Jake McCoy’s hockey origins in south Minneapolis spotlight the difference in early 1950's youth hockey from what it has become. Although Jake played with the U.S. Olympic Team in the 1964 Innsbruck Games, he did not start skating until he was eight years old. Jake started skating on Diamond Lake in 1950. There was no rink yet across the street at Pearl Park. Jake was initially a basketball player and did not play organized hockey until 1953 when, as an 11 year old sixth grader, he skated for Windom Grade School in the Minneapolis Cub league. He then did not play organized hockey in 7th and 8th grade, instead playing basketball for Resurrection School. What Jake did do, however, was spend every other free hour he had in the winter skating at Pearl Park, playing pick up hockey.
In 9th grade, while a freshman at DeLaSalle, Jake became a full time hockey player. DeLaSalle did not yet have a Varsity high school team so in 9th and 10th grade he played PeeWee (now Bantam) hockey for a Washburn area team called “Woody Harriers”. The team was sponsored by a car detail and repair shop on Lake Street and was coached by Dick Erdall, who had got Jake into organized hockey for Windom Grade School. They played Al Crary’s Southwest team, Marv Nelson’s “Marv’s Boys” from Henry as well as a Roosevelt team. The 1956-57 Harriers team were the State Champion’s.
DeLaSalle formed a boys Varsity hockey team in Jake’s junior year. He recalls they skated two lines with three defense and one goalie. He never left the ice. While in high school Jake also skated for a newly formed senior men’s team out of Pearl Park. His Pearl Park team won the State and National Senior Championships.
After DeLaSalle Jake spent one year at St. Johns before coming home to the University of Minnesota. He tried out for the freshman hockey team (transfers were not eligible for Varsity). 17 players already had guaranteed spots. Jake won out over 60 other players competing for the final six spots. He then played defense for the Gopher Varisty his Junior and Senior years (62-63). In the fall of 1963 there were open tryouts at Wakota Ice Arena for the 1964 USA Olympic Team as well as a similar tryout out east. Olympic veterans, All-American’s and pros tried out, but at the end Jake McCoy was still standing and secured a regular defense position (just eight years after giving up basketball for hockey).
Post Olympics Jake remained active as a player and a coach. He played for Stevens Buick and then Marv Jorde’s “Parkers” winning eight Minnesota and six National Senior Mens' titles. While at the University of Minnesota he had coached Pearl Park hockey and in 1964 became coach of the Washburn Area Bantam team “Gopher Pup Tent”. His coaching resume consists of decades with Richfield and Minneapolis youth hockey programs (coaching two Storm squirt A teams) and four years coaching Washburn High School.
When asked to summarize his extraordinary hockey career, Jake McCoy states “I had a lot of good fortune and think I am one of the luckiest guys in the world”.
Minneapolis Hockey welcomes Jake McCoy into the Minneapolis Hockey Hall of Fame. To learn more about Minneapolis' incredible hockey history, CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE HALL OF FAME.
Jake McCoy, left, and his Pearl Park Team....
1957 State Champion Bantam Team - Woody Harriers
DeLaSalle High School Hockey - 1957-59
University of Minnesota Gophers - 1961-63 Walk On
1964 USA Olympic Team - Innsbruck, Austria
Six Senior Mens National Championships with Marv Jorde's Parkers
Richfield High School Coach
Washburn High School Coach
Minneapolis Storm Squirt A Coach (2 years)
McCoy's Pearl Park "Woody's Harriers" Team....1957
McCoy, center, lead the DeLasalle Islanders to a State Hockey Championship
McCoy, back row third from left, during his Golden Gopher Career
McCoy's 1964 Olympic Team
McCoy as a 1964 USA Olympian (Innsbruck, Austria)
McCoy as a Bantam with the Woody's Harrier Team from Pearl Park
McCoy Coached Storm Squirt A's for Two Years as Part of His Amazing Coaching Career
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