WCHA announces 1950s all-decade honorees

The 1950s were the first decade to be highlighted this week as part of the league's 70th anniversary.

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BLOOMINGTON -- The Western Collegiate Hockey Association men’s league has announced the first honorees in its series of All-Decade Teams, as well as a Coach and Player of the Decade, in celebration of the conference’s 70th anniversary in 2021.

The 1950s were the first decade to be highlighted this week.

Minnesota’s John Mayasich was named Player of the Decade, while Michigan’s Vic Heyliger earned Coach of the Decade laurels.

Joining Mayasich at forward on the All-Decade Team were North Dakota’s Ben Cherski and the Wolverines’ John Matchefts. The Gophers’ Ken Yackel and UND’s Bill Steenson comprise the defensive pairing for the team, with Minnesota’s Jack McCartan holding down the fort in goal.

Considered one of the best players the state has ever produced, Mayasich was a four-time All-American with the Gophers. He is the only player to claim three straight WCHA scoring titles, doing so from 1952-53 to 1954-55. The Eveleth native still holds the league record for career assists (144) and ranks fourth in career points (298).


Beginning his coaching tenure at Michigan before the founding of the WCHA, Heyliger guided the Wolverines to four NCAA championships between 1951-52 and 1956-57. His teams won one outright WCHA title and finished runner-up four times during that span. A Concord, Mass., native, Heyliger was named the Spencer Penrose Award winner as national coach of the year in 1954.

As the oldest league in college hockey, the WCHA will continue to celebrate seven decades of history during the 2020-21 season. The league will announce the remaining six decades on a bi-weekly basis starting with the 1960s during the week of Jan. 4. The honorees were selected by a panel of WCHA staff and media members who have covered the league.

WCHA 1950s All-Decade Team

Name, pos., school, years, hometown, stats

John Mayasich, F, Minnesota, 1951-55, Eveleth, 144 G/154 A/298 Pts

Ben Cherski, F, North Dakota, 1951-55, Saskatoon, Sask., 131 G/57 A/188 Pts

John Matchefts, F, Michigan, 1951-53, Eveleth, 57 G/74 A/131 Pts

Ken Yackel, D, Minnesota, 1952-56, St. Paul, 70 G/78 A/148 Pts


Bill Steenson, D, North Dakota, 1956-59, Moose Jaw, Sask., 12 G/33 A/45 Pts

Jack McCartan, G, Minnesota, 1955-58, St. Paul, 67 Gms/.980 Sv Pct./2.95 GAA

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