It’s been a sad week for the University of Michigan hockey program. Last Friday, Michigan’s first three-time All-American, Wally Grant, passed away, at 86. Then on Monday, Grant’s teammate, Al Renfrew, who went on to coach the team for 16 years, died at 89. These two men made great contributions to Michigan hockey’s unequaled tradition.
During World War II, the fortunes of a college hockey team didn’t amount to a hill of beans. The able-bodied were fighting in Europe and Asia, so Michigan’s roster shrunk. So did the schedule, from 20 games to eight. From 1940 to 1943, the Wolverines won exactly five games - total. The next year, a local newspaper warned, “Michigan May Remove Hockey From Athletic Program.”