March 27, 2016

Lack of luxuries give game mystique

Even as Lak Attack’s stick blade delaminated to half its usual width, he kept firing shots with the rattling, flacid impliment in warmup.

Good thing he was playing net.

Not that his goalie equipment was in any better condition.

Haphazard gear that’s held together with thread and tape, sticks that are peeling and gloves and shoes full of holes are part of Sunday Morning Road Hockey tradition.

But what the game lacks in luxury, it compensates with character.

“There’s no pretence in Sunday Morning Road Hockey,” said Doo, who’s shaved many a blade to toothpick width over his long career with barely an effect on his offensive capabilities. “If you’ve got a stick that you can’t even see the blade, then you just play with it.”

Goalies are particularly skilled with tape and thread to keep their equipment functional, if not exactly stylish.

“You do your best,” said Lak Attack, who suited up for Sunday’s half-court game wearing a protective cup on its last thread, literally. “You put some string in, or a little bit of tape, and you’re good to go.”

His second-hand pads also left something to be desired; leg guards flapped loosely because of missing straps or buckles, the thick rolls didn’t mesh properly, leaving a gaping five hole as a target for eagle-eyed forwards.

“If you’re a shooter, you have the luxury of picking your spots,” said Doo.

“It’s challenging every week,” said Lak Attack, who recovered from some early miscues Sunday to shut out one side through the game’s second half. “Somehow you have to perform above what you’re really capable of given the gear.”

Doo said broken down goalie gear is part of the game’s mystique.

“The goalies play with whatever they have, it’s part of the experience.”

That tradition of resilience was forged in Sunday Morning’s earliest days, when legendary Goaltending Stalwart Wawrow faced down some of his era’s fiercest shooters without the protection of heavy leg pads or even a mask for much of his career. That formative era was followed by Couch, who fashioned his leg pads from thick pieces of furniture foam.

“It adds character to the game,” said Lak Attack. “It wasn’t built from equipment, it was built from the players who played, and we continue that tradition.”

“We don’t have many luxuries out here,” said Doo. “There’s kind of a shared bond because nobody shows up with shiny new equipment.”

Posted by jaysuburb at March 27, 2016 08:27 PM

I am bound to goaltending duties.

Posted by: lakattack at April 2, 2016 08:11 PM

I am fat and tired.

Posted by: Wink at April 2, 2016 04:03 PM

I am out sick. Word is Bam will be back though.

Posted by: Doo at April 2, 2016 11:43 AM

Awesome road hockey day coming up this Sunday! See you all of the courts!

Posted by: The Colonel at April 1, 2016 07:30 PM