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
Fans. We had fans. They ruled.
TBone, in action
The Goon Squad