From its beginning in the mid-1930s through today, Cranbrook hockey has always been a distinguished part of the school’s athletic program. This is evidenced by the number of championship banners that hang from the rafters in Wallace Arena. Since becoming an MHSAA accredited program in 1979, Cranbrook has earned 19 State Hockey Titles – more than any other school in Michigan.
Its success is attributable to a culture based on teamwork, discipline, pride, loyalty, confidence, perseverance, and sportsmanship. These values, and the dedicated coaches that support them, continue to shape, motivate and inspire both our boys and girls hockey teams, each of which celebrated a state championship in 2013.
Wallace Arena is also an integral part of the program’s history. According to Steve Gasser ’79, captain of Cranbrook’s first state championship team, “There’s a tradition of winning. It’s imbued in everybody. When you walk into [Wallace Arena] that’s your house. That’s the house of state champions.”
Yet Cranbrook Kingswood players have never had what most teams would consider a state-of-the-art facility. When the program was first established in the 1930s, players flooded the Cranbrook oval and tennis courts with water, hoping they would freeze enough to facilitate game play. And if students wanted to participate, they had to help shovel the rink.
“The first thing you had to learn was to shovel,” said William Douglas ’39. “Shovel the snow. If you shoveled the snow real well, you might get out there.”
The arena did not have walls or a roof until the 1970s, when – under Coach Ted Kelly’s leadership – a pole barn was erected over the outdoor rink. Since then, the arena has become a badge of honor that many hockey players remember with pride.
“To play at Wallace,” says alumnus Griffin Howell ’07, “it’s unlike anything… That’s a really special moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Even today, the locker rooms leave much to be desired, which is the primary incentive for renovation. “The programs have outgrown the facility,” explains Boys Varsity Coach Andy Weidenbach. Trustee and alumnus Mike Acheson ’80 adds, “You look outside and the girls have state championship banners by the handful, and they don’t even have their own place where they can say, ‘This is our locker room.’”
Major improvements are needed to ensure the facility is outfitted with the space and resources befitting the quality of play exhibited by both the boys and girls teams. Plans include new locker rooms; a weight room; new coaching offices; and an alumni room, which can serve as a study hall between practices as well as a gathering place for past and present players. The proposed renovations will create space for current players to thrive while helping attract the most talented and dedicated athletes of the next generation.
The total cost of the renovation is estimated at more than $1 million, half of which has been raised so far. One hundred percent of the funds must be secured through philanthropy in order for the project to advance. If you would like more information, or to make a pledge, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Development Director Susan Strickland Muskovitz ’97 at 248-645-3556.
The Barnes Family Julia and Dave Baumhart '62 Steven Black '79 The Brown Family
CK Alumni Association CK Booster Club Richard Clark '99 The Dembeck Family
Bryan Doner '95 The Dumas Family Matt Eriksen '90 Cliff Ewald '78 The Faliski Family Phil Forrer '78 Greg Gallaway '79 The Goodley Family Kelli and Scott Graul '97 Rob Harness '95 The Heath Family Mike Hilder '61 The Howell Family
The Kaufman Family The Kim Family Mandy and Seth Lax '97 Melissa and Larry Lax The Mauer Family Christopher McClear '81 Aaron Melaas '02 Eli Melaas '04 Andrew Miller '07
The Runyon Family The Penske Family Craig Sanders '02 Ryan Sarver '98 Dakota Sherman '10 David Sherman ’79 and Ellen Sherman ’82 Sandra Smith, Bob Wilson '76 and Family
The Schwartzberg Family The Stamper Family
The Strickland Family The Wiater Family Brianna and Brian Wills '96 Tamzen Yarlott
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