s Player Of The Decade Presented By Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup And Spire Credit Union
1997 WCHA Player of the Year was one of the league's top blueliners for the Golden Gophers

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Feb. 18, 2021 – One of just two defensemen to win a league scoring championship in Western Collegiate Hockey Association history, Minnesota's Mike Crowley has been named the WCHA Player of the Decade for the 1990s. The honor is presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup and SPIRE Credit Union.

"I feel very honored and humbled to have my name mentioned with so many great players," Crowley said. "When I think back to my time at Minnesota and playing in the WCHA, so many great memories come to mind. All the great teammates I played with, all the old buildings that were always packed and playing against so many amazing teams and players. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to play with so many great players and for a legendary coach in Doug Woog. The WCHA was a tough league and certainly each year our goal was to try to win a national championship, but our first goal was to win the WCHA, which was never an easy task."

A native of Bloomington, Minn., Crowley joined the Golden Gopher program in 1994 after winning Minnesota Mr. Hockey honors as a senior at Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High School, where he was a part of three state championship squads with the Jaguars.

A three-time All-WCHA honoree (1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97) and two-time All-American (1995-96, 1996-97), Crowley also earned WCHA Rookie of the Year (1994-95), WCHA Player of the Year (1996-97) and WCHA All-Academic Team (1995-96) honors and was a two-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (1996, 1997) during his Minnesota career.

Crowley's debut season with the Gophers saw him register 38 points on 11 goals and 27 assists with nine power-play goals and three game-winners as Minnesota reached the Frozen Four. As a sophomore, Crowley improved on those numbers, scoring 17 goals and dishing out 46 assists with seven power-play goals, two short-handed markers and six game-winning goals on his way to a 63-point campaign. He earned WCHA All-Tournament Team honors as the Gophers rolled to the Final Five title with a 7-2 win over Michigan Tech in the championship game.

As a team captain in 1996-97, Crowley became just the second defenseman in WCHA history to win the league's scoring championship when he tallied 42 points on five goals and 37 assists in league play to share the crown and lead the Gophers to a WCHA regular season co-championship. He joined fellow Gopher Lou Nanne (1963) as the WCHA's only blueline scoring champions, an exclusive club that remains at two members today.

In 1997-98, Crowley began his professional career with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He would go on to play 67 career games with the Ducks along with AHL stops in Cincinnati, Long Beach, Grand Rapids and Houston. Internationally, Crowley represented the United States at the 1995 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 1996 and 1998 IIHF World Championships, winning a Bronze medal with the U.S. in 1996 in Vienna, Austria.

Crowley is the fifth of seven Player of the Decade honorees that will be announced by the WCHA during the 2020-21 season. The WCHA is also honoring an outstanding coach and selecting an All-Decade Team for each decade as the league celebrates 70 Years of Excellence.

Other Top Players of the 1990s

Greg Johnson, F, North Dakota (1989-93): Ranks sixth on WCHA's career scoring chart and is North Dakota's all-time scoring leader with 272 career points in 155 games … Three-time All-American (1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93) … Three-time All-WCHA honoree (1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93). Brian Bonin, F, Minnesota (1992-96): Became the WCHA's seventh Hobey Baker winner in 1996 … One of three players in WCHA history to earn league MVP/Player of the Year honors twice and one of just two to earn the honor in consecutive seasons (1994-95, 1995-96) … WCHA All-Rookie selection in 1992-93. Karl Goehring, G, North Dakota (1997-2001): Two-time All-American (1997-98, 1999-2000) … WCHA Rookie of the Year in 1997-98 … WCHA Student-Athlete of the Year in 2000-01 … Three-time All-WCHA (1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000) … WCHA All-Rookie Team pick in 1997-98 … Ranks No. 3 on the WCHA career winning percentage list at .765. Derek Plante, Minnesota Duluth (1989-93): WCHA Player of the Year and Scoring Champion in 1992-93 … Three-time All-WCHA honoree and an All-American in 1993. Chris Marinucci, Minnesota Duluth (1990-94): Became the WCHA's sixth Hobey Baker Award winner in 1994 … Earned All-America and All-WCHA honors in 1993-94 along with winning the WCHA Scoring Championship.

Previous WCHA Player of the Decade Winners

1950s: John Mayasich, F, Minnesota
1960s: Keith Christiansen, F, Minnesota Duluth
1970s: Mark Johnson, F, Wisconsin
1980s: Tony Hrkac, F, North Dakota

For more on the 1990s and the rest of the WCHA's history, visit our 70 Years of Excellence Page.

Celebrating 70 Years of Excellence

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association will celebrate 70 Years of Excellence throughout the 2020-21 season. The league will name all-decade teams and players and coaches of the decade for each of its seven decades. The teams and individuals will be selected by a panel of current and former WCHA staffers and media members who have or are currently covering the WCHA. More than 200 nominees were submitted for consideration by the 21 schools that have called the WCHA home since 1951.

About Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup

Anderson's Maple Syrup Inc. is proud to continue its 90-year tradition of producing, processing, and packaging consistently high-quality pure maple syrup, organic pure maple syrup, and other maple products. For more information, visit Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.

About Spire Credit Union

Founded in 1934, SPIRE Credit Union's commitment to friendly, personal and genuine service remains today. Founded as Twin Cities Co-ops Credit Union, SPIRE strives to improve lives through banking with a purpose as one of Minnesota's top credit unions. For more information, SPIRE Credit Union.

About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Men's League

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, among the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, is marking its 69th season of men's competition in 2020-21. The 10-team NCAA Division I conference consists of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), the University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), the University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats). For more information, visit wcha.com.