John Mariucci - Born May 8, 1916 in Eveleth, Minnesota – Died March 23, 1987 in Minneapolis, Minnesota was an American ice Hockey defenceman, coach and administrator.
Mariucci was a standout in Hockey and football as a boy. He later excelled in both sports at the University of Minnesota. In 1940 he was named an all-American on the varsity Hockey team while helping the 1940 undefeated Golden Gophers win the Amateur Athletic Union / AAU (NCAA) championship.
After graduating from college Mariucci played for the AHL Providence Reds in 1940 before getting his first NHL game with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1941.
Mariucci played for the Chicago Black Hawks for five seasons and would be the team captain in 1945-46 and 1947-48. Mariucci would be known primarily as a defensive-minded bruiser, finishing with only 11 goals and 34 assists in 223 games, but would total 308 penalty minutes. He would lose three seasons to the war (1942-43 through 1944-45), but would play two seasons for the United States Coast Guard Cutters Hockey team in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League.
Mariucci's best season with the Black Hawks would come in 1946-47 when he would play in 52 of the team's 60 games and finish with 9 goals and 11 assists and his 110 penalty minutes would be second in the league to Gus Mortson.
On October 28, 1948, Chicago would trade Mariucci to the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey League for cash. After one season in St. Louis, on September 4, 1949, Mariucci would be traded to the Minneapolis Millers in the United States Hockey League (USHL), again for cash. He would spend the 1950-51 season with the USHL St. Paul Saints and would then return to the Millers (this time in the All-American Hockey League) for the 1951-52 season before retiring.
As admirable a player as he was, Mariucci's true calling was as a coach and nurturer of talent. He took over as coach of the University of Minnesota Hockey team and immediately declined to recruit players from Canada. An important part of this emphasis on home grown talent was a challenge sent out by Mariucci to high schools throughout the Minnesota state to start their own programs and develop interest in their respective communities. Between 1952 and 1980 the number of high school teams grew from a handful to more than 150.
Mariucci was coach at the university from the 1952–53 season until the 1965–66 season, except for the 1955–56 season in which he was the head coach of the US Olympic Hockey team that won a silver medal at the Cortina, Italy Olympic games.
Mariucci's best Gopher team would come in 1954-55 when Minnesota would advance all the way to the NCAA finals before losing to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 5-4 in overtime.
In 1967, Mariucci was named the assistant to general manager for the NHL Minnesota North Stars with Glen Sonmor becoming the Gophers' coach. He eventually would work for Lou Nanne, one of his Gopher Hockey players, and held the position with the North Stars until his death in 1987. He returned to the international scene as the head coach of the United States team at the 1976 and 1977 Ice Hockey World Championships.
The University of Minnesota honored him by first renaming the Hockey arena in Williams Arena after him and later when a new Hockey arena was opened in 1993, the school transferred his name to that one as well, Mariucci Arena.
In 1983, the John Mariucci Award, began to be awarded to the Minnesota High school coach of the year, as selected by the state's Hockey coaches, as Mariucci is immortalized as the "Godfather of Minnesota Hockey"
John Mariucci was inducted into the inaugural 1973 class of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
John Mariucci won the Lester Patrick Award in 1977 for contributions to Hockey in the United States.
John Mariucci was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1985.