Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hal Trumble, hockey executive (1926-2010)

Team USA manager Hal Trumble, goalie Carl Wetzel and coach Murray Williamson pose on the ice in 1971.

By Tom Hawthorn
Special to The Globe and Mail
March 25, 2010

The American hockey official Hal Trumble fought unsuccessfully to keep professional hockey players out of the Olympic Games.

“It would ruin our program,” Mr. Trumble declared in 1986.

As executive director of the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States, now USA Hockey, Mr. Trumble had built a system in which college players deferred their own pro careers to compete for the United States at the Olympics.

His Canadian counterparts were eager to get professionals into the Winter Games and, in time, the Olympics opened the door to unrestricted participation of National Hockey League stars.

Mr. Trumble managed the amateur U.S. hockey team, featuring future hockey stars Mark Howe and Robbie Ftorek, that won an unexpected silver medal at the Sapporo Olympics in 1972.

He served as head of the Amateur Hockey Association for 15 years, a time during which the game enjoyed strong growth, especially following the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” gold-medal victory at the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Mr. Trumble was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1999.

He was the author of the 1975 guide, “Coaching Youth Ice Hockey.”

Mr. Trumble refereed the deciding game of the 1968 Olympic tournament, as the Soviet Union defeated Canada 5-0 for the gold medal. Canada took the bronze. He was also a qualified international umpire in softball and baseball.

Harold L. Trumble Jr. was born on Aug. 28, 1926, at Minneapolis. He died on March 5 at San Clemente, Calif. He was 83. He leaves Ida Mae, his wife of 36 years; two sons; two stepdaughters; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and, a sister.

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