The University of Michigan announced on Friday that former Michigan hockey standout Wally Grant passed away at the age of 86 on Wednesday.
Grant played well before my time, but it's impossible not to marvel at his incredible resume, and mourn the loss of his one of his era's most important amateur hockey players.
Grant grew up in Eveleth, Minnesota and his high school hockey career alone would have made him a legend. Eveleth was undefeated for three straight seasons with Grant, including 1945, when Grant captained Eveleth to a state title in the inaugural Minnesota High School State Hockey Tournament. Grant scored two goals in the third period to lead Eveleth to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Thief River Falls in the first ever state championship game.
In 2011, Minnesota Hockey Hub ranked Grant the 31st-best Minnesota high school player of all-time.(And if we're being honest, Grant is probably under-ranked by the formula used because he only had the opportunity to participate in one state tournament.)
After graduating from Eveleth High School, Grant headed to the University of Michigan to begin his college hockey career. His college hockey career was interrupted by a 18-month stint in the US Army during World War II, but he helped lead Michigan to the first ever NCAA national championship with an upset win over Dartmouth at the Broadmoor Hotel in the 1948 Final Four. He was named to the All-Tournament team in 1948, as well as 1949 and 1950 when he led Michigan to third-place finishes in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan compiled a record of 80-15-4 during Grant's tenure with the Wolverines, with Grant compiling a scoring line of 63-83-146.
After graduating from Michigan's business school, Grant worked for General Motors until retirement in 1987. He stayed active within the Michigan hockey program the rest of his life, including serving as president of Michigan's Blue Line Club, and becoming the first former player to endow a hockey scholarship at Michigan. He was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1994.