Chien Wins Again!
Chien Bizarre defeats the Knights 2-1 in the Select Over 40 League championship game.
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish". The 2015 Winter season was not always kind to captain Rodney Saunders and his team. Chien Bizarre started the season 0-3 failing to win a game back in January.
However the team caught fire in February eventually finishing the season with a .500 record and third seed in the playoff tournament for the Select Over 40 League Championship Bowl.
Chien Bizarre's playoff tournament started with a 3-2 loss to their arch rivals, the Knights, who had also beaten them twice in the regular season.
In the final game of the playoff tournament Chien found themselves behind in a wild game with the fourth seeded Over 40's. After letting a first period 3-0 lead turn into a 5-3 deficit early in the third period, Chien's Bern Levesque struck for two goals in the last five minutes of regulation.
Levesque's second goal was scored while the team was shorthanded, with 55 seconds left on the clock. This set the stage for Barkley Sive to end it at 1:09 of
overtime propelling Chien into the championship game against the Knights.
The Knights had finished the playoff tournament undefeated playing very solid defensively. Their goaltender, Jason Cooper, had yielded only 9 goals throughout.
This set the stage for a memorable championship game. The Knights set the tone of the game coming out strong offensively, peppering Chien's goalkeeper Dave Maney with shots. Maney was equal to the task turning away all opportunities but one on a goal by Bernie Lafleur at 9:40 in the first period.
The game settled in and while the second period was action packed there was no scoring and no penalties.
This pattern continued in the third with Dave Maney the busiest player on the ice as Chien killed off two minor penalties in the first ten minutes. In fact it looked
like the Knights lead, though just one goal, might be enough.
But great teams are resilient teams and Chien Bizarre found a way to win. Chris Politzki tied the game with just inside of five minutes left and Tony Thielen became the hero scoring the winner with just over two minutes left.
Go 5-0 in winning their second Social Over 40 League Championship
The SDOHL Social Over 40 League season drew to a close last Thursday night with the Old Dawgs completing the post season double elimination tournament with a hard fought 3-2 win over their remaining rival, the Pickleheads.
The Old Dawgs started strong with two goals in the first five minutes by David Dain and Tim Dick. The Pickleheads roared back in the next five minutes with tallies from Jim Moffat and Tom Puschak. As is often the case the game settled down after that in what became a tight checking contest with limited scoring chances.
Erik Mathews of the Old Dawgs scored what turned out to be the winner at 5:23 of the second period on a nice setup from Marty Richardson. The two goalies, Shaun Kenney of the Old Dawgs, and Kandice Meyer of the Pickleheads, shut down the shooters the rest of the way.
Greg Clinard, co-captain of the Old Dawgs with Marty Richardson, accepted the Social Over 40 League Championship Cup from League Commissioner, John Ling. Ling noted that this was Old Dawgs second cup win, having taken the championship in the Social league inaugural season 2010-11.
Wayne Faust, captain of the PIckleheads, was disappointed but gracious in defeat. His team finished the regular season in first place of the nine team Social league, but just could not overcome the Old Dawgs who beat them twice in the double elimination tournament.
Gretchen Winters captured some of the sights on game night.
Chien Bizarre wins Select League Fall Championship
Levesque scores five goals in 10-3 rout over Faction Media
Chien Bizarre capped off a first place regular season finish with a 6-3 semi-final victory
over the Over 40’s then pounding the overmatched Faction Media team 10-3 in
the fall season championship.
Faction, with an upset win over the second place Knights in the semi-final, simply had
no answer for the offensive onslaught of the euphemistic Crazy Dogs.
After Thad Jacobs scored the opener for Faction early in the first period, Bern Levesque
and company went to work quickly dashing any hopes of an upset. Levesque scored
five of the next six goals for Chien, Tim Hammil’s goal breaking up what would have
been a natural umbrella trick producing a 6-1 score at the four minute mark of the
The teams traded goals for the remainder of the second, Rodney Saunders and Keith
Horstman scoring for Chien, Jacobs (his second of the game) and Jamison Wise for
Faction Media. Horstman and Sandy Pryor added goals in the third for Chien before the
final buzzer brought this one mercifully to an end.
Pictures courtesy of Gretchen Winters.
Clockwork Orange Wins Second Summer Championship
Clockwork Orange prevailed 4-3 over Osh Kosh Noodle on Brian Sherry’s shoot out goal after a classic battle through regulation and overtime.
The Social Over 40 League’s two top teams faced off in the summer season’s championship game and the result could not have been closer.
Osh Kosh Noodle, led by the Erickson brothers, Steve and Taylor, had an almost unblemished season taken to overtime only once in the regular season and undefeated in the playoff round robin tournament with a stingy defense and solid goaltending allowing an average of just one goal per game.
Clockwork Orange had fallen 6-3 and 4-3 in two prior matches to Osh Kosh. The first period in their 4-3 loss had been their undoing letting in four goals, captain Garrett Ladd knew they could not afford to let this happen again if they hoped to win.
Despite missing one of their key players, Matt Cannon, Clockwork Orange brought their A game and what ensued was a tight checking first period which ended scoreless.
Osh Kosh Noodle’s Dave Peters drew first blood scoring early in the second. However, Clockwork answered with goals from Bob Desmond and Garrett Ladd later in the period giving Clockwork a 2-1 lead going into the third period.
Osh Kosh came out gunning in the third but could not solve Clockwork goaltender Steve Kyelberg until Lon Sears finally tied the game at 2-2 just after the halfway point. Clockwork’s Brian Sherry looked to have the winner scoring with just 2:25 left in the game however Osh Kosh got the equalizer from Jim Miles just 25 seconds later.
The five minute overtime period proved inconclusive leading to a five man shootout to decide things. Both goaltenders, Vince Sciandra for Osh Kosh and Steve Kyelberg for Clockwork came up big stopping nine of ten opportunities. Clockwork’s Brian Sherry scored the lone goal to give them the win and championship accolades.
Congratulations to Matt Cannon, Larry Chaney, Bob Desmond, John Dickinson, Mike Ernstsen, Cliff Hall, Bill Kirshner, Steve Kyelberg, Garrett Ladd, Fred Larochelle, Joe Mahoney, Jason Martinez, Rich Parker, Jeff Pershin, Brian Sherry, and Al Zuckerman.
Gretchen Winters captured some of the championship game action.
Faction Media Wins Select League Summer Championship
Faction Media swept the round robin series with their Select League rivals going 4-0 over the playoffs.
Behind the steady goaltending of Steve Rupp, Faction defeated a gritty Biggie Wine & Liquor team 6-4 in the championship game.
Faction got goals from Andy Karofsky, Todd Harvey, John Forney (2), Matt Bitter, and Rusty Scott. Forney’s second goal, with 14 seconds remaining in the game, was in an empty net as Biggie had pulled their netminder, Tim Havens, for a sixth attacker and a chance to send the game into overtime.
Biggie goal scorers were Rick Giampietro, Todd Haver, Jamison Wise, and Bill Veltri. Veltri’s goal at 13:10 of the third period guaranteed an exciting ending.
Gretchen Winters captured some of the action.
Pickleheads Relish Victory!
The Pickleheads defeated Clockwork Orange 2-1 to claim the SDOHL Championship Cup for the Social league’s fall/winter 2013-14 season.
The final game between two very similar teams was a very close competitive contest with exciting action at both ends of the rink.
Ty Countryman opened the scoring for the Pickleheads with just 15 seconds left in the first, assists going to Jim Moffat and Tom Puschak.
In the second a clearing attempt by Pickleheads goalie, Tim Kmetz, was intercepted by Clockwork Orange defenseman Matt Cannon. Kmetz was able to block Cannon’s point shot but Joe Mahoney was lurking in front of the net and netted the rebound at 10:20.
The third period featured some great action with both teams pressing for the win. A penalty to Chris Valdez of the Pickleheads for tripping with just 55 seconds left seemed to provide the opportunity that Clockwork Orange was waiting for. Clockwork loaded up their power play and forced Kmetz to make a number of key saves.
Jim Moffat, Pickleheads defenseman, turned the tables on Clockwork when he gained control of the puck inside the Picklehead zone then skated the length of the ice before ripping a hard shot from the top of the circle past Clockwork goalie, Steve Kyelberg, and into the top corner of the net. There were just 19 seconds left on the clock.
Clockwork pressed hard for the final seconds but time ran out on their bid to force the Pickleheads to a final game.
The Pickleheads went 5-0 in the playoffs defeating Clockwork Orange twice. Clockwork had a good run at 3-2 losing only to the PIckleheads.
Gretchen Winters captured some of the action.
Over 40’s Win Select League Championship
The Over 40’s never trailed as they defeated Team Brew NQ 2-0 to take the Over 40 Select League Championship Bowl for the Fall/Winter 2013-14 season.
Paced by goals from Captain Dan Barrett on a wicked point shot 17 seconds into the second period and an insurance marker by Ben Little just over five minutes into the third, the Over 40’s played solid defensive hockey limiting Team Brew NQ to just 22 shots on goalie Tim Havens who registered his first shutout of the post season.
The Over 40’s went 4-0 in the playoffs with wins over Biggie Wine & Liquors 5-3, Team Brew NQ 4-3 in a shootout, Chien Bizarre 3-1, and Team Brew NQ 2-0 in the final.
Team Brew NQ, despite losing twice to the Over 40’s, had a good run in the playoffs defeating last year’s championship team, Chien Bizarre, 6-2 and the regular season first place team, the Bushwhackers 5-1.
Gretchen Winters captured some of the sights and scenes at the championship game.
An Exhibition of Hockey
Denver players travel to Ontario, Canada to play.
Mike Fisher loves hockey, a game he grew up with in Cleveland, Ohio where his father was a sports writer covering the Barons of the American Hockey League. Mike plays and follows teams with interest but his further passion is helping preserve the game. Mike is a volunteer and patron of the Hockey Hall of Fame and spends a week every year working at the HHOF archive facility in west Toronto.
Last February Mike contacted me out of the blue.
“I’m told that you are the guy to talk to about Over 40 hockey players,” he said. From there he unraveled a vision he shared with a contact he had in Newmarket, Ontario (approximately 40 miles north of Toronto) to have players, aged 60 and over, travel from Denver to Toronto/Newmarket to play not a tournament but in “an exhibition of hockey”.
“I’m not eligible I told him, I’m only 59.”
“Not a problem, we’ve seen you play,” he assured me.
I didn’t commit to the trip at that point but I think Mike knew that it would be increasingly difficult for a Toronto native not to find an excuse to play. The timely birth of my first grandson in Toronto sealed the deal, I was in.
Mike set about making his vision a reality. Armed with information on air fares, car rentals, and hotel costs he persuaded six players to make the trip. Along with Mike were Bill Husson, Dave Lyons, Rick Milauskas, Todd Schuman, Greg Stultz and myself.
Collaborating in Ontario with Larry Smart and Lloyd Chambers, Mike arranged a four game schedule. Two 3 on 3 games at the specially designed ice surface at Newmarket Arena and two regular games in nearby Aurora and Sharon, Ontario. We borrowed a goalie and additional players from local leagues as needed. The Colorado Mavericks, as Mike named the team, were set to play.
Mike’s Hockey Hall of Fame connections, Phil Pritchard and Miragh Bitove, arranged for the Mavericks to tour the HHOF archive facility in west Toronto. For any hockey enthusiast this is a treasure, a place where memories of the game are preserved. The actual HHOF museum is downtown in Toronto and is the showplace (we all got free passes) but anything not on display there is in the archives.
As luck would have it, the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility is in the same complex and we were able to catch some of their morning practice the day before the Leafs home opener against the Senators.
And finally my son Scott graciously agreed to conduct a walking tour of Toronto for us. There was really far more to see than we could walk to in 60-90 minutes however stops were made at the Eaton Centre, Nathan Philips Square at Toronto City Hall, and outside the Art Gallery of Ontario.
The Mavericks travelled downtown on Saturday night for the walking tour, a team dinner later on at Gretzky’s restaurant , and a short after dinner walk to see part of the Leafs vs. Sens game on the big screen outside the Air Canada Centre.
Befitting “An Exhibition of Hockey” there was no official score kept of any of our games. However, had it been, the Mavericks record would have been one win, three losses. More importantly the games were fun, our Canadian hosts made us feel welcome, and the play while competitive was clean.
The 3 on 3 format games were my favorite. Each team had six or seven skaters on the bench. A buzzer sounds every 90 seconds signaling a shift change and the players on the ice must leave the puck while the next shift jumps off the bench to be the first to retrieve it and advance the play. Even with the reduced size of the neutral zone there is plenty of room to skate and make plays. The games were frenetic, fast, and exhausting.
Thanks goes out to all who helped make the Mavericks trip a success. And particular thanks to Mike Fisher, who realized his vision. It was indeed “An Exhibition of Hockey”.
Gretchen Winters took photos of our trip.
Clockwork Orange wins Social league summer championship!
Sweeps double elimination tournament with 4-0 record.
Clockwork Orange proved their mettle in an exciting final game against Last Gasp after defeating both the Over 40’s 2-0, the Old Dawgs 7-5, and the Over 40’s in previous games.
Last Gasp, despite losing the tournament opener to the Pickleheads 3-2, came back to defeat Faction Media 5-1, and then gained a measure of revenge by eliminating the Pickleheads 2-1 to advance to the final against Clockwork Orange.
The Championship game proved to be as close as the Social league Summer season had been with six teams finishing within 5 points in the team standings.
Largely a defensive contest both Clockwork Orange and Last Gasp seemed content to wait for a break rather than open things up. The first period ended scoreless with Clockwork goalie Steve Kyelberg looking for means to stay warm after just two shots on goal. Last Gasp’s goalie, Brian Long, fared little better with only seven shots on net.
Early in the second Last Gasp drew first blood with Dino Hacker scoring at 1:02 from Paul Froelich. This opened things up with Matt Cannon replying for Clockwork Orange at 5:39. The rest of the period was scoreless but the intensity level began to rise as there was a sense that the next goal may be all it would take for victory.
Clockwork Orange took the lead 2-1 on a nice goal by Jay Rohrer from Jim Miles and Marie Kelly at 5:03. Not to be denied Last Gasp elevated their game and tied the score less than three minutes later with Paul Froelich scoring from Bob McNamara and Dino Hacker.
Both teams pressed to gain the advantage however the remainder of the period was scoreless forcing a five minute overtime period. Just 1:20 into the overtime Jay Rohrer found himself in from of the Last Gasp and scored the winner unassisted.
Congratulations to Clockwork Orange captain Garrett Ladd and his team: Stephen Attard, Matt Cannon, Bob Desmond, Mike Ernstsen, Cliff Hall, Marie Kelly, Bill Kirschner, Steve Kyelberg, Fred Larochelle, Joe Mahoney, Jim Miles, Keith Molenhouse, Rich Parker, Jeff Pershin, Jay Rohrer, and Mark Swierczewski.
Gretchen Winters was able to capture some of the action.
Team Brew NQ wins Select Summer League Championship
“First they beat you, then they feed you after the game.”
Team Brew NQ capped a fine summer season where they captured both first place in the regular season standings and went undefeated in the double elimination playoff tournament.
In the fourteen games played by Captain Bob Fairfield’s squad they lost only once in regulation time to Chien Bizarre, the same team they defeated 6-1 in the championship game.
After a close first period which saw Team Brew NQ take the lead on a goal by Greg Scala, a couple of untimely penalties to Chien Bizarre lead to two Team Brew NQ goals by Mike Shanley and Rand Peterson in the second period.
Shanley completed the hat trick in the third period scoring twice before Chien Bizarre’s Todd (Boom Boom) Harvey finally got a shot past Team Brew NQ netminder, Graham Barber. Jason Manning finished off the scoring for Team Brew NQ late in the third.
SDOHL Commissioner, John Ling, presented Team Brew NQ players with the traditional Summer Championship T shirts. The league congratulates team members Graham Barber, Scott Douglas, Bob Fairfield, Erik Hoeger, Ray Kokinos, Jason Manning, James Mansfield, Rand Peterson, Mark Richards, Greg Scala, Mike Shanley, Shane Wakeland, and Ben Ziff.
Pictures courtesy of Gretchen Winters.
SDOHL Celebrates 3rd Annual Awards Banquet
The Fall/Winter 2012-13 season came to a successful conclusion with 80 league members attending the third annual awards banquet.
In opening remarks Master of Ceremonies, Keith Horstman, welcomed league members from both the Social and Select Over 40 Leagues along with their guests and supporters. Keith restated the banquet’s purpose as a time to “inspire our friendships on and beyond the team’s benches” and to “put any on-ice grudges behind us and keep the game fun.”
This year’s banquet was headlined again by Wayne Faust, a league member, who also happens to be an accomplished singer, songwriter, and author. Wayne has entertained audiences in the U.S. and around the world for over thirty years with his unique blend of music and humor. Wayne announced he was recording this year’s session for a CD he will be releasing later this year.
Wayne performed many of his favorite songs capping the night off with some help from league members singing “Bald Guys”.