All posts for the month February, 2014

Break out the black arm-bands.  Tomorrow nights game will be  played in honor of Paul Gilmartin Sr.  I only had the pleasure of meeting him once or twice, but it was clear he was one of the most well respected and liked people in Andover.    And it’s also obvious that he contributed more to the sport of hockey than most of us could ever dream of.

So tomorrow, when we’re done skating in one of the houses of hockey that he built, we’ll raise our beers, give him a Honey Badger Toast, and ask him to save us a spot upstairs.

Our condolences go out to all the Gilmartins.

Here’s a pic from the above mentioned toast to Paul Sr.

Thursday Feb 27th, 11pm – Locker Room #1 – Lawrence Valley Forum


From the Boston Globe:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gilmartin, Paul T., Sr. 71, a long time resident of Andover, MA and Naples, FL, passed away Tuesday, February 25th, 2014. Mr. Gilmartin was born in Malden, Massachusetts on January 7th, 1943, son of the late Thomas Gilmartin and Mary Elwood Gilmartin. Paul grew up in Stoneham, MA, attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and graduated from Malden Catholic High School in 1961 where he played both football & hockey. He was a member of the 1960 State Championship Hockey Team and captained the team in 1961. Paul continued his education at Merrimack College where he was a member of the varsity hockey team & graduated class of 1964. In 1986 Paul was the recipient of the prestigious J. Thomas Lawler award. Mr. Gilmartin began his business career with Huyck Corporation of Rensselaer, NY, and went on to Fife Corporation as a New England sales manager for 20 years. Paul was the founder and principal of Valley Associates in 1984 and GLS Partners in 1997, due to his passion for the game of hockey and in order to advance the opportunities for youth hockey players throughout New England. He enjoyed watching the players develop and go on to achieve success in their hockey careers. Paul was a well known member of the hockey community and will be remembered & missed by his many friends, players, coaches and referees. Tall and handsome he had a quiet presence always in his ubiquitous navy sweater, his blue eyes sparkling. Paul was a longstanding member of the Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover, MA, and the Vineyards Country Club in Naples, FL, where he enjoyed playing golf, especially the “Naples Cup”, a tradition he started and looked forward to each year. Paul was devoted to and entranced by his life’s partner Mary. He was always beaming as he let Mary, the more outgoing, perform her magic. At Valley Associates, son John partnered with his Dad. Later, Paul was thrilled to have Paul Jr. return from his successful career in finance to join them, forming a family business that was perfect for all. Mary & Paul enjoyed their many trips to Ct. & Nantucket for visits with Paul’s pride & joy, Marybeth. He also took great pleasure in watching his son John compete on the golf course. A true family man, Paul loved doting and spending time with his 5 grandchildren. Paul is survived by his wife of 48 years Mary Burns Gilmartin, his children, Marybeth Gilmartin Baugher, of Greenwich, CT and Nantucket, MA; Paul T. Gilmartin, Jr. and his wife Tanya, of South Hamilton, MA; John J. Gilmartin and his wife Holly, of Andover, MA; his grandchildren, William Matthew Baugher, Paul and Max Gilmartin and Emma and Lizzie Gilmartin. He is also survived by his brother, Thomas Gilmartin and his wife Muriel Gilmartin, of Greenfield, Ma; his sister, Joan Gilmartin Allen and her husband, Thomas of Marblehead, MA and many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend his Funeral Mass on Saturday, March 1st at 12:00 Noon in St. Augustine’s Church, Andover. Interment will follow in the West Parish Cemetery, Andover. Calling Hours will be held on Friday from 4 to 8 in the Conte Funeral Home, 28 Florence Street, ANDOVER. For those who wish, Paul may be remembered through donations to the Paul T. Gilmartin Memorial Fund To Benefit Deserving Youth Hockey Players, 7 Parkridge Road, Haverhill, MA. 01835. For funeral home directions or to sign the family guest book, please visit Conte Funeral Homes – See more at:

So last Saturday morning I walked into a hockey rink, (I’m not really sure which one because at this point of the season I’ve been to roughly a million different ones in the past 5 months, as have most of us, and does it really matter anyway?) and I see Kevin DeMichelis standing there talking to a fellow hockey parent.  Kevin is one of the squirt coaches for Tyler (and a damn good one, I must say) and as usual he’s smiling and talking enthusiastically about something.   You know, the same way he always seems to be.  But then I notice his left arm is being held at a right angle, and his hand is covered by a sleeve type thing that goes right up to the thumb and fingers.   Wait a minute.  He’s in a cast!  (I’m so quick)

I immediately got excited, because whenever you see someone in a cast, you know there’s a good story coming your way.  In a split second, I started thinking of how he might have broken his arm.  Maybe he saw a mini-van full of kids sliding out of control, and he jumped in front of it and did his best impression of Superman, saving the kids, but breaking his arm in the process.   Yeah, that could’ve happened.   That’s what went through my highly logical mind, in the first split second.

Then split second number two rolled around.  OMG, Kevin played for the Badgers on Thursday night!   Commish: “Dude, what happened.  Please don’t tell me this happened on Thursday night”.   KD: “It did”.  And he said it with the same smile you see on his face in the picture below.


He then proceeded to tell me the story about how it happened and how it was through no fault of his own (this statement put the HBHL attorneys minds at ease) and was a result of him playing at his typical 100% all-the-time, pace (truth be told, he plays at a minimum of 125% all the time, which is exactly why we love having him out with us).  The story goes something like this.  There were a couple of minutes left in the game and he was racing towards the boards for the puck.  He doesn’t remember if he got tripped up with the other player or not, so he wrote it off to the fact that when you skate head first into the boards at 47 mph, there is a distinct possibility that some part of your body will break when it meets the unmovable boards.   Later on, I learned who the other person was that he was racing against.  But kevin didn’t want to name him because he didn’t want him to feel responsible at all, so I won’t either.  Wait a minute.  Yes I will.  It was Callaway.  Nice going Aaron.

And so it’s official.  The HBHL has now elevated it’s injury reports to now include a broken bone.

I think Kevin goes into every hockey game with the Mr T mentality.  Get well soon Kev.

For the past week, everyone I’ve seen has asked me the same question.  “How’d the Pond Hockey Classic go?”   In a word, it was GREAT.    It really was.  But it’s impossible to answer the question with one word, so depending on how much time I had when I was asked the question, you got some percentage of the following words that are written here.

Most of the “Andover OB’s” drove up to the Northern Honey Badger Headquarters on Thursday night, arriving around 11pm.  This allowed for a solid two hours of refreshments while we discussed our game plan.    The game plan was pretty simple and mainly consisted of making sure we brought any necessary hockey equipment with us in the morning.   Gun Show displayed exemplary leadership qualities in this area by wearing his helmet for at least an hour during breakfast on Friday morning, but then showed up without his helmet.  (You can’t make this stuff up).   The other aspect of our game plan was to make sure we had enough liquid to keep us “hydrated”.   “Do we have enough beer?”  “Yes, I think so.  I put 60 in the cooler.”  “Do we need water?”   “Naa, I’m sure we can grab some there”.    Shockingly, this proved to be a DUMB move and on day two our cooler included at least 18 bottles of water.     By 8am, the Andover OB’s were ready to go and we just needed to connect with the MVP.  Phone rings: “EL Capitan, this is Steve”  “BOOOch!! Where are you?”  “I’m approaching Meredith and I’ve got a Coors light between my legs”  “Fantastic, come to the house and we’ll all go over together”.  hung up.   “Ok boys, the Andover OB’s will be together in about 15 minutes and one of us is already on his second Coors light.”   5 Budweiser’s were promptly cracked open, and the day had officially begun.  (Jack Butler: You wanna beer?      Ron Richardson: It’s 7 O’Clock in the morning.     Jack Butler:  Scotch?)

Upon arrival, we suited up, skated out to the rink and met our opponent, The Irish Choppers.  They looked like a bunch of old guys so we were pretty pumped about starting the game.  “You guys Doctors?  What’s OB’s stand for?”.    “Um, no we’re definitely not Doctors.  Hell, we didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night”   “What??”   “Never mind, let’s get this thing going, eh Gramps?”    What happened next was a blur.  They made tape to tape passes faster than I can shoot the puck.  They scored from 30 feet away, multiple times.  At first we thought they were lucky shots, but then it would happen again.  And again.   They scored from 20 feet away, 10 feet, 5 feet… you get the picture.   At half time the score was something like 11-1.  Not only did The Irish Choppers know we weren’t Doctors, they now also knew we weren’t Hockey Players.   MVP was quoted as saying “I kind of envisioned this being a fun/relaxing skate, but this is hard core”.   It must’ve been funny playing us because we were acting like it was a regular sheet of ice.  Four of us would try to make a breakout and they’d just steal the puck and pass it to the guy who was hanging back, and score.  Doctors?  No…  Hockey players?  Not good ones…  Dumb?  It depends what we’re talking about, but we were at least able to figure out how to play this Pond Hockey thing.  So we made adjustments, and guess what.  We WON the second half of the game.  That’s right, we scored more goals in the second half than they did.  And yes, we count that as a victory.  So I asked one of the guys if they all played D1 hockey and he assured me that not all of them had.  There were a couple who only played up to high school and then two who played D1, and one who played professional hockey in Amsterdam.

And from there our experience had begun.

The week before the tourney, Nate “Beamer” Beams had sent over an excerpt from the Herb Brookes speech, but we didn’t use it.   Instead I went with the speech used by Frank the Tank in Old School.   And although I said “The Speech didn’t work”, somehow it actually did.    The Andover OB’s got better in each game we played.  Our margin of defeat narrowed and we found some rhythm.   Overall we ended up “winning” two half’s (that’s out of 8 half’s of hockey played).   In our final game we were actually winning the game for a while but the MVP broke his skate blade (not just cracked, actually broke the front half of it right off) and TBone went down with a spinal cord injury (is there a Dr in the house?) that would have paralyzed a normal man.  You may have heard his warrior cry when he hit the ice.  The wolves who live in the surrounding Ossippee Mountain range did and they responded with cries of their own as if they could feel his pain.   (It was kind of cool)    On record, we lost all four games, but it didn’t seem to matter.   The PHC is a phenomenal event and Andover OB’s will be back next year.  Anyone else?


Btw, this is the new face of the PHC.


Out on the lake for a refreshment

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Fans.  We had fans.  They ruled.

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TBone, in action

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The Goon Squad