BIRTHPLACE: St. Paul, Minn.
BORN: March 5, 1932
DIED: July 12, 1991
TEAMS/ASSOCIATIONS: University of Minnesota, United States Olympic Team, Minor pro teams, Boston Bruins, Minneapolis Millers
Ken Yackel graduated as a three-sport star from Humboldt High School, St. Paul in 1949 and went on to greatness at the University of Minnesota as both a defenseman and forward on the Gopher hockey team. Minnesota, who was coached by fellow enshrinee John Mariucci, reached the final four of the NCAA Tournament in both 1953 and 1954 with Yackel playing a major role. He was named to the All Tournament Team in 1954 while at the same time being selected to the All American Team.
Yackel was but one of two American-developed players to appear in the NHL in the decade of the 1950's, when he played with Boston in 1959. His other professional play included service with Cleveland and Providence in the American League as well as Saskatoon/St. Paul of the Western League.
In the early 1960's Yackel coached and played in the (technically) amateur International League for the Minneapolis Millers. In 1961 the Millers won the regular season championship as Yackel captured the league scoring championship and first all-star team honors as the team's player/coach. The following year he had a career high 50 goals and was named to the league first all-star team at left wing.
In 1963 Yackel coached the Millers to the finals before losing to Fort Wayne, but his 100 point season was sufficient to gain second team all-star honors at both left wing and coach.
Also active on the international scene, Yackel was a member of the 1952 United States Olympic Team that won a silver medal, losing only to Czechoslovakia and tying Canada. In 1965, he coached the United States National Team in the world tournament at Tampere, Finland.
Then, late in 1971, he answered the call of his alma mater and filled in as interim coach for the balance of Minnesota's season. He remained active in the hockey community not only in his native Minnesota, but also nationally. He also devoted a lot of his hockey interests to the advancement of the John Mariucci Inner City Hockey Association, a program designed to encourage hockey development among inner-city youth. He is one of Minnesota's greatest all-around athletes.