Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NiNY Skates Again!

So, I play goalie at the low beer league level.

Growing up, my ability to play the game at a level that was consistent with the competition of my age group quickly gave way to my ability to enjoy the game as a spectator. Then, when I got to the age where I figured I could play in an adult rec league and actually contribute on the ice, I decided that if I was going to pay a few hundo for gear, another few hundo for ice time, and be out on the ice at un-Godly hours of the night, I might as well get my money's worth (in terms of ice time) - so I switched to goalie.

I joined a new team in the New York/Westchester division of Hockey North America. HNA bills itself as a co-ed, adult beginner league. There's an umbrella organization, based out of Virginia, and then a dozen or so leagues in various cities in Canada and the US.

The beauty of HNA is that, unlike house leagues based out of your local ice rink, they can control rosters to keep the divisions competitive. Anyone who's not very good and has played in a house league knows that the lower divisions usually end up with a team or a couple players playing WAY below their skill level. That team or players cuts through everyone else like a hot knife through butter and it's no fun for everyone else who has to play them. Why this is fun for that team/those players is beyond me, but c'est la vie I guess.

HNA has a system for weeding out good teams/players and moving them up to the next level. If they reach the top level for that league they are disinvited from returning for the next season. So for those of us who A) aren't very good and B) would like to still be competitive in our not-very-goodness HNA is great.

My team was the Badgers. We started as a new team three seasons ago. When you start as a new team in HNA you first go through an 8-week school where you are on the ice once a week for 8-weeks learning everything from how to skate to basic positioning and game play. Remember that this is beginner adult hockey. You get a lot of people whose kids are playing hockey and they want to be able to relate to them so they take up the game - for the first time. I'm talking about people who have never strapped on the blades in their life. Not only is the instruction necessary, it's wanted by the players.

My two-plus years with the Badgers were great, and I miss playing with those guys.

The reason I'm not playing with them this year is that my family moved this summer. So I've been shopping around for a new team in need of a goalie for the last couple months, and I'm happy to report that I appear to have found one. This new team is the Ice Hawks, and our first game is tomorrow night.

Wish us luck!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck!

I joined an adult hockey league here in Chicago last year. It's great to play again.

Since I've played the game for most of my life, I'd consider myself one of the better players in the league.

My talent level might be better suited for a more competitive league, but my schedule isn't. It's not that hard to avoid the 'hot knife through butter-effect'. I'm not out there to demonstrate my dominance, I'm just there to have fun and this level of hockey allows that.