Historic year for Oxford University Ice Hockey Club

27 February 2018

Kellogg student Chris Byrne (MSc Evidence-Based Health Care) is playing in his second season with the Men’s Blues 

After a disappointing fourth place finish (3-0-5) in 2016-17, the Men’s Blues clinched first place in the British University Ice Hockey Association’s Division 1 South following a 4-1 victory over the London Dragons on February 24 in London. The Blues are now 7-0-0 and look to remain undefeated with a win in their final game of the season against Cambridge on March 3 (7:30 pm at Oxford Ice Rink, tickets available here).  

Every ice hockey player dreams of making history. That dream may be having their name immortalized on the Stanley Cup or winning an Olympic Gold Medal for their country. For student-athletes from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, this will become a reality on the 24th of March 2018 on an outdoor rink in the Swiss Alps.

On March 24th history will be made as the world’s oldest hockey rivals play their 100th Varsity Match. Oxford and Cambridge’s claim to this title stem from an outdoor match held in the Swiss Alps in the winter of 1885 — the original Winter Classic. Despite wars, depressions, and turmoil, the two teams have faced each other 99 times since the first Varsity Match.

The original winter classic will once again take place in an open-air ice arena, Ludains, in St Mortiz, Switzerland. The event is being hosted by Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, an international renowned boarding school in Zuoz Switzerland.

This season marks the 100th anniversary of ice hockey’s top hockey league, the NHL. Fittingly, their centennial anniversary coincides with the 100th Varsity match of the oldest rivalry in the sport. The first Oxford versus Cambridge ice hockey match in 1885 had a profound impact on the game of ice hockey; developing the sport in Europe from the late nineteenth century game, ‘hockey on the ice’, to what we now know as the modern-day game of ice hockey.

The 100th Varsity Match is a celebration of the legacy of the Varsity Match in ice hockey history, and over 130 years of Oxford-Cambridge hockey rivalry. The event will have an international flair with student-athletes from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Australia participating.

The OUIHC is proud to continue its historic legacy of providing students from around the globe with the opportunity to play the sport that we all love. Irrespective of experience, recreational or National team, the OUIHC is a home away from home. Many generations of players have worn the Dark Blue of Oxford University ice hockey, from famous Canadians Lester B. Pearson (former Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Laureate) and Clarence Campbell (former NHL President and Chairman) to Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) and John McCall MacBain (philanthropist and entrepreneur).

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OUIHC in St. Moritz, Switzerland (1930-31)


Oxford University hockey team, December 1929. Riessersee, Bavaria, Germany. Canadian players from left to right:
George Stanley, Archie Grace, Ronald Martland, Larry Bonnycastle, Billy Wallace. (Credit Glenbow Archives, NA-2968-84)