John Mayasich grew up and played his high school hockey in Eveleth followed by four seasons at the University of Minnesota before becoming a decorated hero on the national stage for the U.S.
At Eveleth, Mayasich skated with one of the most dominating high school teams in Minnesota state hockey history. How about four straight seasons of undefeated hockey and state champions from 1948-1951?
“Going down to the State Tournament as a ninth grader was a big thrill and having the opportunity to have played in four [state tournaments]was great. At the time, we had a heck of a good team so it was expected of us. Had we lost, there would’ve been a lot of disappointed people in Eveleth. It was fun but there was a lot of pressure also.”
Following his high school hockey career, Mayasich moved on to play four seasons at the University of Minnesota where he became a three-time All American and led the WCHA in scoring in 1954 and 1955.
The Gophers made it to the NCAA Championship Game in 1954 against R.P.I. only to lose in overtime in a heartbreaker. Mayasich had nine points in that tournament and says he enjoyed playing for the Gophers, but that game still sticks out in his mind to this day.
“That’s the game I remember most in my hockey career. We had an opportunity to win it and we didn’t, so it was extremely disappointing.”
But glory would soon find Mayasich on the national stage playing internationally for the U.S. In all, he played on eight Olympic and national teams, including winning silver in 1956 and bringing home the nation’s first gold medal in hockey in 1960.
“It was a big thrill,” said Mayasich, “You don’t realize it, but pulling on that jersey and representing your country in international competition is special and something you always remember.”
Today John Mayasich and his wife reside just outside of Eveleth where the outdoor ice may be perfect for a pick up game this time of year, but don’t look for Mr. Mayasich out there.
“The last time I skated was the opening of Mariucci Arena in an alumni game and I figured it was a good time to hang ‘em up!”
1910s: Frank Winters
1920s: Frank "Moose" Goheen
1930s: Doc Romnes
1940s: Frank Brimsek
1950s: John Mayasich
1960s: Tommy Williams
1970s: Bill Nyrop
1980s: Neal Broten
1990s: Phil Housley
2000s: Jamie Langenbrunner