The history of Peddie hockey has more gaps than a veteran defenseman’s smile. When the program was revived in 1935 after a 10-year hiatus, its teams suffered through five seasons as bumpy as the practice ice on Peddie Lake. A campus sportswriter ruefully observed that “Peddie hockey was considered a hopeless enterprise, and a team that won more than two or three games was considered a miracle.”
Then Head Coach William H. Hawley took the reins. PG star Joseph Harron arrived from Atlantic City High School, widely acclaimed as the incubator of the East’s top young prospects. And faster than a speeding puck, Peddie put together two consecutive championship seasons, triumphing over every hockey high school and prep school in the state.
Despite losses in hard-fought contests against Princeton University’s Freshmen and JV teams, the 1941 hockey sextet finished the season 9-2, undefeated in secondary school competition and even beating vaunted Atlantic City twice. Thanks to rugged goaltender Harland Miller, Peddie recorded shutouts over traditional rivals Lawrenceville and Blair. Captain Joe Harron led the team in scoring with 25 goals, while teammate Robert Field finished in the top spot for assists. Stick wizard Henry “Hank” Safarik, speedster Philip Brown and smooth-skating William Coleman rounded out Peddie’s dominating first line. Center Willard Davison, along with wings Byron Gates, Ogden Barron and Burton Barysh, supported the starters as members of the second line.
Despite two defeats at the hands of the Princeton freshmen, the 1942 Peddie stickmen won 10 contests and skated to a draw against a tough Thayer Academy team. Captain and “one-man blitz” Hank Safarik found the back of the net 31 times, setting a new school record for season goals. Behind the nearly impregnable defense of William Bryngelson, Richard Mason, varsity returner Barron and the incredibly stingy Sunny Roe in goal, Peddie again dominated both Blair and Lawrenceville, with combined shutout scores of 13-0. Coach Hawley also relied heavily on second liners Van Bockus, Frederick Warburton, George Bickford and Harold Dow, and substitutes Frank Bradley, Henry Bachman, Gregory McCoy, Robert Foss, Willis Eshbaugh and Robert Kohler.
The Sports Hall of Fame is proud to honor the 1941 and 1942 Ice Hockey teams – the first in Peddie history to skate into the Hall.