I would like to first start this article with two points. One being that I know I am more than guilty of all of this and while it doesn’t have that much, it is still more than I would like (I’ll put a story time at the bottom of my Chernobyl like meltdown). Second point I will use my one of my favorite hockey quotes of all time from Ilya Bryzgalov, “It’s just a game. Why you have to be mad?”
So over the years I have definitely seen some melt downs in beer league. I’ve definitely had one or two in my time as well. Sometimes things just boil over, or take a hit that was over the line, or the person is just an absolute crazy person. I can understand letting frustration take ahold once in a blue moon when things don’t go your way, but to be the guy who is constantly “that guy” is without a doubt completely toxic. The guy who doesn’t need anything to push him over the edge, because by the time puck drops he has already plunged off the proverbial cliff, is the thing I hate the most in beer league. Most of us play beer league because it’s a fun, healthy(ish) way to hang out with the guys once a week and to relieve some stress. I have never met a guy in beer league who didn’t have to get up the next morning to head to school or work. As the years go on most of the guys getting up for work are not only supporting themselves but their families and absolutely cannot afford to miss any work especially due to something stupid happening playing hockey. I think everyone on the ice needs to keep that in perspective and just relax and enjoy beer league for what it is. While I am not always successful with it (last night especially) I usually try to make guys on the other team laugh a little with stupid jokes or ask them how their seasons going. While they’re on the other team, these guys are just like us and are just looking to enjoy the game. There is no reason beer league can’t be friendly and competitive at the same time. These guys want to win just as bad as we do, but there is no reason we can’t have a few laughs and hopefully beers along the way. I think we all need to keep that beer league into perspective. None of us are going to show, and if any of us had any serious talent we would be playing in an A league or at the elite league at Johnnys downtown. At the end of the day it is just a game. Enjoy it, have a few beers to wash it down, and if you’re going to chirp at least be creative with it.
Years back playing at SIA for the Nighthawks we were playing a new team in the league who were a little rough around the edges. After a 10-1 lead going into the third we pretty much stopped shooting and just passed the puck around a lot while giving them some room to skate with the puck. Late in the third I caught a pass coming through to center ice while their whole team went for a line change essentially giving me a break away. Instead of shooting I took it behind the net and decided to just skate and let them get into the zone. As I was about to come out from behind the net one of their guys was barreling towards me with his shoulder down looking like he was trying to throw a hit. I cut back the opposite way and fortunately he was a bigger bender than me, he missed. He went face first into the dasher (always wear a cage boys and girls) and it was bad. He lost a few teeth on the ice and was a bloody mess. I felt bad (not that bad because it was his fault for trying to throw a hit) and skated in the area to see if he was okay as the refs were too when one of their guys launched their shoulder into my back as revenge I guess. This caused me to go into full yard sale mode and drop everything and take my helmet off and go after the guy.
I have never seen red like that in my life. A couple of the guys on my team said the string of obscenities I merged together into a single word/breath was one of the most idiotically/fantastic things they’ve witnessed. Anyway, I tried getting a hold of this guy but was wrestled down by the ref and a friend of mine (Shout out to Tommy Hand who either prevented me from getting my ass kicked or an assault charge on my record) and was thrown out. I then proceeded to thrown my jersey and elbow pads to the ground and punching the glass in frustration with that guy. It took about another five minutes in the locker room for me to finally calm down but man, I have never gone that insane in my life and hope to never go to that dark place ever again.
Until next time,