Every weekday from June 12-27, we will be looking back at the "Top Shelf Moments" from the 2016-17 WCHA Men's League season. Up next on our countdown is…
Moment #10: Celebrating the 50th in Style
Special thanks to Matthew Daley, BGSU Athletic Communications Assistant, who contributed heavily to this story.
Say one thing for the Bowling Green hockey program and its many fans: They know how to throw a party.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the newly rechristened Slater Family Ice Arena on Feb. 11, the Falcons and their faithful came through in every way. On the only home ice the Bowling Green program has ever known, a rink where the Falcons have amassed more than 525 all-time victories, the 2016-17 version added another memorable moment with a 3-0 nonconference win over Mercyhurst. Pierre-Luc Mercier and Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Mark Friedman scored during the second period, Tyler Spezia added a third-period tally and eventual New York Rangers free-agent signee Chris Nell posted a 22-save shutout, the ninth of his record-setting Falcons career (he would finish with 11).
If you weren't among the 3,584 in attendance that night, but tuned in on the radio (or watched via WCHA.tv), you were provided a special treat. The Falcons' first move to celebrate the golden anniversary of their home rink was to secure the presence of Mike "Doc" Emrick, the Emmy Award-winning broadcaster of NHL games for NBC. Emrick, who earned his doctorate from BGSU in 1976, returned to broadcast the game with the current "Voice of the Falcons," Evan Pivnick, on Bowling Green's student radio station, WBGU. Emrick also emceed a reception for 50 years of Bowling Green hockey, figure skating and curling that was held on Saturday, Feb. 11.
For the weekend-long celebration, the Falcons returned key figures to the start of BGSU hockey, United States Olympians, and National Hockey League stars for the ceremonies. The list included Gordon Morris, who started the club hockey program in 1963, Bill Little, who served as the team's first club coach, and Jack Vivian, who was BGSU's first varsity head coach. BGSU also welcomed back NHL stars Rob Blake and Nelson Emerson, as well as current Las Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee.
The returning alumni were not only representative of the hockey's presence at the Ice Arena. The arena was also home to 1984 Olympic gold medalist figure skater Scott Hamilton and two-time United States Champion figure skater Alissa Czisny, both of whom returned for the anniversary weekend.
The first 50 years of the Slater Family Ice Arena have been an amazing time, and the celebratory anniversary weekend highlighted that wonderful history. It left only one question – what can the Falcons and the Bowling Green community do over the next 50 years to top it? The centennial already beckons.
"Top Shelf Moments" from the 2016-17 WCHA Season