Dick Starrak and the 1947-48 Michigan Wolverines won the inaugural American collegiate championship.
By Tom Hawthorn
Special to The Globe and Mail
March 4, 2010
Dick Starrak, a recruit from Moose Jaw, Sask., helped the University of Michigan capture the inaugural American collegiate hockey championship in 1948.
The Wolverines won the title with victories over Harvard and Colorado before knocking off Dartmouth 8-4 in a tournament played at Colorado Springs, Colo.
Mr. Starrak joined Michigan for the 1946-47 season as a defenceman. He also played on a forward line with centre Gordie McMillan and winger Lyle Phillips. The trio all hailed from Moose Jaw, where Mr. Starrak had played for the juvenile Monarchs.
Michigan failed to repeat as champions the following season. In a tournament game against Dartmouth, the normally law-abiding Mr. Starrak received five minor penalties, a record that stood for 39 years. He had been charged with but two penalties in the previous 23 games. Michigan lost, 4-2.
His brother, Jim Starrak, also a defenceman, won the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship with the Colorado College Tigers in 1950. The brothers were both named All Americans for the 1948-49 season.
After graduation, Dick Starrak skated for the Windsor (Ont.) Ryancretes and Detroit Auto Club of the professional International Hockey League.
Away from the rink, he worked in the lumber industry, starting with the Capilano Timber Company of Vancouver. He later moved to New England to work for a wholesale lumber company, eventually becoming president of the George McQuesten Lumber Company of Massachusetts.
Richard Bonar Starrak was born on May 26, 1927, at Moose Jaw, Sask. He died on Feb. 6 at Hanover, N.H. He was 82. He leaves his wife, Jacquelynne; a step-daughter; a son; and four daughters.