John Hughes





























John was the captain of the 1970 national championship team. Daughter Sarah won the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

From Jeff Cordes' article in the Idaho Mountain Express, February 27, 2002:

Rest assured John Hughes watched the gold medal hockey game between Canada and the U.S. on Sunday and rooted for Wayne Gretzky’s club.

Hughes, a proud Canadian and an adopted American, was the captain of the Cornell University hockey team that was called by its coach, Ned Harkness, "the greatest college hockey team ever."

Made up entirely of skaters from southern Ontario, the 1969-70 Cornell hockey team was simply perfect, at 29-0 the only undefeated college hockey team in Division 1 history.

It was the golden era of Eastern College Athletic Conference hockey, when Canadian imports formed the foundation of many college teams and American hockey was still in its formative stage.

Harkness, originally from Ottawa, recruited Hughes out of Scarborough, Ontario, near Toronto. Although he became one of American hockey’s founding fathers, Harkness never abandoned his loyalties.

Not only did he found the hockey program at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute near Albany in 1950, a year after becoming a naturalized American citizen, Harkness guided RPI to a national title in 1954 and a 180-90-7 mark from 1950-62.

However, when asked why he moved west to Ithaca on Cayuga Lake and took over the coaching job at Cornell in 1963, Harkness barked, "Because it’s 130 miles closer to Canada."

He lured 6-2 Ken Dryden out of Ontario, and the goalie known as the "Big Kid" won Harkness’ first national title for the Big Red in 1967. The next year Cornell was third at Duluth, and in 1969 second to Denver at Colorado Springs.

Three-time All-American Dryden then graduated, off to greatness for Montreal in the National Hockey League. Succeeding him was a compact, 5-6, 132-pound goalie named Brian Cropper, a junior Harkness got from Toronto.

Could Cornell regroup? Indeed, they did. They overcompensated on defense.

Without Dryden, Cornell won every game, outscoring opponents 179-55. Cropper was unbeatable. He surrendered just 53 goals. The Big Red won one-goal games over Harvard, Clarkson and Wisconsin, then beat Clarkson 6-4 in the finale.

Hughes was the first-line center, an unselfish, overachieving senior who finished with 68 goals and 83 assists in just 78 Cornell hockey games and exemplified the team’s role-playing spirit.

It was a squad without stars, a team with only one All-American, defenseman Dan Lodboa, who broke a 3-3 tie with Clarkson in the 1970 NCAA championship game at Lake Placid by scoring three goals in the third period.

In four years from 1967-70, Cornell went 110-5-1 on the sheet and won two NCAA titles.

Amy Pasternack was a Cornell junior from Long Island when her future husband was skating for the Big Red and working his miracles in Lynah Rink.

College campuses from 1967-70 were overcome with the roar of revolution, and Cornell was on the front lines. But Amy got into a crowd that lived and died with Cornell hockey and likened Dryden to royalty. Hockey provided a respite from the turmoil, on campus and off.

They met—the sandy-haired, boyish hockey player from Canada and the effervescent coed with the New York accent from Long Island. And they married, blending Canada and America into a partnership.

College graduates, smart and talented, respectful of the value of education, blue chip all the way, they started their own little hockey team.

John became a prominent tax and real estate attorney in New York. Amy was a certified public accountant. Their first child, Rebecca, was born in 1977 and went on to study at Harvard and become editor of the weekly Independent. Sarah was born in 1985.