Nov. 15, 2013
U.S AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - In memory of the late John Matchefts, who served stints as head hockey coach for both teams, Air Force and Colorado College have jointly created The Pikes Peak Trophy to be awarded to whichever of the two in-town rivals prevails in their annual showdown on the ice.
The new hardware will be presented for the first time to the winner of the Nov. 19 contest between the Tigers and Falcons at the World Arena. In the event of a tie, the winner of the trophy will be decided in a post-overtime shootout.
Matchefts, who passed away on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the age of 82, was a two-time All-American at the University of Michigan. He led the Wolverines to three straight national championships under coach Vic Heyliger from 1951-53. Matchefts was twice named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA Championships and was the finals MVP in 1953.
Following his college playing career, Matchefts played on the USA National Team in 1955 and earned a silver medal as an alternate captain with the 1956 USA Olympic Team. After serving as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, Matchefts began his coaching career in 1957 as the head coach at Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, Minn. While coaching at Lincoln and his alma mater, Eveleth High School, he led the 1959 and 1960 teams to the state tournament and never had a losing season.
The native of Eveleth, Minn., guided the Colorado College hockey program for five seasons and posted a 48-72-2 mark. He was named the 1969 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year.
Matchefts came to the Academy in 1972 as an assistant coach to Heyliger for three seasons. He took over the head coaching duties in 1974. In 11 seasons, Matchefts led the Falcons to a 154-150-6 record from 1974-85. In his first season at Air Force, he led the Falcons to a remarkable 24-5-1 record, the second-best mark in school history. He also paced the Falcons to four winning seasons in his first five years. His 154 wins are tied with Chuck Delich as the second-most in AFA history.
Matchefts was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and was named to the NCAA's 50th anniversary hockey team in 1997.
Beginning in 1997, the Air Force Academy created the John Matchefts Award, honoring the team's freshman of the year. The award is presented every year at the Air Force hockey end-of-season banquet.