Friday, February 7, 2014

Knight's Honor

You may have noticed that yesterday's short blurb is usually something that would get pointed out in the Friday pumpup. That's because we've cleared the deck for one man this week.

75 points in 26 games in 1964. 90 goals in three seasons, good enough for 6th all time in school history. 9th in total points with 187. Very simply, Jerry Knightley was one of the best to ever strap on a pair of skates for RPI, and tonight, while being honored with all the other members of the 1964 Frozen Four Engineers, he joins teammate Bob Brinkworth and five others in the highest accolade that can be bestowed upon a hockey alumnus - entry into the Ring of Honor.

Historically, Knightley played on the tail end of the Engineers' first great run. One of Ned Harkness' last recruits to come to Troy, the teams anchored by Knightley and Brinkworth produced some high end results.

Knightley's class of 1965, in part due to NCAA regulations allowing only three years of varsity playing time, was the only class that had a different coach for each of its seasons on the ice - Harkness in 1963, Rube Bjorkman in 1964, and Garry Kearns in 1965.

Twice a first-team All-American (1964 and 1965), Knightley is one of only five Engineers to be so honored, following Paul Midghall (1958/1959) and Brinkworth (1963/1964) and preceding Adam Oates (1984/1985) and Chase Polacek (2010/2011).

At the 1964 Frozen Four, the Engineers fell 4-1 to Denver on the Pioneers' home ice surface, but bounced back in the third-place game with a result and a score that would become far more famous 21 years later in Detroit: RPI 2, Providence 1. Knightley assisted on both of the Engineers' goals.

Interestingly enough, Knightley is one of the few players that ever played against the Engineers after having worn the Cherry and White - a pair of recent examples include Jordan Cyr, who transferred to Holy Cross, and Jerry D'Amigo, who played in an exhibition with the USA Junior Team after signing a professional contract. Under rules that existed at the time, graduate students could play hockey in Canada, and Knightley played for Western Ontario while pursuing his MBA there the year after graduating from RPI. The Mustangs played in and won the RPI Invitational in 1965, which ended with Knightley and his new team demolishing one of the worst Engineers teams in school history, 11-1. Knightley was named to his third consecutive all-RPI Invitational team.

So in honor of Jerry Knightly and his ascension to the Ring of Honor, our pumpup for this evening. Harkening back to 1964, it was in fact 50 years ago today that the Beatles landed in the US for the first time and began the British Invasion... so let's go with probably the best pumpup song the Fab Four produced in their early iteration to get the blood pumping for tonight.


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