Thursday, December 27, 2012

Beer League Years - Part 1

Start off at the beginning of my beer league years from 1993 to about 2000.  Didn't start playing beer league as early as '93 but I am going to include the Huff and Puff Tournaments.

What is a Huff and Puff Tournament?  It used to be a spring hockey tournament that was held in the township of Stanley (just outside of Thunder Bay).  I remember the trophy including a toilet plunger.  The winning team players got a bag of potatoes (and sometimes hats or something else).  The format for OT in the championship games changed from year to year; sometimes they would go from 5-5 to 4-4 going down further until someone scored.  Sometimes they had a shootout with a frozen turkey - moving the turkey closer and closer to the goal until someone from a team was able to shoot the turkey into the net.  Let's just say this tournament was a little unconventional.  The tournament was made up of teams of pickup hockey players; no league players were supposed to be playing in this tournament.  The tournament later changed it's venue to Delaney Arena in Thunder Bay and it's name to the Moan & Groan - not sure if the tournament is going on anymore.

In 1993 I played for a team called Damage Inc. in the tournament.  We beat the Blues 7-4, Grand Old Ranch 10-3, Abitibi 11-5.  We lost the A-side Championship 4-2 to Tues Knight.
In 1994 we lost the A-Side Championship again.  In 1996 & 1999 I played on teams that won the B-side Championship.

The first N.B.C. (No Body Contact - which really only meant no body checking) team I played for was called the All Blacks.  How I got on the team was that some of the players on the team were friends of a younger cousin of mine and I had played hockey with them a little before this.  The first season was 1996/97 it was a 6 team league and we came in 3rd.  At a party the team handed out awards for many of the players and I got a best defenceman award that year; the following year (1997/98) I got best defensive defenseman (not sure how we finished that year).  After that year the league folded.  Here's a pic of the team - not from playing in the league but from a previous year playing in the Huff and Puff (1996?).

In 1998 I played in a tournament in Terrace Bay.  We won the first game 4-2 over Pelegrino's then lost 8-0 to the Wolf Pack, and lost 6-2 to Manitouwage Insurance.  The team was in less than stellar shape for the start of the tournament; let's just say the partying started too early (some were hung over and some were still under the influence to start the first game).  If I remember correctly there was an A&W attached to or very close to the arena, and one team had their dressing room flooded (backed up toilet or a pipe burst??)

In 2000 I played in the Stanley Rural League for a team called the Warriors (jerseys were orange).  Got on the team through a friend of my brother and I.  League was a lot chippier than the Tournament Centre League.

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