Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: John Mariucci

This has been a week for taking extra time to honor the veterans who have served our country. As such, it was only fitting that this week, Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty featured a Coast Guard veteran from World War II. This veteran also just so happens to be an alumnus of one of the Universities we are welcoming to Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, for the 2014 Armed Forces Classic.

The 1942 to 1943 U.S. Coast Guard "cutters" hockey team. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The 1942 to 1943 U.S. Coast Guard “cutters” hockey team. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Lt. Anastacia Visneski

John Marriuci, born May 8, 1916, was a Golden Gopher. He attended the University of Minnesota where he played for both the football and hockey teams. In 1940, he was named an all-American on the varsity hockey team while helping the gridiron squad win the NCAA national championship.

After graduating, he played five NHL seasons on the Chicago Blackhawks, but when duty called, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard to serve as a boatswains mate during World War II.

While he served, he continued to play hockey on the Coast Guard Cutters, which formed in 1942. Even though the team was only around for two years, they were a great team that intimidated their opponents. Some even say they were the “the finest non-National Hockey League team ever to perform in league competition.”

But soon the need for reinforcements in the war was too great and the Cutters were disbanded as they deployed into the field for battle.

At the end of World War II, Marriuci returned to the Chicago Blackhawks where he had his best season from 1946 to 1947, when he played in 52 of the team’s 60 games and had 9 goals and 11 assists. After being traded to a couple other teams, he retired from the NHL in 1952.

Marriuci wasn’t done with hockey, or being a leader, he went back to the University of Minnesota to coach their hockey team. While coaching he focused on bringing in homegrown Minnesota talent, visiting high schools and encouraging them to start their own teams.

People in Minnesota remember him for all the work he did to grow the sport in their home state. When talking this week to some University of Minnesota coaches and trainers, they all smiled at Marriuci’s name knowing just who he was and commented that they named an arena after him.

If he wasn’t done with hockey or being a leader, Marriuci was also not done representing the United States. He missed the Gopher 1955 to 1956 season because he was the head coach of the U.S. Oylmpic hockey team, which won a silver medal. He also was the head coach of the United States team in 1976 and 1977 at the Ice Hockey World Championships.

John Marriuci passed away March 23, 1987, but not before he won the Lester Patrick award in 1977 for contributions to hockey in the United States and was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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