More stories from beer league hockey players
Brian Altman (forward); Architect
“A very soft-spoken and gentle friend of mine, who was a fellow hockey father from my son’s youth team, had told me that he plays hockey and that I should also consider it. I was in such disbelief that he played that I decided to go check out one of his games.
“It was a Tuesday night at 10:45pm. Those guys didn’t look like they were moving very fast, so I figured if they can do it, so can I. So at the young age of 46 I started searching the internet for adult clinics in my area.
“I bought myself some used equipment, signed up for a lesson, and showed up that first night, eager to go. I basically just spun around out of control and swatted at the puck a couple of times. When the one-hour session was over, I was drenched in sweat and guzzled my bottle of water in total exhaustion.
“As I got in my car, I smiled to myself. I was officially hooked and have been taking clinics and playing on various teams ever since. I’ve played several sports over the years, but the teamwork needed, the effort you put forth, and the thrill of winning together as a team, simply can’t be matched by any other sport.”
“The only downside is the late games
and waking up at 4:30 am for work.
But it’s worth the tradeoff…”
Neil Hamilton (goaltender); Electrician
“I started playing roller hockey on Chicago “quads” in the street, shortly after my dad took me to see a New York Rangers-Boston Bruins game when I was a kid. Once I saw Bobby Orr, I needed no more! After a couple years of street hockey, I made it onto the ice. A neighborhood coach, Anthony Taranto, booked some ice time so we could practice and join the Greater New York City Ice Hockey League. I played left wing until I saw Andy Brown play maskless, in 1973. Also, I met Eddie Giacomin around that time and then decided goaltending was for me.
“I was a better goalie than a wing, so I started on the high school varsity team, while also playing on travel teams all over the northeast and Canada. After a few years, hockey didn’t seem as important as girlfriends and partying, so I gave my goalie equipment to my neighbor and became a mere spectator.
“Twenty years later, at 40 years of age I found myself developing some lazy habits (and a beer gut), so I decided I needed some sort of physical activity and outlet. So I joined a karate dojo where my wife worked as an instructor. I trained with a woman whose husband was an avid beer league hockey player. At some point, in my mid forties, I was asked by them, ‘Didn’t you use to play goalie as a kid? We always need goalies for our scrimmages. Why don’t you get some pads together and see if you don’t make a fool of yourself?’ So after almost 30 years, I was back!
“At those scrimmages I met some guys who played in a league, and then signed up. As far as the fitness and fun factors, nothing else can compare to hockey. The only downside is the late games and waking up at 4:30 am for work. But it’s worth the tradeoff…”
Dan Meltzer (defense); Social Worker
“For a long while I was going to evening public sessions at a local rink. Backwards, forwards, clockwise, and counter-clockwise turns around the rink soon got old. At the same time I started noticing guys dragging their CCM and Easton hockey bags in at around 9:00 pm, and eventually decided that hockey was the next logical step for me. So at age 50, having never so much as held a stick, I took up the sport.
“I then signed up to play in an organized league, took their eight beginner classes, and got assigned to a team. Ten years, a broken ankle, a dislocated shoulder and hundreds of games later, I’m still in it.”
Ira Handschuh (defense); Dentist
“As a child, my older brother and I were huge hockey fans, watching and playing street hockey. It was my brother who forced me to start skating, and once I entered high school, to start playing hockey. I organized pickup hockey games while in dental school, and eventually met a group of guys who have now been playing together for more than 15 years.
“Playing in both an Over 40 and Over 50 league is a fantastic form of relaxation from life’s daily routine, not to mention the strong friendships that have developed (it also leads to new clients, since I am a dentist!)” Read on…