Tuesday, August 28, 2007

7 time SFAHL champions... and das' cool!

Photo: Hurrihockey.net

The great stand-by that hockey bloggers will always adhere to is the way the NHL news gets dissented and commented on. But as one thing I try to make clear, this hockey blog is about the universal game of hockey at all levels. Including the recreational levels because there is no doubt they do it for the love of the game.

A major story this summer that caught my attention was the season that the Hurricanes of Frederick, MD. They were so successful and so dominant this summer season by going the entire season undefeated. Their team identity was patterned after a wrestling gimmick made famous by WWE star Gregory Helms. They fought hard and took the summer league championship from budding rival Hagerstown, MD team.

I asked veteran Hurricane player Wes Venis about the rivalry and he agreed. "While they weren't the most talented opponents, I would have to say Hagerstown. The Thrashers had some great individual players, but the Hagerstown squad always played us tough every time we hit the ice. We played them for our annual "Parent's Night" game, as well as the championship. Big games like those are how rivalries are formed I suppose." Indeed. Even the regional closeness of both towns would suggest a good rivalry.

But when these two teams collide like this on the ice, there is no real outlet for physicality as the league they play in the Skate Frederick Adult Hockey League that fighting is forbidden. "The no fighting rule is good I think, because there are so many "players" in the league that don't know how to fight. If there were nothing but experienced and knowledgeable players, then I'd be down with having fighting in the league." But this isn't a non-hitting league as Wes went on to testify strongly to. "Don't let the no-fighting thing fool you though, as things do get rough and sometimes out of hand at points during the season. After all, sometimes you just have to put a talentless donkey-hack in his place."

I told my concerns to Wes that despite the rules and the apparent lacking in a key element to the game, why not just simulate a fight choreographing it to pro wrestling proportions. "My teammate Mr. Flair and I have had many creative ideas regarding some fights and promos. None of those have come to fruition - yet," Wes said with a laugh.

Since no one in the league is making millions of dollars, they also understand the risks of playing hockey and the possibility of getting injuries. "With hockey, as with most other physical sports, there's always the risk of being hurt. However I do think that the risk is somewhat less in the summer season. The talent level for the summer is much higher, thus making it less likely that some no-talent ass-clown will take you out."

Wes can be quite the character that he seems as he maintains, "The Cabana", a great blog for the news of the day headlines along with detailed stock suggestions by keeping an eye on Wall Street. I asked him if he's ever slipped a stock tip to his opponents while on the ice. "No sir. That's a good idea though. I may have to try that. I always save business discussion for the post-game tailgate out in the parking lot. Talking business over a couple of beers never hurt anyone, at least I don't think so."

And since blogging outlet allowed him to promote the successful summer season, Wes broke the news first of the Hurricane's latest domination by disregarding any superstitions by daring to say "undefeated" even before the final game. Later, it was reported that the Hurricanes had a beer binge celebration of epic proportions. I'd say he was lucky that he even remembered what the score was the next day.

But the memories that Wes will keep about the season were sincere thoughts of great scoring chances. "One of my favorite memories from this past season definitely has to be scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. The funny thing is that I was played defense all season while I've always played forward in the past. As for the goal, I saw that the opposing team was changing lines as we had possession. From my D position, I went ahead and made a break up the middle, received a great pass, and went in to deke the goaltender to my backhand and then put it in on the forehand."

This Hurricanes team's handicaps in weak goaltending weren't great enough that their offensive skills carried them through their seven titles. The team is so dominant, one might ask if they are allowed to compete again for a chance for title number eight or give somebody else a chance. "After coming out of the gate and winning a couple of championships years ago, we were conveniently stuck with the worst goalie in the history of hockey for the following season - courtesy of rink management. The guy must have been in his 60's and he was absolutely abysmal." Thus driving a wedge between some players and their frustrations that one player, I was told, eventually quit and never played again.

Congratulations to Wes and his teammates for an amazing summer season. There is only one call to all the other teams in the SFAHL. Stand back! There's a hurricane commin' through!

[View the teams official website and their myspace page.]
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