by Jay Suburb
On the eve of Sunday Morning Road Hockey's 12th training
camp, one of the game's original founding fathers is wondering whether
he'll be there.
Notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, says his off-season
has been one of contemplation, including his future in the game he's
"It's definitely been something that's been on my
mind," says Wink, who, along with the Living Legend, is one of
the game's last remaining players from its formative season at the old
tennis courts. "I know I can't play road hockey forever."
The veteran roadster says the bitter aftertaste of defeat
in last Spring's Stanley Stick Championship still lingers.
"I think if I ran into Paul One in the street, I'd
run him over in my car."
But mostly, he says he misses the camaraderie and rivalry
of the players he came up with, many of them now retired.
"A lot of the guys that I started out with, and looked
forward to seeing every week, are gone, the Henchmans and the Hollywoods,"
says Wink. "Part of the fun of road hockey is getting together
with that group of guys that you wouldn't normally see, and I don't
know if there's guys now that I'd miss if I didn't come."
In recent seasons the league has lost a number of its
veteran players to family commitments, work conflicts and various unsanctioned
sports, beginning with the shocking retirement two years ago of Sunday
Morning's most colorful and enigmatic personality, goaltending stalwart
Wawrow. He left to pursue professional opportunities in another city.
Since then, other longtime players Sniper Dave, Lumberjack, Sexboy,
Hollywood and the Whirling Dervish have also retreated to the sidelines.
Veteran slapshooter, Guy Called Mike, is doubtful for the new campaign
after missing the last three months of last season with injuries and
family commitments. And senior shotstopper, Lobsterboy, has already
announced he'll be unavailable for much of the new season's first few
But despite the demise of much of the game's core group
of veterans, last season was one of Sunday Morning's most successful,
as a new generation of fit and skillful rookies embraced the evil orange
With rookie roadsters like Billy Idol, Elvis, Beetle Boy,
Ottoman and Pig Farming Goalie proving their commitment, playing in
all kinds of weather, the league has never been healthier. And that's
opened the door to his possible exit, says Wink.
"I don't think there's any untouchables. I think
part of the fascination with road hockey, and one of the reasons it's
worked so well over the years, is because everyone is equal."
Wink says he won't make a firm decision on starting his
12th season until his alarm clock goes off Sunday morning.
"You sorta look at your other options for Sunday
morning," says the veteran defender. "I'm taking a wait-and-see
approach. I'll wait and see how I feel, wait and see what time I get
up Sunday morning."