New Years Day Ice Battle
Not Bad For Our First Attempt!
It was one year ago, New Years Day 2016 landed on our regular Friday Night skate. We decided to skate and hang out in Skaters Bar at Crystal Fieldhouse. It was a great afternoon of hockey and fellowship, so the idea was to do it again on Sunday, Jan 1st 2017. I was not content to just run a drop in skate, but to host our first public tournament. We ran an invite only outdoor tournament last February, but this would be our first public tournament. The planning for the tournament started late. Looking at my file dates, the design for the Ice Battle logo was completed on Dec 6th and the flyer was designed on Dec. 9th. We spent some money on Facebook ads, post cards and a lot of word of mouth and emails of course! Fortunately, the Gears Beer hockey community is over 200 strong, so we were able to gather enough players from our list. We had 55 skaters participate with eight teams in the Ice Battle. Let’s go over the results of our “virgin” tournament and look at potential improvements.
The Hockey Tournament Bracket
Thanks to my friend Jeff Dennings, we figured out how to organize an eight-team double elimination tournament. We had a tight timeline to get it done in three to three and a half hours to keep the ice time bill under control. Our goal is always to be of benefit to our host rink, and they are always generous with their fees and services. The Greater Flint Hockey Association donated the use of their 1/2 ice boards and Jeff Barat and Tom Hutchings helped us set up the boards and time / score boards. Two cuts were executed with the moving of the boards in record time. That was a critical part of the day. Thanks to the Crystal staff for being on their game!
All but one of the teams was in the 18+ division, so we lumped them all into one group – Sorry Jeff! The 30+ team lead by Jeff Rouse held their own as you will see. At noon, the teams and I met to discuss a few ground rules, sportsmanship, and game play. 15-minute run time games, no refs, with one face-off to get things started. A three-tap face-off and game on! Puck out of bounds, possession is lost by the team that knocked the puck out. Goal scored, the team that gets scored on gets control of the puck. Other than that, skate hard and have fun!
Cards were drawn to determine the initial games and the tournament started at 1 pm sharp.
Game 1 Ardis 2 vs Peter Watchers 8
This turned out to be a bad draw for Ardis! They faced the eventual champions and were out matched. Ardis plays in the EHL on Sunday early. Players Alec Rymarz, Alex Richman, Jeff Welker, Johnny Genovese, Rob Lee, Tony Escobedo and goalie James Kurnick. Peter Watchers skaters are Benny McPharlen, Ian Bever, Justin Davis, Kyle Marsh and in goal Josh Pfieffer.
Game 2 Team Rousch 5 vs Multiple Scoregasms 2
The old guys, Team Roush, won their first game with their excellent puck movement. Team Rousch skaters are Brandon Pirtel, Chris Christenson, Curtis Christenson, Eddy Edwards, Tom Hall, Jeff Rouse and in goal David Jackson. Multiple Scoregasms wasn’t able to live up to their cool name. Skaters included Brent Triplett, Brian Dowdy, Matthew Dunn, Mike Kavlakian, Tony Reffert, Troy Fulton, Jordan Scott and in goal Tony Asaro. The extra rostered player was a result of Reffert’s attempt to skate on a broken foot in the first game, with Mike K sitting.
Game 3 Flint Tropics 7 The Other Team 0
Flint Tropics skaters Brandon Hagenbuch, Dominic Gutierrez, Mark Look, Mike Basinski, Steve Basinski swarmed around The Other Team and goalie Chad Bartle stoned them. The Other Team players are Austin Loshinskie, Cooper Kubitz, Michael Massard, Richard Spalding, Steven Learst, Zach Rankin and in goal Alex Bardy.
Game 4 Soloman Plumbing 6 vs Hadley Boys 2
Soloman Plumbing was a standout in two areas. They had cool yellow jerseys that stood out and they had the only injury of the day. Skaters for Soloman incuded Donte Delabbio, Mike Mays, Nick Campbell, Tyler Schofield, Josh Hill and Broc Lemieux with Mike Alexander in goal. Broc’s ankle went the opposite direction of his body while reaching for the puck and broke his tibia and fibula. He is in surgery as I write this. While injury is a part of any athletics, we hate to see this happen. Broc is a regular in our Wednesday night skate. Skaters for Hadley Boys included Drake MacKenzie, Jake Austin, Jake Rousseau, Tyler Russell with Derek Vick in goal.
Game 5 Winners Bracket: Team Rousch 5 Peter Watchers 8
Game 6 Winners Bracket: Soloman Plumbing 6 Flint Tropics 4
Game 7 Losers Bracket: Multiple Scoregasms 7 vs Ardis 1
Game 8 Losers Bracket: Hadley Boys 2 vs The Other Team 4
Game 9 Losers Bracket: Multiple Scoregasms 3 vs Team Roush 5
Game 10 Losers Bracket: Flint Tropics 6 vs The Other Team 1
Game 11 Winners Bracket: Soloman 2 vs Peter Watchers 8
Game 12 Losers Bracket: Flint Tropics 4 vs Team Rousch 0
Game 13 Losers Bracket: Flint Tropics 7 vs Soloman 4
Game 14 Finals: Flint Tropics 5 vs Peter Watchers 2
At this point, the Flint Tropics have played five games in a row. Sure, these are 15 minute games, but to quote a friend, “those are a long ass 15 minutes!”
At game 14, Flint Tropics handed Peter Watchers their first defeat and since this is “double” elimination, there is one more game.
Game 15 Final Final! Peter Watchers 8 vs Flint Tropics 3
So, the champions of our first Ice Battle at Crystal Fieldhouse is Peter Watchers. I had to ask about the name and the response was that when they played together in juniors they would refer to spectators as peter watchers.
Well, as a spectator for the day, it was great hockey to watch! The ½ ice boards worked great, thanks again GFHA! The game was played cross ice. I was concerned about the nets staying in place, but they were fine. We had some challenges with jerseys, so for the next tournament I’ll have a couple sets of jerseys on hand. I did have one set to loan out, a couple more would be a good idea.
I was real concerned about the timeline, but we were all done by 4:40 pm even with a five-minute delay during Broc’s injury. A designated crew to move the boards would be helpful. There was a delay during the second cut as we didn’t have enough skaters still out to help move.
Special thanks to our scorekeepers for the day! Annabelle Ward and Jordyn Wainio toughed it out in the cold and kept us on schedule for the day!
Have any input, ideas of feedback, please comment or email me at email@example.com. Look for information on our next Ice Battle Tournament June 2nd through the 4th!
Another note to self… get pics of all the teams before the action starts! Below are the finalists, note that Broc on Solomon was in the hospital at the time, so I Photo Shop’d him into the team pic.