I wanted to take a step outside of the normal #CBJ chatter to share a story from my local adult league hockey game from last night:
My team, B-Dubs Hockey Club, faced off against another team, The Lucky Pucks, at the Chiller North last night at 10:40pm. Yes, 10:40pm. The weather forecast for last night was looking pretty bleak earlier in the day so I was expecting a rough drive in. I was surprised to see the roads were fine and I was able to make it to the rink without any problems. The combination of the late start and the weather forecast had me wondering how many people on our team would be out. I was one of the last to arrive at the rink for my team and was happy to see that we had a full roster on hand. A full roster for us means 3 full lines of forwards and defensemen, or 15 total skaters. In fact we even had an extra sub on hand just in case anyone got hurt so we had 16 skaters.
The Lucky Pucks? They were not so fortunate. As we were waiting for the Zamboni to finish cleaning the ice we noticed there were only a handful of skaters on the other team waiting by the door. Right before puck dropped I checked their bench and confirmed that they had a total of 6 skaters dressed. That’s 5 on the ice and one on the bench.
A CAHL (Chiller Adult Hockey League) game consists of three 12 minute periods. We scored our first goal just 30 seconds into the game and by the end of the first period the score was 5-0. We changed strategies after the first period, moving some offense to defense and some defense to offense. We self imposed a “minimum of two passes before shooting” every time we entered the zone. They were already tired and we weren’t about to run up the score even more by having our top scorers scoring on breakaways. We would end up coring 2 more goals in the 2nd period making it 7-0.
With the score already 7-0 to start the 3rd period we asked the ref if they wanted to switch to a running clock (meaning the clock doesn’t stop with the whistle). The Lucky Pucks were clearly exhausted by this point and we figured everyone just wanted the game to be over. Unfortunately, it seemed, the refs didn’t hear our pleas and kept a normal clock. Despite being exhausted The Lucky Pucks fought on. We would end up scoring 4 more goals in the 3rd period (including goals by a player playing in his first game and another scoring their first goal in 28 games).
The final score was 11-0. Had the game not ended at close to midnight we were going to invite them out for beers after because they’d definitely earned it.
Fast forward to today where we found out today that one of our players (who wasn’t at the game) happens to work with one of the refs that called the game. When asked about the running clock:
…he said he continually asked the other team if they wanted a running clock and the “two oldest guys hes ever seen playing” said no, they want to get their money’s worth.
So, here was a team with 5 skaters and 1 sub, down 11-0 with 5 minutes left in the 3rd period and when asked if they wanted to take an easy way out they flat out said no way, they paid to play 36 minutes, they were going to get their 36 minutes.
There is a sign hanging up near (or in) the Columbus Blue Jackets locker room that says “60 minutes. No excuses. No regrets.” These guys were the living embodiment of that mantra. The Blue Jackets played a much better game on Saturday than they have all season. It remains to be seen if they can do so on a consistent basis (but I do have my hopes up). If they’re looking for inspiration I know of 6 guys and a goalie on an adult league team here in Columbus that could probably show them a thing or two.