Laker Hall to welcome Hoffort

May 20, 2016

More than 25 years after backstopping the Lake Superior State Lakers to an improbable Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association hockey championship, goalie Bruce Hoffort is headed to the school’s Hall of Fame.

Hoffort, who grew up in the Saskatchewan town of North Battleford, arrived in Sault Ste. Marie in the fall of 1987 as one of 15 freshmen on a Lake Superior State team that was in the masterful coaching hands of Frank Anzalone and his assistant, Jeff Jackson.

After sharing netminding duties with Mike Greenlay, a National Hockey League draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers, Hoffort took over as the Laker starter down the stretch of the ’87-88 season en route to becoming a national sensation between the pipes.

In spearheading the Lakers to the school’s first of three national hockey championships, Hoffort led the nation with a 2.65 goals against average and was second with a .909 save percentage to go with a sparkling record of 23-4-3.

And Hoffort would save — literally — his best for his last game that ’87-88 season.

Playing in the NCAA championship game in historical Lake Placid, N.Y., Hoffort made 49 saves and the Lakers scored a stunning 4-3 overtime victory over St. Lawrence University to win the national crown. The 49 saves that Hoffort made remains to this day the second-most ever in an NCAA championship game.

During that championship season, I remember asking aforementioned Laker coach Frank Anzalone what it was about the slender Hoffort that made him such a standout. And Anzalone likened Hoffort to “a Major League Baseball shortstop, the most-athletic player on the team.”

After leaving Lake Superior State, Hoffort would sign a free-agent NHL contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was the goalie of record for seven games with the Flyers over two NHL seasons and went unbeaten with a 4-0-3 record.

After suffering a nasty concussion, Hoffort walked away from the game on his own terms at age 26.

He later returned to Lake Superior State to complete a degree in business administration and assist the Lakers as a volunteer coach.

Now a success in the business world and living in Appleton, Wisconsin with his wife and family, Hoffort, who will turn 50-years old in July, will be inducted into the Laker Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016 and will return to the Soo during Great Lake State Weekend in October.

PHOTO: Lake Superior State’s 1988 national championship team. Bruce Hoffort is pictured first row, far right.

What you think about “Laker Hall to welcome Hoffort”

  1. Great goalie. He should have been in the LSSU Hall of Fame before now. And a great team. Incredible performance and championship season with over half the team being freshmen. Remember watching the championship game on TV and the Downtowner absolutely exploded when Mark Vermette scored the overtime winner against St. Lawrence.

  2. I remember like yesterday listening to Bill Crawford call the game on the Radio. Great article!

  3. Glory Days…Hoffort in the net; the OT winner by Vermette; Jimmy Dowd, Dougie Laprade, Mike DeCarl…GLORY DAYS! Congrats to Bruce on going to the HOF. Well deserved.

  4. As one of the hockey cheerleaders that year, we were blessed to have been part of the experience the whole season. Watching this team play all year and then traveling to Lake Placid and enjoying the frenzy that was our LSSU “Miracle on Ice” remains a highlight of my time as an undergraduate. Bruce, your induction to the Hall of Fame is long overdue!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *