Archive for the ‘adult recreational hockey’ Category

What I Hate About Ice Hockey

May 26, 2017

My days off are Sundays and Mondays.  If you work at a restaurant or
as a barber, that’s just how it goes.  Sundays are reserved for my
son’s hockey and then my daughter.  One is a peewee and the other a
mite.  Sunday night, this time of year, I watch hockey if it is on or
baseball on ESPN.  I make lunches like a good mother and then sit on
the couch with a glass of red wine.  Sounds boring, right?  This is
after working about eighty hours between Tuesday and Saturday, playing
hockey four to five times, visiting the gym to lift and so on.
Monday, I get up with my daughter; drive an hour through bullshit
traffic.  Slow ass trucks and fucks that if you leave two feet of
space, will slam their car in front of you just they can have the
illusion of getting somewhere faster even though we’re going slower
than a geriatric on a bike.  I drop my daughter off at school,
navigate my way towards a rink in the city, arrive and change in just
enough time to play.  This is after a Kind Bar and two cups of coffee
and a Gatorade.  It will be the same crew to play pick-up hockey on
Monday as on Tuesday at the same time.  The United Airlines boys who
wear white jerseys with red letters that read “POLSKA”.  I used all
the Polish I learned going with my good friend P back in the day when
we would hang out at Euro/Polish nightclubs.  Finally they told me in
English that they are not Polish.  They got their asses kicked by a
team from Poland in a tournament in Prague, became great friends in a
bar together.  There is B from Toronto who has great hands, speed and
a shot for a man who could receive an AARP card.  There is J, the cop
who tells corny jokes that one might hear in a barbershop and anything
unusual that might have happened over the weekend, out on the street.
I ask him what the body count was over the weekend and he tells me
that he has a good one for me.
“So we get a call that a body is found in a garbage can.  I get there
and one of the guys who took the call grabs me as I’m getting out of
the car…  You know G, right?  Good hockey player.  He says to me,
“Sarge, I think you may recognize this girl”.  I open the lid to the
garbage to find a large ass and even larger asshole staring me in the
face…  Sick fuckers.  Sick sense of humor.”
Of course I asked what happened.  I guess when you see horrible shit
like that, details are not important.  A craigslist call girl who
partied to hard with her client, overdosed and died.  The man who
stuffed her into the garbage reasoned that he would be held
responsible for her death since it was his apartment and drugs.
Rather than call the police, the John got an empty garbage can and a
dolly and wheeled the date out to the alley.  The fuzzy reasoning man
put the can squarely in the parking spot of a man who came home,
lifted the lid and found a dead body…  Sad as it is astounding.
Then there is the young quiet guy who chokes up on his stick on break
always like a shiny stick.  T the Goth goalie, covered in tattoos,
wears a jersey that reads “Fuck You” and the numbers 666 on the back.
He talks about a video he is making for his Heavy Metal band and a
possible tour of Japan.  There is B the fireman and Y, the former
Olympic wrestler for Canada that was raised orthodox Jewish in
Montreal and that was also a symphonic flute player who quit it all to
become a PHD.  Since he wrestled as a boy, he wasn’t allowed to play
hockey and so now he is making up for lost time as a boy.  We play.  I
take one shot but have about 10 assists just with P who I give the
puck in our zone that goes coast to coast and scores.  I took two
shots, scored once.  I’m a play make and passer who plays defence and
everyone knows that.  One guy on the bench, who saw me roll my eyes,
asked me when we were done playing what it was that I hated most about
hockey.  I told him nothing.  Hockey has never fought with me or made
me mad.  A few guys who play the sport have done that. I unloaded a
few things in a snarky way but as I drove away from the rink, I
thought about the things I hate that surround the game.
Where do I begin?  Let’s begin with beginners.  You can’t fault
anyone for loving hockey and taking it up.  What is astounding is the
guy who can barely skate and carry the puck that receives the puck and
skates about as fast as someone can walk, in a straight line and
immediately loses the puck in the neutral zone.  After the fourth
time, I finally ask the culprit if they are noticing a pattern.  No
passing, head down, skating slow…  Bam, it’s gone.  That same guy does
not believe he is good enough to play defence because he has to work
on his backwards skating.  That same guy is two feet away from me when
I get the puck.  Who do I pass to?  Not that guy.  That guy needs to
use the door to get on and off the ice but does not bother to close
the door when he uses it.  He wears an NHL jersey with somebody’s name
on it other than himself.  Matching gloves, socks and a helmet sticker
with the number he wears at his Sunday night absolute beginner team.
He may show up with a few friends from his team and they inevitably
all want to be on the same team.  It becomes one big huge penalty kill
for 90 minutes.  You can hear him coming down the hall.  He has the
brand new wheel bag.  He has no wheels but his bag does.  Then there
are the young guys who have a little skill and all think their Patrick
Kane with the puck.  They skate end to end with out passing.  Toe
drags, kicking it up between their legs to their stick.  You make eye
contact with the kid and he still won’t pass to you.  You get a work
out getting open for no reason.  I finally do one of two things when
that young man is on my team.  I either take the puck off of his stick
and when he asks what the fuck I’m doing, I respond that I thought
that he was on his own team.  If I don’t do something that drastic, I
will just skate ahead of him offside and wait for the same rhetorical
question- What the fuck are you doing?  Answer- teaching you to move
the puck… Asshole.  That same guy gets violent when you stick check
him a little.  He tells you the price of the stick like that would
mean anything to me.  Your stick is expensive and too good for you.
My brother one time told me that he felt like everyone is an asshole.
It was after he came to that conclusion that he discovered that he was
the asshole.  I don’t want to be the asshole but I just want people to
play the game with respect.  You never see the pro’s play like what I
described.  You want to wear a Crosby jersey and play like an
oblivious misfit?  I hope Crosby shows up at the rink, slaps you and
demands his jersey back until you learn to play the game right.  Maybe
I’m the asshole.  I’ll work on my attitude and you straight line,
wheel bag, door opening, colour coordinating dufus, work on getting
your head out of your ass.

I’m kept my legs crossed for Ottawa tonight.  I think a win by them
would have been good for hockey and Canada.

Slapshot quote of the day- “What did he say?”  “He said OWNS”

Trying to Remember…

May 12, 2017
I brought a photo album that my grandmother put together over to where
she now lives which is a waiting room for death.  Assisted living is
what they call it.  It was nursing and convalescent when I was a boy.
You walk in and a room full of old people look up to see if you are
the person that they have been waiting and hoping to see.  I’m not the
guy they been waiting to see.
So my grandmother has essentially been my mother my whole life and my
mom was kind of like a mom and not like a mom at the same time.
Anyone 16 years old, should never have a child and so I don’t totally
blame her for lapses.  I go to see my grandmother when I can.  Within
the last three years, her husband died, her dogs were put to sleep and
her house was sold.  Dementia has been taking hold of her and it get’s
stronger all the time.
“Did you see my mother wandering the hallway?  She’s got two guys
that she runs around with and if they ever catch her with the other,
there’s gonna be a fight.”
“No, grandma…  I didn’t see her…  I brought this nice photo album of
your garden and your dogs.”
She looked at it as if she had never seen it before.  She thought the
dogs looked cute.  A Bassett Hound and a Dachshund, both became
adopted pets which I initially purchased for my adult daughter when
she was a girl.  It got me to thinking, how will I chronicle my life?
Nobody takes pictures anymore and presents a slideshow on Christmas or
Easter.  You take pictures on your phone and upload it to social media
and when your phone falls in the shitter, those pics are gone forever.
The only thing I hate more than taking pictures, is being in pictures.
So putting together photo albums like my grandmother did going back to
her youth, World War II, the birth of my dad and uncle, my life and
then my children’s youth, won’t be possible.  I guess I’ll need to
write shit down and let one of my kids read this stuff back to me and
ask if this stuff really happened.  I’ve had an interesting life but
then again, a lot of people have also.  They can write their own
fucking blog.  This one is mine.
To look at me, you might not guess right off that I play ice hockey .
After a few minutes, you might notice scars on my face and a cracked
front tooth and wonder how I got so beat up around the face.  Some
people ask.  Most never do.  You might never guess that I have an
upright bass and play Ska/Reggae music, sing and write the music I
play.  I am fluent in French and have surprised a few people when the
French language is spoken and I join in.  I really don’t like French
culture, French people and I’ve never really wanted to go to France.
I’ve used it on visits to Martinique and Quebec.  I have three
children.  Two by a woman of African descent by way of Cuba and one by
the other by way of Jamaica.  I know you’re thinking… Ah yes.  Black
women, Reggae…  Of course.  The woman I’m with now is white and blonde
and I’m not liberal in my political views.  With that said, let’s talk
about hockey.
B texted me and told me that for sure there were going to be two
goalies at the rink near downtown.  He’s a cop on the night shift and
I own a restaurant/bar so we play pick-up hockey during the day time.
We usually play at a rink near the airport but I decided to meet him
out at the rink just west of downtown.  The Zamboni guy whose name I
never learned, recognized me and asked me where I’ve been.  I used to
play at the rink two to three times a week.  I found skates that were
more to my liking and so I stopped going to the downtown rink.
“Everyone is at J’s skate…  You know that.  Nobody comes here on
Wednesdays.  Just then M walked in.  M, is a bus driver and is black
and a goalie.  He is a virtual Rain Man with statistics of all hockey,
NHL and minor league.  He has a voice like the Chef from South Park.
He could sing, Old Man River, with his deep baritone voice.  Next
walked in B and his friend K.  K just finished playing midgets about a
year ago.  K has good hands and a quick shot.  I talked to him about
playing juniors in the past while sitting on the bench, waiting for
our shift.  K says that he just wants to get on with life and that he
doesn’t think that juniors will lead him anywhere.  One more guy
showed up and so I decided to stay.  Two on two half ice with a
goalie.  A good work out with a lot of passing and turning.  My game
is one of passing.  I believe that there can never be enough passing.
Good things come from passing.  There is a time when one should pass
and when one has to pass.  Those that know the difference are good and
smart hockey players.  K and I played against B and young guy wearing
a practice jersey from a USHL team.  He was young, average height, had
a good shot, good speed and good hands.  He was probably no better
than K.  I covered B and K covered the USHL kid.  I passed and dropped
down to create a cycle in the corner.  If you’re not familiar with a
cycle, picture that you have the puck and you’re skating towards the
goalie.  Rather than shoot the puck at the goalie, you make a right or
left turn and skate up the boards towards the blue line.  You then
look over your shoulder and drop the puck behind you along the boards
to your team mate that is coming up the boards behind you.  You make
that pass and then circle back so that you’re now following the guy
who was just following you.  He can drop it again or cut to the net
and get a pass on his way to the net.  I did this over and over and
scored a bunch of times.  I wondered how a kid from the USHL and B who
has played over twenty years since he was a kindergartener, could not
pick up on what I was doing.  We wore ourselves out doing this for
about an hour.  I looked up in the stands and little four and five
year olds were watching us.  I looked up to a small boy sitting next
to his mother and asked him if he was faster than me.  The mother
smiled and the boy nodded.
The weather was just warm enough to lay my equipment out in the
backyard.  Nothing is better to kill the stink and sweat of wet hockey
equipment better than the sun.  It’s not a fact, just my opinion.  I
walked over to a little Mexican restaurant with the newspaper and had
huevos rancheros…  The newspaper opinion section was down on Trump for
firing the head of the FBI.  The whole Democratic Party is calling for
a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s involvement with the
Russians and the Russian’s involvement with our election.  Interesting
to note that the same politicians who were astounded by James Comey’s
firing, were all calling for his head back when he was investigating
Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, use of a private server with
government business.  Today, Trump is painted to be just like Nixon.
Nixon wanted the special prosecutor fired and had to fire someone who
refused to do the firing on his behalf.  Nixon found a man named Bork
who fired the special prosecutor.  Bork was shot down as a supreme
court justice nominee due mostly to being the hatchet man for Nixon.
So Trump fired a man the Democrats felt  had done too much and that
the Republicans felt had not done enough.  Sometimes when you’re a
nice guy, it backfires and everyone hates your and finds you inept.
Better to be respected than loved.
I finished lunch, went back to the restaurant and got ready for the
night.  Washed left over dishes from the night before, bar and dinner
dishes.  Washed the floor, set tables and then went upstairs to my
apartment and practiced the bass in preparation for a gig Friday night
at my own place.  I had a rather quiet Groupon night.  Two young Asian
girls as cute as could be.  They’ll need to be carded for the next
thirty years since they look like junior high girls now.  They had a
charcuterie plate and a few empanadas and giggled a lot through their
chatter.  Another couple sat at the bar and agonized over which wine
to buy.
“What can you tell me about this wine?”
I make up plausible bullshit.  Truth is that 95% of the people who
come in cannot tell the difference in any of the wines.  They sniff,
they swirl and it’s all something they learned in Napa.  The husband
was chubby and kind of pushy.
“What do you have that’s a special?”
I’m always ready for that question.
“Everything on the menu is really special to me…”
I know what he meant.  Looking for something for next to nothing with
his Groupon.  His hips were wider than his shoulders and he was sort
of a whiny bitch.  His wife talked to him about the fact that he stole
her pillow a few times during the night.  I’m behind the bar and feel
compelled to ask at least one question.  His wife answers while he
studied his phone.  She seemed nice and genuine and out of his league.
That happens a lot.
The last table was a chubby woman across from a MILF.  The MILF
looked like she just got done with a yoga class.  The chubby woman
looked frumpy and looked at her friend while ordering instead of
making eye contact with me.  They ate a little, drank a little, paid
their bill and then sat for an extra hour.  I often wonder what  women
can talk about one on one for over two hours.  I was just happy as
hell that it wasn’t a Thursday because Thursday night I go to play
hockey after closing up and two women loitering for an extra hour is a
definite hockey cock block.
They left and I turned off all the lights to the bar and put on the
Anaheim/Edmonton game and ate and had some wine.  When one of the
Anaheim skaters skated in front of his net, in front of his goalie and
the Edmonton forechecker shuffleboarded the shot past the Anaheim
goalie who was just standing their like a scare crow, I thought
Edmonton was on it’s way.  On paper, they have almost what Edmonton
had beck in the eighties with Gretsky, Messier, Coffey and Grant Fuhr.
The Ducks woke up and crushed Edmonton in the second period and
stymied them in the third…  Dommage.  I’m hoping for Ottawa but feel
like Pittsburg is going to repeat.
Slapshot line of the day- Maurice, you make sick when you talk like that..

The Emperor’s New Clothes or F#ck the Cubs

October 28, 2016

Gil and Gail packed up their deviled eggs and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that they bought while in New Zealand and headed over to their friends Tom and Tam. It was a beautiful fall night more like summer than fall with a full moon. The event was a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. Tom, a huge Cubs fan, set up a television outside in front of a fire pit and a trampoline off in the distance.
Gil was born and raised in Los Angeles and was a life long Dodgers fan stranded in the midwest. He walked past a teacher’s union lawn sign and three different lawn signs for Hillary Clinton and a giant blue W painted on a plain white background to signify a win for the Chicago Cubs on the way to Tom and Gail’s backyard. Gail and Tam really liked one another. They met at a Pilates class and became great friends. They watched the Kardashians together at different homes and texted about it at night. Their sons played youth hockey together and Gil was the hockey coach. Gil was quiet owner of an ice hockey pro shop who played hockey, sold hockey and played hockey four to five days a week. Gil and Tammy’s son was thin and good-looking, fast and capable at being a scoring threat at every game. Tom and Tam’s son had man boobs and hips wider than his shoulders. The bookish son of Tom and Tam was slow and had a weak shot. Gil took their son as a favor to his wife who really wanted a friend up in the stands to sit with at games. Tom was jealous that Gil was in good shape and was a good skater and coach. Tom couldn’t skate but was wealthy and had season tickets to all Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks games. Tom was a partner at a law firm and drove a Range Rover and a Corvette with personalized Cubs and Blackhawks Illinois license plates. One license said PWR PLAY 69 and the other said LUV CUB 69. Gil had no hair, was built and had a half missing tooth much like the hockey great Alex Ovechkin and a face full of scars from years of playing ice hockey without facial protection. Gil refused to wear a cage or a half shield while playing and looked like a rough neck. Tom wore black horned rimmed glasses and had looked like an LL Bean model in front of his $5000.00 built in backyard grill, 50 inch television exclusively for the backyard and excellent sound system. A band from the 1980’s called Haircut 100 blared through the speakers while the ball teams silently  took batting practice. Gil stood with a bowl of deviled eggs in a LA Dodgers hat and shirt. Tom wore a Cubs hat with a T-shirt that had a large W on it. He was cooking filet mignon, he offered Gil a beer. Gil declined as he was gluten-free. It irritated Gil when Tom would offer him a beer. Even though Gil had declined dozens of times, Tom would still offer a beer to Gil. Gil had Ceiliaks disease which prevented him from processing gluten properly.
“Tam remembered and purchased a gluten-free, lesbian safe beer for you from Trader Joe’s… You can be like every other man around this town watching this game tonight and start the night properly with a beer.”
Gil opened the beer, tapped it against the bottle Tom was holding and talked about their son’s hockey team. Gil was careful not to say too much and let Tom comment on the high and low points of the season.
“The goalie is brutal… It is truly a testament to your defense that we’ve been in every game. Do you put your best skaters on defense always?”
Gil took a drink of his beer and pondered the best answer to a question he didn’t care to answer truthfully. Gil felt that it was a good idea to be as cryptic as possible with parents when it came to playing time, position and lines. Gil played Tom and Tam’s son on the first line even though he was a slow, tentative, ineffective player. It was a political move to appease his wife who was considering her friend’s feelings.
“I try to find a balance…”
“That is a beautifully scripted answer, coach. People try to figure out where you’re coming from. They want to know if there is something deeper to your tactics. I think mystery comes off as deep but I think I have you figured out, coach…”
“Tommy… This is a night all about baseball. I’m ready to take the night off of hockey. A full moon, great fucking weather, good food, booze and the Dodgers poised to make a California boy proud…”
Beer turned to scotch and then to wine. Bottles and bottles. Blue cheese on choice steaks with gluten-free pasta. It was a night to remember. A clear, full moon and August like weather in October. The game turned ugly for Gil. The Dodgers tanked and were getting crushed by the Cubs. It was a debacle not unlike when Gil was young and the Dodgers would lose every year to the Yankees. It might have been a moment of hurt pride that caused Gil to change from a good-natured fan to a critical observer of the type of man he disdained- bragging, rich, unathletic, pudgy Chicago fan. The Dodgers were losing by a touch down when Tom lit a cigar and laughed at the score between innings. Gil told Gail that he wanted to leave. she was having a great time without having to watch her children and she did not want to cut the night short and return home yet. The game ended with a huge Cubs win. Tam put on a song that harkened back to Burt Bacharach buy a band called Cousteau. No relation to Jacques called, The Last Good Day of the Year.
There’s something there
Among the fallen fruit and flowers, won’t rest
Only minutes, only hours unless
Now the morning breaks in showers, I guess
We’ll remember this all of our lives
On the last good day of the year
Gil sat and looked at the full moon as a gentle breeze blew through the leaves in the trees that were ready to turn colors and fall. Tom was going on and on about the Cubs and then switched to politics. After a beer, a scotch and many glasses of wine, Gil was ready to speak freely, uninhibited or reserved. Tom was taken by surprise.
“Fuck you. Fuck the Cubs, fuck unions, fuck Hillary and fat kids who really don’t want to play ice hockey… Enjoy your win you fucking pompous asshole. I hope Hillary gets the same fucking treatment Nixon got for the minor shit he did compared to that cunt.”
Gil knew that his wife hated the word cunt and that most women had a thing against the word. Both Tam and Gail gasped and tried to get Gil to calm down. It only made him angrier.
“You want to let all the Mexicans in? All the Syrians? Every fucking moderate who makes their wife cover their whole fucking face like a goddamn Ninja? Fuck you and your W shirt and Hillary lawn sign… Your kid is going to wind up with heart disease by high school if you don’t discover the word no. No you can’t eat whatever you want and drink sugary bullshit. Your son has bitch tits… I know that might be harsh to hear but you can thank the Cubs and Hillary. Bitch fucking tits on a 10-year-old and why? Because you can’t say no to him? You wanna know why my kid is fast? Because he eats yogurt instead of gummy worms and fucking Doritos…”
” I think you’re angry Tom…”
“Yes, I am. When unathletic fucks like you gloat, I get mad. You don’t know dick about how to really win and it falls into your lap tonight and you’re like a fucking scientist about baseball. Yes… The fast capable kids play defense on my teams and really I believe your son would be happier with a hot dog and a drink up in the stands next to you than forechecking. You got season tickets and you want your little son of sam to play like Kane or Toews.”
Gail came up and hugged Gil and put her hand over his mouth. Gil pushed Gail away in a way that let her know that he was not done. Tom had enough drinks to stand up to Gil and he did.
“You’re mad that the Dodgers lost and that Trump is about to go down in flames. Too many people do not buy into the Hitleresque bullshit spewed by Trump. Mexicans are the paste that holds this country together. Who is going to do the shit they do for the money they make? Big strong, stupid, flag waving, tear-in-the-eye patriot who hates anything not white. You’re the big hockey coach but you weren’t quite good enough to make it so what do you do? You coach.”
Gil took a step towards Tom with the thought to give Tom a smack. Tom sneered and raised his chin as if to say, “smack me! I don’t give a shit.”
“You know something, fuckface? I won’t ever apologize for being white. I won’t ever apologize for not blindly trusting people who hate me. Vote for whoever you fucking want. Why do we all got to know who it is? Why not put up a lawn sign that says you need a little blue pill and porn to make it with your old lady? You know what? All I need is a little text telling me to get home fast and my dick hurts to be cramped up in my jeans knowing that it’s going between my old lady’s legs just as soon as possible. You like baseball analogies? I’m the fucking closer who doesn’t need a warm up pitch. Put me in cold and I’ll finish the game…”
The women left the two men alone who were about to come to blows. Tom was about to rebut Gil when the women put on a song from the 1980’s from their youth. It was a Sinead O’Connor song called The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the light of the moon, the two men watched their rather fit middle-aged wives sing and bounce on the trampoline naked slathered in coconut oil. The oil glistened off of their breasts. The men stopped fighting and looked on at their wives without saying a word. Tom poured a glass of wine for himself and Gil. The men stripped down to nothing and joined the ladies on the trampoline on probably the last good day of the year. The song played on repeat while they made love or something resembling love beside one another.
Everyone can see what’s going on
They laugh `cause they know they’re untouchable
Not because what I said was wrong
Whatever it may bring
I will live by my own policies
I will sleep with a clear conscience
I will sleep in peace
Maybe it sounds mean
But I really don’t think so
You asked for the truth and I told you
Through their own words
They will be exposed
They’ve got a severe case of
The emperor’s new clothes

Hockey On Monday’s Only

April 21, 2016

“This is a new era…  There are many things you can’t say no more.  I grew up with 30 different names just for black people.  Then you had the Jews, Asians, Hispanics and then the gays.  Gay could have meant actually gay or it could have meant stupid, wimpy or retarded back then.  We can’t use retarded today either.  The day is coming when we won’t be able to call another man a pussy and maybe it’s good and maybe it’s not…  I dunno.  All I do know for sure is that people, some people, want your head on a stick today…  The gays are season ticket holders in this small town.  We could have been stuck in minor league hockey half way up the arctic circle in towns where they only want to see guys get their brains bashed in out in the fucking tundra.  It’s a nice town here.  We’re in Florida for fuck’s sake.  The league wants us to come down hard on you.  Like they want us to get rid of you.  This is the fourth time.  Fines, suspensions and sensitivity training and you’re still calling people names like homos, faggots, queers, gayrods…   What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Byron pulled his long hair back and took a sip of his coffee.  The nerve was still alive in one of his teeth that was cracked in half from a puck to the face from the night before.  He had stitches in his chin and his left eye watered for years involuntarily from a stick to the eye.  Byron was a low-level warrior born in a town near Sudbury, Ontario.  He played two levels below the NHL, earned $32,000.00 a year and lived in a trailer park outside of Fort Myers, Florida.  When Lord Byron as he was known wasn’t playing ice hockey, we was sitting outside his double wide trailer, drinking beer with the neighbors, having lot’s of sex and riding his motorcycle.  Byron didn’t care about being a fourth liner on an NHL team.  In Florida, he was a star in the community.  He did local commercials for Mexican restaurants, car dealerships and bail bonds.  He started a summer camp strictly for obese children that didn’t have the money to go to fat camps.  Byron loved his life.  Slowly, the town to the west, nearest the ocean, became a hot spot for older gay couples from the northern part of the United States as well as Quebec.  There were a lot of French-speaking gay couples too.  Byron grew up thinking that all French speaking Canadians were gay.

So here’s what happened- A team from Macon, Georgia had a player from Byron’s childhood area that was a native Canadian.  Indian, indigenous whatever you prefer.  The player had crossed checked Byron years ago when they were in youth hockey.  The player got Byron in front of the net and crossed checked his kidneys so hard that he wound up pissing blood for a few days.  It was hard for Byron to move but he finished the game and vowed to seek retribution someday.  The day came for Byron.  The player wound up getting picked up in the southern states by an opposing team.  Byron waited until the player made a pass from the boards in front of his own team’s bench.  He hit the guy who had once made his kidneys bleed from the inside and dumped him head first over the boards.  Then he dropped his gloves and waited for the player to get up, get back on the ice and face him.  The guy wouldn’t fight Byron.  It could have been that Byron had blindsided him and he was winded, dazed from landing on his head or knew Byron was a fighter and that he had thirty pounds on him.

“You fucking faggot…  You’d rather have a cock in your mouth or ass than play hockey, wouldn’t you?  Remember giving me a stick to the back in midgets, you fucking asshole.  I almost had to go on dialysis because of you.  Let’s go, you fucking faggot ass pussy motherfucker.  I’m gonna make you piss blood tonight.”

Byron forgot that he was wired for sound.  To try to build interest in ice hockey in a part of the country that only had ice in little glasses pool side,  the team made all players take turns wearing a camera.  It was Byron’s turn to wear the camera.  Families at home on the internet got to hear Byron in real-time.  Byron killed a lot of interest that day.  Local families watched and heard, everything that went on in a local game that day from Byron’s perspective.  Byron had two fights and a hat trick.  One of his goals was the game winner.  Byron forgot about the camera until the press conference when he was asked how he felt about homosexuals.

“How do I feel about what?  Did you say homosexuals?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

“What kind of question is that?”

“As you know, you were outfitted with a camera that recorded everything that went on in the game from the top of your helmet.  Fans got to really be a part of your goals and fights.  You used a homophobic slur while challenging an opposing player to a fight for an incident that occurred at a previous game when you were a youth.  The fans of south Florida will want to know your thoughts.  We want to be the first to carry it.”

“Well …  You got to understand that certain things are said sometimes but that they don’t mean anything bad towards anyone other than the person it is directed at, eh?  It’s part of the job to occasionally fight and before the fight…  Occasionally there are negotiations and discussions.”

The response made some laugh because they loved the gladiator nature of the sport and others it did not.  Some season ticket holders threatened to cancel their season tickets if Byron was not released from the team.  On local talk radio, it was a mixed bag.  Some liked the way Byron talked and others thought it was not good for children to hear graphic profanity and slams towards the gay community.  After it looked like Byron might be released over the fourth offense, Byron took to the airwaves again and offered an olive branch.

“I’m very sorry about the language I used that was broadcast locally.  I forgot that I had the camera on and well…  There is no excuse for what I said.  When I was a boy, my mother would have stuffed soap in my mouth for using profanity.  I wasn’t raised to swear.  I was raised in a town where I don’t think we had any gays.  We just got used to using that term but we didn’t mean nothing by it.  I understand that I could use other words and terms and so if I hurt anyone’s feelings by my language, I am truly sorry.  I don’t want anyone to feel badly about being gay.  It’s like being left-handed…  I’m left handed.  I often wondered why god made me a lefty when the whole world is righty.  Being gay has to be a little like that.  I dunno exactly but I’m sorry if I made anyone feel bad.  I don’t ever wish to make people feel bad…  If the community will accept my apology, I would like to start a youth and adult hockey program here in south Florida just for the gays.  If you’re gay and a man or a woman, or your a man but you feel like you might be a woman actually or whatever.  I don’t know how it all works…  What I’m offering is a chance for all of you who are gay, to come and learn the game.  Learn to skate, learn to play and have fun.  No charge…  It’s on me.”

Byron thought to call his clinics/camp, Lord Byron’s Hockey School for the Gays or South Florida’s Gay Hockey instead it was given the name a simple name- Lord Byron Hockey.  Games and clinics were on Monday nights.  A web site for it was set up.  The first four words after the name was- Hockey on Monday’s only.  Byron was not to blame for this one.  People laughed it off.  Byron’s camp was a success.  Everyone in the area wanted to learn to play hockey.  Men, women, children, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and homosexuals.  Hockey is actually for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle River

February 9, 2016

I was asked by a friend if I wanted to participate in an outdoor tournament in the northern town of Eagle River, Wisconsin.  The trip took over eight hours for us to arrive at the rental home which was being occupied by two teams of 14 players.

If you don’t mind the cold and really poor ice conditions, it is ice hockey unlike what you’re used to indoors.  You dress like a mite at home, park several blocks away and are picked up by locals with open bed trucks.  You jump on the back of the open air transport and marvel at the dense spruce forest around you.  In the clearing is a lake where dozens of snow banked rinks are sectioned off for matches.  You look for a bench to slip your skates on out in the open.  You slip on a jersey with the name of your weekend team.   Female teams tended to name their teams after their female parts and many male teams had various plays on words related to male genitalia.  Others had sponsors or just cute names.  I played for a team called the Elsinore Hosers which was taken from the 1980’s movie called Strange Brew.  The housemates from the other team, took on nicknames from the movie, The Big Lebowski- The Jesus, Donny, Walter, The Dude and so on.

You get on the ice and have a net that is three feet wide and about a foot high.  No slapshots, no high passes, no checking or other infractions.  Four players where one sort of has to play goalie and then you have variations of a triangle formation.  Firing the puck often is key.  Our team adapted to the conditions of the ice and weather and won our first two games.  We then went on to lose our next two which were good, close scoring games.  What do you do when you’re not playing?  Walk around in half your gear making conversation with people from all over the country while drinking donated beer from Labatt’s.  If you haven’t had enough hockey, there is a local team with an antique barn of a rink that holds about 2,000.  We watched Eagle River play Fond du Lac.  Some sloppy play, some solid play, some fights and some idiocy in the crowd.  Some tool from Ohio who played in drag the entire weekend put on a show at the minor league game.  This over served player, hung from the scorer’s booth which was some twenty feet in the air.  After swinging back and forth for a minute, his fingers gave way and landed back first onto a patron.  There was an over abundance of men who needed chaperones- moms or wives.  Maybe they were once frat boys and maybe they never experienced that sort of fraternal bonding upon gaining adulthood.  Cheap beer and fraternizing with fellow lovers of the sport of ice hockey on the eve of the Super Bowl is what you would have found in Eagle River last weekend.  If you love the sport, respect the sport and enjoy the sport more than most things in life, a pond hockey tournament should be Mecca for those who hold ice hockey in high regard.

The photo was taken at sunset Saturday night after two games in the tournament.  We went to our own backyard behind our rental home and played amongst ourselves.  Hosers against The Puck Abides until the sun set over the forest.  It was worth the time and effort for me.

eagle river

Goalies… Say No More

September 9, 2015

I don’t know much about soccer or water polo but I do know more than the average Joseph when it comes to ice hockey. With that said, I’m not sure how strange goalies are in other sports that require goalies but in ice hockey they are all a bit different.

Some of it is just unique quirkiness and others are just plain strange individuals. Strange like body parts in the subzero freezer in their mom’s basement.

I almost always play defense and so I never take the beating some guys relish when they’re camped out in front of the net. Bruised kidneys, pissing blood and slashes all over the back side of their bodies. That sort of thing was never for me. One day, I was forced to play center and camped out in front of the net. The goalie from the opposing team took his stick and speared me between two ribs. The pain took my breath away. I promised the goalie I would get him back before the game was over. It took thought and creativity to hurt a goalie that is dressed like a bomb diffuser. The thought came to me- wait until the play goes towards our end and the referees are following the play out of the zone. I lagged back behind the net and waited until the goalie was far enough out away from the crease for me to swing my stick like a baseball bat against his exposed calves. I hit the goalie so hard that I nearly broke my stick. The goalie looked like he was levitating in the air. He landed flat on his back. I skated to center ice and stood by the referee. The goalie charged across the ice to attack me. I asked the referee if there was a delayed penalty called and maybe that was the reason why the goalie was skating over to center ice. The referee was perplexed. I bent down as if trying to catch my breath and held the blade of my stick like a bayonet to stop the charging goalie. The goalie was thrown out of the game. The other team lost. They were mad at me and the referees. I told them all that they should have been angry at their goalie.

Doc is a goalie of about fifty years of age that is a psychiatrist that deals with mental patients at a prison. He dresses across from another goalie who by the name of Tom who is a homicide detective. Tom feigns vomiting before every game. I think he gags until he drools and then thinks of something sick like eating out a morbidly obese woman who crapped in his mouth while tongue bathing the plump beauty who smelled of seafood gone bad and skunk. I know that would make me want to hurl and so with Tom’s mind, he made himself gag and drool over a garbage can a la Glenn Hall circa 1960. Tom and Doc would exchange stories of strange of dismembered bodies, severe beatings, incest, rapes, stabbings, and shootings and so on without so much as a wince.

“So I’m taking the elevator up to an apartment and some schmoe is got a huge brown plastic bag on a dolly. He’s picking his nose and staring at the digital display. It smelled like spoiled milk in the elevator and I see blood dripping from this huge bag. I ask the guy what was in the bag and he casually tells me that it was his old lady. She died after he became displeased with her choice of words and tone of voice. This stroke was just going to take her to the dumpster and then cook up a little pasta. I told him that we would need to take a little peek in the bag. Sure enough, her skull was crushed like a rotten pumpkin. Eyes coming out of the sockets, brains dripping out. The smell of her decomposing was displeasing him so he thought he might drag her out to the dumpster.”

Now Jerry had a receding hairline and made his own jewelry that he sold at Metal concerts when he wasn’t playing goalie. He gave himself the name “Punisher”. He played guitar in a band that was polished but never played out. He wore a New Jersey Devils jersey with the name Satan on the back with the numbers 666. He made a spider web like device out of rope between his legs and under his arms so on a breakaway, he would drop his stick, raise his arms and spread his legs and challenge the shooter to find a gap. Refs said it was illegal but none of them could find anything about it in the rules so they let him wear his stupid creation. Jerry had a smoking hot black girlfriend who supported him so that he could concentrate on his hockey career. His band mate was also a goalie with died black hair, a guitarist too that was covered in tattoos. He would say something and then start speaking Greek. He took a lot of drugs and drank a lot of heavy booze, claimed he was a black belt in some sort of martial arts and had a Greek folk band with his wife who supported him and got them gigs. She played the accordion and he played an instrument that was a Greek guitar called a Bizooki. I’m sure it’s spelled differently in Cyrillic.   They made a bondage video to one of their Metal tunes where by a fit hockey player among us, was beat with a crop by a hot bodied woman wearing an old time goalie mask like Jason. The fit man spun on a wheel in a circle wearing nothing but a jock and his hockey gloves. The video and song was supposedly big in Japan. The name of their band? Hexx-tal. Only a goalie would come up with that name.

The most amusing goalie I ever played with was also the most talented goalie I ever played with. He was a six foot five inch black man with a clef lip who made a living as a cab driver. When he would pick people up from the airport, he would turn away anyone that needed to use his trunk. The trunk housed his goalie gear that never aired out. It was water logged and smelled like cat urine in a humid greenhouse. Among bad smells, his shit was the most pungent of us all. Jim slept in his cab with his dog that stayed in the front seat at all times with him. Jim played on several teams and had a game every night. In exchange for playing, Jim would ask a team to buy him something he needed such as a half dozen goalie sticks, a new paint job for his helmet or a new catcher. Jim was in high demand. He was arrested at a game after fighting with an opposing team’s goalie and removing every article of gear on the way to the locker room down to his skates. At the door of the locker room, he let his cock and balls do the windmill for the wives and girlfriends that came to watch their men play a recreational game of ice hockey. That landed him in jail for the night.

I once played a men’s league game with this goalie. We had a summer league final game where only five skaters showed up and Jim. Jim wasn’t worried. He kept telling the guys to pass back to him so he could make a few moves and break it out to someone going back door. We won the game 6-4. Jim had an assist on every goal except one. The final goal was an empty net goal. I grabbed the puck in the neutral zone as six attackers chased me around. I fired a hard pass to Jim who was at the top of the left circle in our zone and he lofted a wrist shot over the heads of everyone and we watched it perfectly drop in front of the crease for an empty net goal by the goalie. I got the assist.

Dirty Joe Sanchez

September 4, 2015

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Rocky Horror Hockey Show

September 2, 2015

The first time I can remember skating with Corey, he was just out of high school and he was coming to the daily Monday through Friday drop-in, shinny, rat hockey whatever you call it from wherever you are. He was a cartoon character of a player who would yell crazy stuff when he scored and as a lefty it was usually on the left side, just inside the blue line, about three to seven feet high. Corey didn’t believe in defense. He would usually circle in the neutral zone and yell for the bomb, step across the blue line and fire a slap shot. What made Cory worthy of mention was that he went away to juniors, got juiced up on steroids, got cut from juniors, came home and wanted to fight everyone.

His first run in was at his former high school’s hockey game. He sat in the bleachers drinking a forty ounce out of a paper bag and harassed spectators from the opposing team and players alike. Of course someone called the police. Who happened to come out to answer the call? Another morning hockey player who was not very good and brought his mentally challenged son who was in his twenties to sit in the penalty box and eat bagels and color a book while wearing a Jofa Helmet. Occasionally Junior would get up and wander off and his dad would yell at him. I felt bad for Junior. He didn’t want to be at a cold ice rink watching something he didn’t understand. I came to learn it was Officer Paul’s stepson and that he really didn’t like him. I always thought Paul was an asshole. His stupid comment about his retarded stepson solidified my feelings about Paul.

Paul walked up the bleachers and grabbed Corey by the lapel of a seventies era silk shirt, walked him to the door and sprayed mace on his face. It got into his eyes and nose. Corey was a mess. Paul tripped Corey face down in the snow and told him to go home before he had him arrested for underage drinking, disturbing the peace and being drunk and disorderly. That following Monday morning, Corey came into the rink with bugged eyes like he had an infection or an allergy. Paul looked Corey and smiled. Corey looked at Paul and said, “Fuck you, man. That fucking hurt. What was that shit you sprayed on me?”

Anyone with average intelligence could have surmised that it was mace. It was a mystery to Corey. Corey was the epitome of a male dumb blond- good looking, in good shape, handsome and intelligent the way Forest Gump was intelligent.

So one morning Corey decided to pick a fight with an older guy who had made it as far as the AHL. He played a few years for the Milwaukee Admirals. He was short and Greek with a wide nose that had been broken several times. He had scars all over his face, was bowl legged and had great hands, great ability to elude people with his hands, a quick wrist shot and great eye to hit the right pass. He was a pretty complete player. For some reason, Corey decided that if he could pick a fight and beat the Greek, he would then be better than him. Corey, even if he could have beaten the Greek up, he still wouldn’t be half as good as him.

“Let’s go, old man. I’ll fucking waste you.”

Corey stood a few inches higher, was twenty five years younger, full of muscles and speed for fighting. The Greek quietly asked Corey if he really wanted to fight.

“Yeah you old fucking bitch. I’ll fuck you up.”

The Greek dropped his stick and gloves and removed his helmet slowly with two hands and then did a quick two handed basketball pass at Corey’s face. Corey’s face popped like a tomato. Blood was in Corey’s eyes and running down his face. He was trying hard not to freak out by all the blood. The Greek skated over and put his arm around Corey in a fatherly manner and softly said, “Son… I’d go get that taken care of now.”

A guy named Joe, a beginner player was horrified by the affair and offered to take Corey to the hospital. The car ride to the hospital by Joe of Corey was the beginning of a long and tumultuous relationship. The Story of Corey and Joe is next.