Former Rensselaer student-athlete Jerry Knightley is the seventh inductee into the prestigious Hockey Ring of Honor. A 1965 graduate, Knightley was recognized on Feb. 7 during the Engineers’ game against Yale University. Additionally, he and his teammates from the 1963-64 NCAA Final Four team were honored as part of a 50th anniversary celebration.
“I am very honored to join such an impressive group of inductees,” Knightley said. “I was so fortunate to have played with a really good group of guys, many of whom I am still very close to, and because I was a student-athlete at RPI, there were many opportunities presented to me upon graduation.”
“Jerry’s accomplishments during his time as a student-athlete are legendary,” said Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton. “He epitomizes what it means to be a student-athlete and the way he played and competed on the ice truly set him apart as a deserving member of our Ring of Honor.”
A forward from Agincourt, Ontario, Knightley finished his career with 90 goals and 97 assists for 187 points in 71 games over three varsity seasons (freshmen were not eligible to play varsity athletics at the time).
1963-64, Knightley led the nation in scoring with 75 points (33 goals, 42 assists) in 26 games for a 2.88 points per game average. He had four hat-tricks, including a four-goal game against the University of Ottawa on December 7 (12-1 win) and a five-goal game at Cornell University in an 8-0 win over former head coach Ned Harkness and the Big Red on December 18. He was named to the RPI Invitational All-Tournament Team, All-Tri-State, All-East, to the All-NCAA Tournament Second Team and National All-America.
He then led the Engineers in goals (27), assists (22), points (49), and points per game (2.23) while playing all 22 games as a senior. He scored five times against Sir George Williams in a 9-5 win on November 28 and four goals in an 8-2 win at Northeastern on January 8. Once again he was chosen to the RPI Invitational All-Tournament Team, All-Tri-State, All-East, ICAC Most Valuable Player and National All-America.
Knightley, who had a hat-trick or better in nine career games, captained the Engineers as a junior and senior, helping the team to an 18-8-0 record and a spot in the NCAA Tournament in Denver in 1964. He had two assists in a 2-1 win over Providence College in the third-place game.
He is currently sixth in school history in goals scored, ninth in points, and 15th in assists. Knightley, who wore number 18, graduated with the second most assists in a season (42 in 1963-64) and the third most points (75 in 1963-64).
Knightley, who earned a management engineering degree, was the Freshman of the Year and inducted in Olympia, serving as president. He went on to earn a master’s of business administration from the University of Western Ontario in 1967.
A 1968 inductee into the Rensselaer Athletics Hall of Fame, Knightley joins Adam Oates ’85, Joe Juneau ’91, Frank Chiarelli ’55, former linemate and good friend Bob Brinkworth ’64, Garry Kearns ’58, and the aforementioned Ned Harkness in the Ring of Honor, to be highlighted in the Houston Field House rafters.