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John Peter Matchefts (June 18, 1931 – November 10, 2013) was an American ice hockey player and coach. Matchefts played for Team USA at the 1956 Winter Olympics.[1]

Johnny Matchefts
Biographical details
Born(1931-06-18)June 18, 1931
Eveleth, Minnesota
DiedNovember 10, 2013(2013-11-10) (aged 82)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Playing career
1955–1956US National Team
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1966–1971Colorado College
1972–1974Air Force (assistant)
1974–1985Air Force
Head coaching record
Overall208–238–9 (.467)
Accomplishments and honors
1951 NCAA National Champion
1952 NCAA National Champion
1953 NCAA National Champion
1953 Tournament Most Outstanding Player
1991 US Hockey Hall of Fame
2015 University of Michigan Hall of Fame



An Eveleth native from birth, Matchefts played for his hometown high school ice hockey team, earning three consecutive all-tournament team honors in his time there and helping Eveleth High School win state titles in his junior and senior years.[2] Matchefts then moved on to Michigan, signing up to play for the national powerhouse under the charge of Vic Heyliger. After sitting out his freshman season (a normal occurrence at the time) Matchefts joined the varsity team just in time for them to win the school's second national title in 1951.[3] The following season the Wolverines became a founding member of the MCHL and responded by posting a second consecutive 22-win season and national title. Matchefts was named team captain for his senior season and while their win total dropped to 17, the Wolverines were invited back to the NCAA tournament and after a scare against Rensselaer in the semifinals, Michigan triumphed for the third straight year, making this the only three-peat in the history of the tournament. (as of 2014) With the win Matchefts joined a very exclusive club of three time NCAA champions as a player in any sport let alone men's hockey.

After graduating in 1953 Matchefts joined the US National Team for a time, playing in both the 1955 World Ice Hockey Championships and the 1956 Olympics, earning a silver medal at Cortina d'Ampezzo before retiring as a player.


Matchefts returned to Minnesota and spent more than a decade as the coach for both his previous high school and Thief River Falls High School[4] before being offered the opportunity to succeed Bob Johnson as head coach at Colorado College. After a decent first season Matchefts' Tigers dropped to the bottom of the conference and stayed well below .500 for the remainder of his tenure and he was out as coach after the 1970–71 season[5] after the school denied his request for a $200 raise.[6]

A year later Matchefts' joined his old college coach, Vic Heyliger, at The Air Force Academy as an assistant and eventually succeeded him in 1974–75.[6] for the next 11 seasons as coach for the Falcons, Matchefts led the airmen through ups and downs as the program established itself as a Division I Independent before retiring and turning the team over to Chuck Delich in 1984–85.[7]

On November 10, 2013 John Matchefts died in the city where he spent so much of his coaching career, Colorado Springs.[8][9]

Career statistics[10]Edit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1950–51 Michigan NCAA 56
1951–52 Michigan MCHL
1952–53 Michigan MCHL 24 15 33 48
NCAA totals

Head coaching recordEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Colorado College Tigers (WCHA) (1966–1971)
1966-67 Colorado College 15-13-1 6-12-0 7th WCHA First Round
1967-68 Colorado College 9-20-0 4-16-0 7th WCHA First Round
1968-69 Colorado College 12-16-0 4-14-0 7th WCHA West Regional Finals
1969-70 Colorado College 7-22-1 3-17-0 9th
1970-71 Colorado College 11-17-1 7-11-0 8th WCHA West Regional Semifinals
Colorado College: 54-88-3 24-70-0
Air Force Falcons (Division I Independent) (1974–1985)
1974-75 Air Force 24-5-1
1975-76 Air Force 16-10-0
1976-77 Air Force 20-7-0
1977-78 Air Force 9-17-0
1978-79 Air Force 18-12-1
1979-80 Air Force 15-16-0
1980-81 Air Force 13-13-0
1981-82 Air Force 12-17-1
1982-83 Air Force 5-23-0
1983-84 Air Force 8-16-2
1984-85 Air Force 14-14-1
Air Force: 154-150-6
Total: 208-238-9

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Awards and honorsEdit

Olympic medal record
Men's Ice hockey
Representing   United States
  1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo Ice hockey

October 1991 Induction into US Hockey Hall of Fame as a player.

September 2015 inducted into University of Michigan Hall of Honor

Award Year
All-NCAA All-Tournament First Team 1951 [13]
All-MCHL Second Team 1952–53
All-NCAA All-Tournament First Team 1953 [13]


  1. ^ Olympic results Archived 2012-12-15 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Minnesota hockey legend Matchefts dies". Star Tribune. 2013-11-16. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  3. ^ "NCAA Division 1 Tournament". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  4. ^ "John Matchefts". US Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  5. ^ "Colorado College Men's Hockey Team History". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  6. ^ a b "John Matchefts, former Air Force hockey coach". Denver Post. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  7. ^ "Air Force Men's Hockey Team History". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  8. ^ "John P. Matchefts Obituary: View John Matchefts's Obituary by The Gazette". Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  9. ^ "Duluth, Minnesota". Duluth News Tribune. 2013-11-15. Archived from the original on 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  10. ^ "John Matchefts". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  11. ^ "2013-14 Colorado College Media Guide" (PDF). Colorado College Tigers. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  12. ^ "2012-13 Air Force Falcons Media Guide". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  13. ^ a b "NCAA Frozen Four Records" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-19.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ken Kinsley
NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Succeeded by
Abbie Moore
Preceded by
Murray Armstrong
WCHA Coach of the Year
Succeeded by
Glen Sonmor