15 Seconds, 30 Years Later
15 Seconds, 30 Years Later
By Michael Agresti '94, forward on '92 Club Hockey team
On February 2, 1992, the University of Maryland Club Hockey team defeated the U.S. Naval Academy, 6-5, to win the 15th annual Crab Pot Tournament in Annapolis. It was the first and only UMD win in the tournament. The Terps were down 4-1 at the beginning of the second period but rallied back to tie the game with eight minutes left in the third period.
The 1991-92 UMD Club Hockey Team celebrating their win at the Crab Pot Tournament.
Then, 15 seconds into sudden-death overtime, Mike Naidrich ’93 scored the game-winner in thrilling fashion. It was a remarkable accomplishment for a team made up mostly of local Maryland natives, all of whom paid to play the sport they love in college—against a team of well-equipped and supremely fit Midshipmen from hockey states like Minnesota, North Dakota and Massachusetts. This victory was a great story. What occurred 30 years later is an even better story.
In December 2021, Joe Glennon ’92, the captain of the 1991-92 team, was picking up his son in College Park to see a Terps football game when he noticed a student dressed in a suit holding a hockey bag and his hockey sticks. Joe knew instantly that this was a current Terps hockey player waiting for a ride to a game. Joe began talking to this student, asking all sorts of questions about Maryland hockey. Confused, the student finally asked, “Did you play at Maryland?” When Joe told him he played and graduated in 1992, the student’s eyes widened. He asked, “You were on the Crab Pot team?” When Joe told him he was, the student informed him that the ‘92 team was the only one from the university to win it in the 44 years of being invited to play. Joe had no idea this was the case. From that point forward, he was on a mission to reunite his ‘92 teammates for the 30th anniversary of that victory.
Watch a snippet of the 30th Anniversary Video: https://go.umd.edu/30Hockey.
Always the consummate leader, Joe set about locating his teammates via Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels. By January 2022, most of the team was in a WhatsApp chat group reminiscing and sharing pictures of themselves and their families. The vast majority had not connected with one another in 30 years. Soon, it became clear that everyone was going to go to Annapolis for the 30th anniversary of their win. Even better, Joe rented a house in downtown Annapolis big enough for most of the out-of-town teammates to stay at, and he ordered replica jerseys for everyone to wear to the Maryland/Navy game.
About half the team arrived on February 2, 2022. When the guys saw one another for the first time, 30 years evaporated in an instant. There were no awkward moments. The guys immediately went back to the same banter that existed in the locker rooms and long road trips of the ’92 season. Fortunately, Defenseman Mike Coakley’s parents had preserved a VHS of the championship game, and the group watched the game for the first time since they played it. It was as though they were watching a game they had never seen, let alone played. Every hit and every goal brought loud roars from the group.
The 1991-92 UMD Club Hockey team gathered at their 30th reunion to watch a video of their historic win at the 1992 Crab Pot tournament.
On Friday, the rest of the team arrived in Annapolis. Captain Joe had managed to rally 20 out of his 21 teammates to travel from as far as Florida and New Mexico, as well as head coach Vic Hugo, assistant coach Tom Fisher and team manager Paul Gentile. Before the Maryland/Navy game that night, Joe arranged for a banquet in downtown Annapolis. Everyone attended in their replica Maryland hockey jerseys. Joe also gave out commemorative glasses with the Crab Pot Tournament logo and a miniature hockey puck embedded in the side of the glass. He instructed his teammates that every time they had a drink from this glass, they needed to toast to No. 31, Bob Wagman ’92, the goaltender who stopped 62 shots in the championship game. He then honored Gentile for creating the Terps Club Hockey Team in 1980 and leading the club for the next 24 years.
The current team knew some of the ’92 team might be in attendance that night. But they were not expecting to come out of their locker room to find 20 middle-aged guys all wearing Maryland hockey jerseys, lined up to high-five them as they took to the ice. Despite a valiant effort and significant cheering from the ’92 team, they lost to the Naval Academy that night. The ‘92 team remains the only Maryland team to have ever won the Crab Pot Tournament in its 44-year history.
This reunion was just the beginning. Since February 2022, the ’92 teammates have remained in steady contact through the WhatsApp chat, phone calls and meet ups in New York City and Washington, D.C. The rekindling of friendships that lay dormant for 30 years appears to have staying power, and the guys are planning to have a larger team reunion each year. Every time a drink is poured into a “31” glass, a picture is sent to the group with “Cheers to 31!” While much of the chat is the typical banter of old friends, the teammates have also used it for business networking and support of one another through life’s ups and downs. In addition, in March 2022, the ‘92 team helped raise over $10,000 for the current hockey team as part of Maryland’s Giving Day - ranking the hockey team as the highest among student organizations to receive Giving Day donations in 2022.
At the time they beat Navy, the lesson of the ’92 Maryland club hockey team was that a team playing with more heart can defeat a team with more talent. Thirty years later, the lesson of this team is that no matter how long you have been separated from your Maryland friends, it’s never too late to reunite. This reunion was not about celebrating a victory on the ice. It was about the bonds of friendship that were formed on that ice—bonds that remain strong decades later.
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