February 18, 2018

S'no repeat

Snow and ice cost the roadsters more than two months of last season. So when an unexpected visit from Old Man Winter dusted the road hockey court with a couple of inches of white powder and semi-frozen slush, they weren’t about to let history repeat itself.

But the effort to clear the concrete exacted a toll.

Especially for Velma, who’s still playing himself back into game shape after an extended hiatus.

“It was tough for me,” said reconstituted roadster after Sunday’s game was preceded by at least 30 minutes of shoveling.

While the snow wasn’t exactly welcome, it wasn’t as bad as he’d feared, said Scooby.
“It was a little slippery, but I think we’ve had worse,” said the veteran sniper.

Whether they were fatigued from the pre-game plowing, or worried about getting caught out by an unexpected patch of frozen slush, the roadsters were tentative once play got underway.

“People were slowing down in the middle of the court, especially after there were some big falls,” said Scooby.

Velma said that tentativeness helped keep the scoring opportunities to a minimum.

“Guys were overthinking,” he said. “You sort of had to let instinct take over.”

Which is exactly what Scooby and his mates, Screech, and Ohio, did as they battle back from an early deficit, gave up a lead and then won the game in sudden death, 7-6.

“Patience was a big thing today,” Scooby said. “We did have a lot more time with the ball, but you’ve got to wait for your opening.”

Velma said that cautionary approach cost his team.

“We should have won that game handily if we had been able to bury the ball,” he said.

But on a day that echoed the weather challenges that caught out the roadsters last year, both teams walked away from the courts winners.

“It was awesome to be able to have a full game,” Scooby said.

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February 11, 2018

Sunny skies put losers into black hole

Sunny skies, a dry court and ample subs made for a speedy game Sunday. So speedy, in fact, there was time for two games.

Although that may have been due more to the hasty dispatch of Scooby and his mates by the highly-skilled up-tempo offense from the likes of Lak Attack, Cleveland, and Doo.

“We were never really in that game,” said the veteran winger of his side’s poor performance in a 10-3 drubbing. “Our team just wasn’t good enough.”

Nor was Joker, who seemed to set his side’s mood when he allowed the first five shots he faced to get past him.

“Goaltending is a mental thing and I think today I had a bit of a mental breakdown,” said the veteran showstopper of his inability to do just that.

You know it’s bad when even your own teammates are trash talking you.

Still, Scooby said, there’s usually still hope. But an inability to generate quality scoring chances on Kid ensured his side’s dismal fate.

“We didn’t have many shots, and the ones we had didn’t have much skill,” said Scooby.

From his end of the court, Joker tried to battle his demons but he just couldn’t muster the ammunition.

“If you can convince yourself you can turn it around, then you can,” he said. “It all comes down to mental fitness.”

But as the deficit mounted to 6-1 and then 7-2, Scooby said the notion of a comeback diminished.

“Even when it’s 5-0, it feels like you can still come back,” said the frustrated forward. “But when you’re just constantly training, there’s not much hope. You’re just hoping for the second game.”

Which is just what they got, and a measure of redemption for Joker who rebounded to win it.

That, he said, was critical for his confidence as the season edges towards its home stretch.

“If that sort of thing goes from week to week, you end up getting into a rut and who knows when you’re going to get out of it,” said Joker.

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February 04, 2018

Lack of shots costs Scooby and his gang

Velma and his veteran mates started converting odd-man rushes to break open a tight-checking game and beat their rookie-laden rivals 10-3 Sunday.

For much of the game’s first hour, neither side gave a quarter and it seemed doubtful they’d even reach the first five-goal break before time expired.

But a relentless run of odd-man rushes finally started producing results.

Velma said his side just had to stick with its game plan.

“You’ve got to play the bounces and play the odds and sooner or later you’re going to get bounces on your stick,” said the veteran winger, whose side was anchored by stalwart veterans Nouvelle Guy and Lak Attack.

Scooby said his side just ran out of steam.

“I think as the game went on, we got a bit more tired than they were,” said the dynamic speedster.

That may have been due to the two rookies, Gary Busey and Screech, who cracked the lineup but seemed to struggle with the pace at times.

Scooby said his side needed to simplify its game by just firing shots at the net at every opportunity.

“There’s just more chances generated when your able to throw the ball on net,” said Scooby. “We just didn’t do nearly enough of that today.”

Velma said his side set out to exploit the rookies at every opportunity.

“Not knowing the court, not knowing the wet spots, you could see a bunch of the new guys going down left, right and centre, and you’ve got an odd-man rush right away,” said Velma.

Scooby said even when his team did manage to break through, they were thwarted by the glove hand and hoovering pads of Kid, who returned to the crease after he missed last week’s game.

“If you looked at our three goals, I think most of them were just shots where he was screened,” said Scooby of Kid’s infallibility.

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January 28, 2018

New players persevere in downpour

The addition of two new roadsters energized the roadsters on a day that could have been a washout. Literally.

For the fourth week in a row the roadsters were able to play a complete game. Sunday, it was in a driving downpour that flooded the court and soaked everyone’s feet.

“It was a bigger win for us having everyone come out to play,” said Lak Attack, whose team battle back from an early deficit to ride the momentum of five straight goals to a 10-9 victory.

The comeback was largely sparked by one of two new Velma disciples who made their Sunday Morning debut. Their resilience and determination to gut it out despite the deteriorating conditions was motivating to their teammates.

No more so when Lak Attack struggled early on with his glove hand and five-hole, putting his team behind 5-2 at the first break.

“These guys kept the pressure on and that helped me settle in until we got the lead,” said the veteran goaltender.

Scooby said his side knew without a spare player, they had to strike quickly and often to build a lead they could try to ride out to victory.

“We definitely got lucky early,” said the speedster.

But that luck didn’t hold, as Doo and Velma started to buzz the net and find holes around Joker.

“The guys realized they had to step it up,” said Lak Attack.

The deplorable conditions that even forced the roadsters to switch courts midway through the game, may also have had a role in the game’s turnaround.

“Wet conditions like this really change the game,” said Lak Attack.

Despite the loss, Scooby said he was encouraged by the addition of two new players.

“It will definitely take them a few games to adjust,” said Scooby. “When it’s your first game, you may not know where to go for the ball.”

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January 21, 2018

Winners full-measure after half-court warmup

A rocky transition from the half-court to a full-court game slowed Sunday’s winners, but it didn’t derail them en route to a 10-9 win.

With Lak Attack and Colonel dispatched to fetch the second set of goalie gear after Kid was a surprise scratch, Sunday’s game started as a half-court battle with Joker minding the crease for both teams. When the absent players returned, the score was reset to zero as they were distributed to the underdogs.

The fresh legs seemed to spark them, as they jumped to a quick lead and seemed to have their skilled opponents on the ropes.

“In the full-court game, you’re playing more of a north-south game and I think that played into our style a bit better,” said Cowboy Bill.

“They took it to us early on,” said Doo. “You can get a little lazy in the half-court game and I think that slipped into our game early on.”

In fact, it almost sunk them.

With Cleveland hustling after every loose ball, and Colonel firing from the point, Cowboy Bill and Velma were able to scrap for rebounds and loose balls to generate scoring chances on a befuddled Joker.

But the skill and fleet feet of Scooby and Doo, along with the power forward abilities of Nouvelle Guy and garbage retrieval of Living Legend ensured the hole didn’t get too deep.

“They had skill on their side,” said Cowboy Bill. “We just had to really scrap for whatever we got.”

Those opportunities diminished as the game wore on.

Once the underdogs decoded the riddle of Lak Attack, the goals hit with regularity.
But Sunday’s losers weren’t about to cast blame.

“We’re always confident that Lak Attack is going to give us a good game,” said Cowboy Bill.

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January 14, 2018

By the dawn's early glare

A year ago the road hockey courts were so encrusted with snow and ice, even a heroic effort of chopping and shoveling couldn’t reignite the season for nine weeks.

Sunday, a dazzling blast of sunshine that pierced the fog forced the roadsters to move from their regular venue to the neighbouring court as glare off the damp concrete blinded the goalies. But the game went on as usual.

Maybe not such great news for fellow founding father Living Legend.

Recovering from a miserable cold, the veteran declared himself barely fit to play, let alone roam the court without respite as there were no substitutes available to either team. Still, his feisty teammates, Lak Attack and Scooby, were resolute and gave their crackerjack opponents all they could handle in a 12-7 loss.

They also didn’t use their shorthanded situation as an excuse.

“Moral victories are for losers,” Lak Attack said. “Even though we lost, it was nice to play hard right to the end and come close — but close isn’t enough.”

Doo said his side, also hobbled by a hip injury to Colonel that restricted his mobility, had to be at the top of its game to exploit the underdogs’ weakness.

“We knew Legend would be cheating to the inside of the defensive zone, or if he did make a rush he’d be slow getting back,” Doo said. “We just had to be aware and we had some really good passing today.”

Lak Attack conceded his side struggled early to adjust to the Legend’s struggles to keep up and be engaged in the play. But as they found their comfort level, goals — including three by their belamed linemate started to happen. At one point they were within three goals of tying the game.

“We kinda figured it out towards the end,” Lak Attack said. “We played a bit more positionally and we all came on.”

Doo said his side had to just ride out the storm by retaining its faith in goaltender Kid.

“I don’t think we ever panicked,” he said. “It always helps when your goaltender is playing well. They got a few goals, but we knew it was hard work by the other team and not Kid letting us down.”

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January 07, 2018

Velma cold after return from Iceland

Velma came a long way to play Sunday’s Shrimp Ring Bowl. His performance suggests he’s still got a long way to go.

The veteran roadster returned to the road hockey courts from a two-year hiatus in Iceland. The timing of his comeback was no coincidence; he said the festive shrimp in tangy cocktail sauce that heralds the first game at the courts of the new year was a welcome respite from fermented shark meat and other local “delicacies” he endured during his sojourn.

But while his snack may have been tasty, his game was anything but.

Velma had trouble finding the net even as his team romped to a 15-8 win. He struggled to get his shot within three feet of the cage and he laboured defensively.

“Shooting was a challenge for sure,” Velma said of his road hockey reprise. “I was slow. Everyone was running circles around me.”

That set up a number of odd-man rushes for the opposition. But for most of the game they failed to take advantage until Scooby and Ohio were finally able to generate some chemistry.

By then it was too late.

Early on, it was the speedsters like Doo and Cleveland who were best able to negotiate the slippery conditions created by a steady rain shower. Not by outrunning defenders or dazzling them with footwork, but by taking advantage of wacky bounces and unexpected deflections.

“There was goals going in off people’s butts, sticks and chests,” said Doo. “It was a total blast.”

Not so much for the goaltenders though.

Lak Attack said he tried to adjust his game by minimizing his movement.

“Sometimes the best thing to do is just sit tight in your crease and stay within your game,” said the versatile veteran who stepped between the pipes when Joker was an unexpected scratch. “Hopefully the ball will hit you if you’re in the right position.”
Unless, of course, it’s being shot by Velma.

“I didn’t think I hit it once the entire game,” he said.

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December 18, 2017

Dates for Stanley Stick set: report

In the absence of any meaningful games the past two weeks, has learned some key dates for Sunday Morning Road Hockey events.

The Stanley Stick will be contested April 29 and May 6. That’s the same time frame as last season, when the championship window was extended a week as a result of the extended mid-season hiatus because of snow and ice on the court.

A source close to the league said the early designation for the two-game championship series that concludes the road hockey season should give roadsters plenty of advance notice for vacation planning and child birth. Recent Stanley Sticks have been plagued by indifferent attendance due to conflicts with booked vacations and poorly-timed pregnancies.

Previously the dates for the Stanley Stick haven’t been announced until February or March.

“Most employers require employees to book their vacation time early in the new year,” said the source. “Now roadsters will know with certainty when not to take their vacation.”

The dates also avoid conflicts with other events that could affect attendance, such as the Vancouver Sun Run on April 22 and Mother’s Day on May 13. While the former hasn’t had a huge impact on the Stick, some roadsters have used their participation in the annual 10km run to miss key late-season games; others, like Lak Attack and Beckenbauer, have famously made it to the game after completing the downtown event.

“The two Sundays in between those days are pretty much the last free stretch for an unhindered Stanley Stick,” said the source. “If we wait beyond those dates we start to run into long weekends and summer holidays.”

After a dismal turnout of only four roadsters Sunday, the league is now on a two-week break to allow players to enjoy the holiday season without fear of the sting of the evil orange plastic ball. The season resumes Jan. 7 with the annual Shrimp Ring Bowl, the highlight of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s social calendar.

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December 03, 2017

Half-court game no joke for goalie

In the half-court game, the goalie has no friends.

That’s when Joker thrives.

The veteran goalkeeper said he “can’t get enough” of the improvised demigames that mean he’s facing shots from any player at any time.

“I like the action.”

In fact, Sunday he liked it so much, he threw down a challenge when the pace flagged, asserting he hadn’t been beaten on a wrap-around play in more than three years.

Lak Attack answered with aplomb, whipping out from behind the net to Joker’s left and squeezing the ball past the stunned shotstopper, much to the mirth of the rest of the players gathered for yet another half-court game as a number of key veterans continue to be awol.

“It was a given that I would score,” said the slippery centreman.

And playing the half-court game affords the creative players the luxury to try new moves because the game isn’t on the line. In fact, there is no real game.

“You can experiment,” said Lak Attack. “You get to make a few moves, try to get your timing.”

For his part, Joker is also working on aspects of his game.

He said the unrelenting nature of the half-court game, in which a teammate becomes his opponent every time the ball turns over, affords him the opportunity to hone his focus, build the stamina of alertness required to sustain him through the long, grueling season.

“It takes a lot to stay focussed when you’ve got shots coming at you from every side,” he said.

Raining those shots at every opportunity is the key to success in the half-court game, said Lak Attack. In fact, with every man playing for himself the game is stripped to its core elements.

“Sometimes it’s just as simple as shooting it on net, get a rebound and hopefully it goes in,” said Lak Attack. “That’s the fundamentals of this game.”

That’s good news for a goaltending workaholic like Joker.

“I’ve got to be on my toes,” he said.

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November 19, 2017

Veterans play waiting game

A combination of Joker’s fatigue in net and the sense by a pair of veteran players to take advantage powered Lak Attack and Living Legend to a pair of half-court victories over a pair of crafty rust belt forwards, Cleveland and Ohio.

In a steady rain that slicked the concrete courts, two of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s most senior forwards kept their footing and patiently awaiting Joker’s inevitable lull to fire five unanswered goals in the first game, and then edge their younger and speedier opponents 3-2 in the follow-up.

“We’ve been around the courts for a long time, and you know when you can wait for some lucky bounces,” said Lak Attack.

He and his teammate also knew Joker would eventually tire from the constant barrage of shots from both teams.

While the reliable rearguard was aggressive on the ball in the early going, lunging to intercept passes and poke checking advancing forwards with his stick, the effort of stopping both teams steadily wore him down.

That’s when the veteran forwards adjusted their game plan from up court passes to constant shooting from every distance and angle. It paid off, as Lak Attack connected from long range and Living Legend found gaps from impossible angles.

Joker admitted there was little he could do against the assault.

“At the beginning of the game, it was a lit easier because everyone is trying to pass,” he said. “But after a while everyone is getting tired and the shots are coming in and I’m tired too.”

Cleveland said his side wasn’t prepared for the strategic shift.

“We probably didn’t adjust as well,” he said. “It can be difficult when you’re so used to playing three-on-three, then you end up with the half court game.”

But Lak Attack said his side’s decision to rain shots on net was as much a product of the weather conditions.

“This was one of those sloppy game, you’re not going to get crisp passes.”

Joker said the slippery court should have played into his favour.

“I’m a little more maneuverable, and the players are slower,” he said.

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November 12, 2017

A lazy win

Cowboy Bill and Cleveland barely broke a sweat in their 6-3 win in Sunday’s half-court game.

That’s because they were able to make their long range shots count, allowing them to conserve energy for some aggressive forechecking to produce turnovers.

Cowboy Bill said their winning strategy was as much about survival.

“It’s a big court to cover with just two guys,” said Cowboy, who’s making his Sunday Morning Road Hockey comeback after several years away from the courts.

So they didn’t.

Instead of transitioning to offence with quick-strike rushes up the rain-slicked court, Cowboy and Cleveland fired howitzers at Joker. When he whiffed a few, they had the edge they needed.

“If you can get some of those quick ones, you have more energy,” said Lak Attack, whose own attempts at long-range scoring always seemed to land squarely in Joker’s trapper or his smothering leg pads.

Cowboy said once his side exposed Joker’s apparent weakness, the game came to them.

“You try to keep the pressure on to create turnovers,” he said. “We needed as many chances as possible.”

But Lak Attack’s dangling and the Living Legend’s knack for finding the five hole seemed to elude them on Sunday, as the wily veterans failed to find the kind of chemistry needed to succeed in the half-court game.

“The half-court game is a running game and Legend and I just didn’t have the best chemistry today,” said Lak Attack. “We played hard and they just played a bit better.”

When there’s so little margin for error, that extra effort made the difference in controlling the game’s tempo and making it work to their advantage, said Cowboy Bill.

“It gives you the chance to settle back,” he said. “You don’t have to work as hard on the forecheck coming in so it saves a lot of energy in the long run.”

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November 05, 2017

Cowboy Bill has impact in comeback

In only his second appearance at the road hockey courts in more than seven years, Cowboy Bill had a huge impact on Sunday’s game.

An immovable presence in front of the net all day in his team’s 10-4 victory, it was a clash at the side of the net with Colonel that may prove to have the most lasting implications.

The feisty forward was wheeling his way below the goal line when he and Cowboy Bill clashed, toppling Colonel to the concrete hard. When Colonel gathered himself up, his right hand hung limply from a badly swollen wrist. His game was over, and possibly his season, as he headed for x-rays.

His mates, who’d charged to a quick 2-0 lead but were struggling to find much more offence than that, visibly slumped.

“That’s when the game got away from us,” said Nouvelle Guy. “It’s tough to lose a guy and if you don’t have that sub, it’s a double whammy.”

Especially against a skilled lineup that featured Cleveland, Scooby and Lak Attack who freewheeled around and through diminished defenders while Cowboy Bill parked himself in front of Kid to establish a screen and pounce on rebounds.

“He was a big presence for us in front of the net,” said Lak Attack. “He’s tough, he won’t let up and he works hard throughout.”

Cowboy Bill said his role as immovable obstacle was as much a survival tactic after being away from the game since the 2010 Stanley Stick so he could travel the world in pursuit of job opportunities.

“The court looks small, but it plays big,” he said.

But with an overall advantage in speed that really made itself apparent after Colonel left the game, Cowboy’s mates were able to shrink the court to the size of a postage stamp as their opponents struggled to keep up.

“They were passing around us and we were caught napping,” said Nouvelle Guy. “We lost our legs.”

And Sunday Morning Road Hockey may have lost one of its most stalwart veterans.

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October 15, 2017

PFG sows seeds for possible comeback

It’s been six years since Pig Farming Goalie played a road hockey game that mattered.

He’s got a lot less hair and what’s left has gone grey. But in Sunday’s regular season opener the veteran net minder showed a new generation of roadsters why he was the most dominant keeper of his era, as he led his team to a 9-1 victory.

It was a triumphant return to the courts for PFG, who famously lost the 2011 Stanley Stick when another long-in-the-tooth veteran, Living Legend, ran circles around his younger opponents and earned the Conn Stick award. And while two knee surgeries since may have slowed him a bit, his sound positioning and knack for angles frustrated opposing shooters time and again on Sunday.

“I think from the first few shots you knew he was going to be sound,” said Bam Bam. “He was moving well and we just tried to do too much.”

Just like old times, said Lak Attack.

“He’s probably our most sound positional goalie,” said the ageing forward. “He’s very tough to beat. You really gotta bank rebounds on him.”

While Bam Bam tried valiantly to employ just such a strategy, time and again they were rebuffed at the edge of the crease.

Pig Farming Goalie said he rediscovered his groove once he adjusted to the furious pace of the game.

“This game is not easy to play,” said the agrarian goalie. “It’s such a quick turnaround, so it’s a good game to keep goalie sharp.”

Lak Attack said it was quickly apparent his old nemesis hadn’t lost his feel for the game.

“He looked pretty sharp,” said the speedy centreman. “You have to be ready in position. That’s the biggest thing as a goalie; to be ready for a shot at any angle.”

At the other end of the court, Joker may not have been able to match his opponent save-for-save, but he was his equal in effort as time and again he was able to frustrate the terrific trio of Lak Attack, Cleveland and Ohio.

“It it wasn’t for him the game would have been over way sooner than it was,” said Bam Bam.

A reality that wasn’t lost on Sunday’s special guest goaltender.

“Joker was keeping them in there,” said Pig Farming Goalie, who was unsure when he’d next appear at the courts.

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October 01, 2017

Warmth of pre-season warms up players

When one of road hockey’s most senior players warns of the perils of missing training camp, it’s best to heed his admonishment.

It would be easy for Colonel to sit back for another couple of weeks to conserve his energy for the long regular season ahead. But he was one of only four players to report to the court Sunday for the first of two training camp sessions.

It should have been a game. Instead the wily veteran, along with Bam Bam, Nouvelle Guy and fellow founding father Living Legend, honed their shots and worked on breakout drills.

Colonel said it was important not to just walk away.

“I think what guys don’t understand is when you play at this level, you can’t really afford to miss training camp,” said the feisty forward. “They just get so far behind and it’s frustrating when you play in subsequent weeks and you’re fully on your game while they’re out there like sitting ducks.”

That was a fate Bam Bam wanted to avoid.

After he missed the midsummer scrimmage in mid-August, he was determined to report to camp to get his game back.

“You always try to find your rhythm and timing,” said Bam Bam. “It’s good to get familiar again with the guys, the stick and the courts.”

Colonel said the laid back opening to training camp was especially disappointing because of the ideal playing conditions.

“The weather is fantastic right now.”

Bam Bam said after last season’s snow and ice cost the roadsters nine weeks of their season, it’s important to make every opportunity to play count.

“We play most of the season in wet, damp conditions, so any time you get dry conditions you’ve got to take advantage,” said Bam Bam. “You never know how many days you’re going to get out of the season.”

Still, for the roadsters who did get in a workout on Sunday, they’ll likely be a little sharper, a little more in sync when the games start for real on Oct. 15.

“You think of it as a warmup,” said Bam Bam. “It’s always good to get warmed up.”

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August 19, 2017

Tradition excites roadsters to start season

In its 26 years, Sunday Morning Road Hockey has developed more than a few traditions. In fact, some players contend it’s those traditions that have kept the game alive for so long.

Wednesday, the roadsters renewed one of their most beloved rituals, the annual midsummer scrimmage.

For the second year running, the roadsters teamed up with players from the doppelgänger gang that populates the court during the summer hiatus — the formative years of a new tradition perhaps?

And, of course, Beetle Boy made his traditional faux comeback, teasing the roadsters with his scoring knack and the possibility he may forsake his rogue indoor career to return to the outdoor game.

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen,” said Beetle Boy. “But games like this, and the fun I have, it definitely makes you want to come back.”

Colonel’s heard that refrain before, and he wasn’t about to be duped again.
“You’ve got to play. Hockey is like that.”

Doo, himself the subject of comeback rumours after he missed all but one game last season following a car accident and his defection to another rogue league, said it’s hard to build a season from one scrimmage. But it does excite the desire to play.

“You remind yourself why it’s fun to play,” said the scoring speedster. “It’s really important to recharge the hockey batteries.”

Colonel said as he gets older, the traditional summer game has become a barometer of his advancing years and the toll they may be taking on his skills.

“You realize you’ve lost your hands a little bit more than anything,” said the Colonel. “It seems more crowded out there, It’s harder to move the ball.”

Training camp opens Sunday, Oct. 1 and the regular season begins two weeks later, on the 15th.

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July 26, 2017

Summer scrimmage only three weeks away

Summer is still in full swelter, but thoughts of the start of road hockey season are never far away.

The roadsters will gather for their annual Mid-Summer Scrimmage on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m.

The casual scrimmage is a chance for the roadsters to get reacquainted with the sting of the evil orange plastic ball, assess their off-season fitness and build anticipation for the coming season, Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s 26th year.

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May 07, 2017

Kid's Conn Stick caps comeback season

Kid capped the most unlikeliest of comeback seasons with a Conn Stick performance between the pipes to lead his team to a 20-10 win Sunday and a two-game sweep of the Stanley Stick championship.

It’s the first time in road hockey history a player has earned the Most Valuable Player award as an offensive player and as a goaltender.

Prior to his mysterious disappearance from the league in 2012, Kid was one of road hockey’s most dynamic and prolific goal scorers. He excelled when the courts were wet as he was able to keep his feet beneath him on the slick concrete without losing speed while defenders slipped and slid in his wake. In 2007 he earned his first Conn Stick Award when he led his team to a dramatic overtime win in the decisive mini-game after they had come back to tie the championship series. Of course, the court was wet.

After several years hiatus, Kid returned to the courts at the beginning of this season. He strapped on the pads for the campaign’s third game and never took them off. He lost only two regular season games.

“All season he was a steadying influence,” said Bam Bam of the reborn rearguard.

That assured presence carried into the post season. After Kid led his team to a
dominant 20-11 win in last week’s Stanley Stick opener, his mates were confident they’d get more of the same this week despite the addition of two snipers, Lak Attack and Ohio, to the underdogs’ lineup.

“He takes care of things defensively,” said Bam Bam. “We knew he could stop the first shot, so that meant we could take our chances. That made us comfortable.”

Time and again Kid was able to snuff out offensive rallies by smothering the evil orange plastic ball in his equipment.

“He didn’t give us a lot of rebounds,” said Lak Attack. “He was solid whenever there were opportunities for us to score.”

“He made it really easy for us,” said Doo.

Bolstered by the addition of more firepower and speed, plus the surprise goaltender switch to put Twizzler in net, the underdogs dictated the early pace. Cleveland seemed energized by pairing with his longtime battery mate, Ohio. Lak Attack wheeled through the middle of the court and drove hard to the net.

“We had the guys who could give and go and run with those guys,” said Lak Attack. “We started really well.”

But when Joker left for another commitment, leaving his side with only one spare player to spell off tired teammates, the wheels started to wobble.

“It’s really tough to have only one sub,” said Doo. “It was hot, it was tight checking. They had some real tired legs out there.”

“We knew we had the advantage on the bench,” said Bam Bam. “We just needed to take advantage of that with quick shifts.”

They did exactly that. A tight-checking game quickly devolved to an endless series of odd-man rushes that a beleaguered Twizzler was powerless to stop.

“We just didn’t have the fitness,” said Lak Attack. “We didn’t have that extra step and the game just got away from us.”

The 2016-17 Stanley Stick Champions are: Colonel, Kid, Doo, Scooby, Beelzebub, BamBam.

Joker's mid-game disappearance was compounded by the unexpected absence of Riddler while Nouvelle Guy was injured. That meant even with the addition of two new players, the underdogs still managed to play undermanned.

Frustrated by the extended mid-season hiatus caused by wintry weather, Cleveland is organizing a summer league to be played at the road hockey courts whenever there is enough interest.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:57 PM | Comments (2)

April 30, 2017

Speed gives advantage to Doo and mates

Speed may have won Sunday’s Stanley Stick opener, but determination and hard work will hoist the trophy next week.

That was Colonel’s cautionary assessment even after his swift side romped to a 20-11 win to take command of the two-game finale.

“Any side can still win regardless of what it says on paper,” said the wily veteran.

Fueled by a younger lineup comprised of speedsters like Scooby and Doo complementing the gritty power of Bam Bam and Beelzebub, Colonel and his mates were never in danger of falling behind in the series’ opener.

Doo said it was a team effort that allowed them to dominate their overmatched opponents by transitioning quickly from defence to offence to create odd-man rushes that, more often than not, ended with a goal.

“We gave up rushes, but we would get the ball back and get it up court in a hurry,” said Doo, who was playing only his second game after he was sidelined by a traffic accident in January. “We outran them.”

They also used their skill advantage, said Nouvelle Guy, whose side was often left flatfooted.

“They made the tape-to-tape passes and that made the difference,” said the francophone forward.

It also frustrated Joker, who was powerless to stanch to flow of forwards raining shots his way. A 5-1 run of goals against in the game’s second period pretty much sealed his side’s fate and caused the temperamental shot stopper to hurl his equipment down the court. That just seemed to fire their opponents even more.

“If you can get the other team thinking negatively, that works in your favour,” said Colonel.

That negativity will have to exorcised, said Nouvelle Guy, is his side wants to get back into the series and force a decisive mini game.

“We’ve got to push a little harder. We’ve got to get our legs underneath us.”

And their effort could be aided immensely by the addition of players who were unable to make it to Sunday’s game. One of those is Lak Attack, who can still streak past defenders despite his advancing years.

Colonel said the longer games to 20 goals that are a hallmark of the Stick could work against his speedy side.

“It wears on people,” said Colonel.

Doo admitted it was hard for his side to maintain their pace for the full game.

“Honestly, as the game wore on we got tired,” said the young centreman. “That’s something we’re definitely going to have to watch for next week.”

Posted by jaysuburb at 11:15 PM | Comments (4)