Introducing the first official team Schoolyard Puck. Your Winter 2011 Beer League Champs.
The majority of the team have been playing ice hockey for less than a year and almost all have played roller. Most are part of a group who have been playing street hockey every week together for over a year.
The idea to organize a group occurred when I found my old hockey stick in the attic. After graduating from college I went home to Oregon to retrieve the remainder of my belongings from my parent’s place. Throughout high school, I played indoor roller hockey in an organized league. After I moved away my folks sold all my equipment except for my stick. When I stumbled across it in the attic I figured I’d sell it when I got back to Utah. However, when I went to post it on Craigslist the idea hit me: Why not just post an ad to see if there was anyone in the area who wanted to play pickup hockey?
Although the town does have an ice arena, many cannot afford the equipment costs and ice time for organized hockey. I thought, surely there must be a few like me who might want to play street hockey. However, I didn’t want to start advertising the idea until I had secured a location. So one Saturday my bro Nolan and I went driving around town to scout out a location. We tried a few schools, empty parking lots, and low traffic streets but nothing really stood out until we came across the tennis courts at the local middle school.
Once we selected our location, we put up flyers around town. Not all over, just a couple restaurants, the university, and other places we could think of. I posted some ads on Craigslist and one-by-one the e-mails came in. I decided on a time and told everyone where to meet.
The first time we played, I feared nobody would show. I arrived at 10:00AM sharp just like I told everyone. Nobody was there and my heart sank. But then I heard the sound of wheels rolling and a skater appeared from around the corner. Then little by little more players arrived until we had eight. We played good ole fashion schoolyard puck for a few hours until we were all exhausted.
From then on we met weekly and sometimes twice a week to play. New guys would show up and at times we’d have as many as 16. Not kids either. College students and grown men.
The Plot Thickens
After about a year of play, a co-worker invited me to play on his ice team. I didn’t have all the equipment, so I borrowed what I didn’t have. Besides my first attempt to climb over the boards for a line change, I loved every minute of it. I knew I would not be able to walk away.
A Team Forms
Sharing ice hockey stories with my street hockey crew inspired some of them to take up ice hockey. Unfortunately, the team I was playing on at the time had a full roster, so my fellow schoolyard puckers had to join other teams. This didn’t keep them from falling in love with the sport. They spread the word and soon everyone wanted to play. When it came time for next season we had the numbers to form a team of our own. Nolan deserves most of the credit for pulling the team together, managing expenses, and attending meetings. A generous sponsor from iFrogz helped with uniforms.
On to Victory
Many of the teams in our league had a broad range of skill levels, but our team was evenly stacked. As mentioned in the introduction, most of us had played ice hockey less than a year, but we were used to playing street hockey together. In addition we’d get together to pass the biscuit and watch film. We’d make fun of each other and talk about ways to improve. Many of the insights we learned along the way have been shared on this site. We battled our way through a 10 game season and earned a 4 seed in an 8 team tournament. With a different goalie in the quarter finals, semi-finals, and finals we took the whole enchilada. Every player did his part. It truly was a team effort. Playing on this team was everything a beer league should be.
What Does the Future Hold?
Some of the original Schoolyard Puck team members have left for the summer, and some will not be returning. More than half of the original team remains in tact. Currently we are playing in a five team B-league with a 2-2 record.