WATERLOO –Wilfrid Laurier University will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the school’s first national championship at this Saturday’s men’s basketball games against the University of Windsor.
The 1967-68 Waterloo Lutheran (Wilfrid Laurier) Golden Hawks won the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) National Basketball Championships defeating the Saint Mary’s Huskies 66-61. Earlier in the semi-final of the national play down the Hawks upset the highly favoured University of British Columbia by a single point, 82-81.
12 of the 17 members of the team and staff are coming back for the event, including teammates from as far as British Columbia and Florida.
“It’s been a long time since we were back together,” commented volunteer organizer Sandy Nixon, a Geography/English graduate of 1969 and starting guard with the team. “The last time we got together was back when we were inducted as a team to the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame.” That induction ceremony took place on September 22nd of 1995 and was the first year Wilfrid Laurier honoured teams in the Hall of Fame.
This team helped to increase the university’s presence on the national stage adding to the two appearances the football program had made at the Canadian College Bowl (now known as Vanier Cup).
“It was huge,” followed up Nixon. “The town stood still when we got back. There was a cavalcade of cars at the 401 and highway 8 junctions that met us and drove all the way back to a pep rally right outside the Theatre Auditorium on University Avenue”.
Along with many fans, the two mayors of Kitchener and Waterloo were on site and Head Coach Howard Lockhart was made an honorary Mayor of Kitchener for the day.
Lockhart, originally from San Antonio, Texas, led the team to three consecutive appearances at the national championships starting in 1966-67. His first season at Waterloo Lutheran, he won a provincial championship. Later he would add two additional provincial titles, a national silver, as well as the title in 1968.
Captains Norm Cuttiford and Peter Misikowetz were both also recognized nationally that season being named to the tournament all-star team. Misikowetz was named the CIAU tournament most valuable player and Cuttiford later that year the school’s most valuable player.
The Golden Hawk Hall of Fame has recognized this team’s excellence by inducting all five of the starters, including Bob Bain and Dave Baird as well as Nixon, Cuttiford, Misikowetz and Coach Lockhart as a Builder.
“Looking back at the success of the 1967-68 team was the incentive for Wilfrid Laurier to hire Peter Campbell to bring us back to national prominence,” stated PETER BAXTER, Laurier’s Director of Athletics and Recreation. “Our men’s team has demonstrated this with their appearance at the national Championship in 2006 and we look forward to the goal of returning to the CIS Top 10 in the near future.”
Other members of the 1967-68 basketball team include John Thomson (Asst. Coach), John Daugavietis, Herb Stan, Doug Coombs (Manager), Rob Sleeman, Dan Radobenko, Mike Kilpatrick, Doug Lundy, Dave Miller and Darryl Blackie.
Since that first National Championship, the Golden Hawks have hoisted seven more with the most recent coming in 2005 as the men’s football team won its second title. The soccer program continues to have the highest number of National titles with four, and the 2004-05 women’s hockey team holds the other.