March 29, 2019

Curtain falls on difficult season

Sunday will be the last official game of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s 27th season. The Stanley Stick will not be contested.

In making the announcement, the venerable league’s defacto commissioner, Living Legend, refused to speculate on its future. He said players can carry on with games through the spring if they're so inclined.

Legend said the lack of a consistent turnout has taken a toll on roadsters ready to play, resulting in further erosion of turnout. The league has yet to play a full game, with three players a side plus goalies and substitutes, 17 weeks into the season.

Several games were also lost to icy conditions, a reprise of the 2016-17 campaign when a series of winter storms resulted in the cancellation of nine games and a temporary move to a new facility.

While several lapsed roadsters renewed their acquaintance with the game this season, one-off appearances by Pig Farming Goalie, Elvis, Cleveland, Beckenbauer, and a return to the weekly lineup of Whirling Dervish, weren’t enough to achieve the critical mass needed to sustain competitive matches. Nor could they overcome the demise or defections of established veterans like Scooby, Doo, Bam Bam, Ohio, Twizzler and Colonel.

This will be the second straight season the Stanley Stick, the game’s most coveted trophy, will go unclaimed after last year’s championship series collapsed in disarray when Joker walked out of his goal crease and off the court to protest a pair of violent encounters.

Legend admitted last season’s unsatisfying conclusion left a sour taste in many roadsters that may have contributed to their waning enthusiasm. Others shifted their loyalties to alternate games closer to home or at more convenient times as familial commitments took root.

But there were some encouraging signs, Legend said. The league’s ongoing goalie crisis eased with the establishment of a solid core of roadsters ready and willing to strap on the big leg pads every week. And the players who did show up consistently exhibited creativity and resilience in concocting adaptations that allowed for competitive games and spirited workouts.

That’s why Legend said he remains hopeful a 28th season can be convened early next fall.

“Clearly a lot of players still love the game, and the culture we’ve created through the years,” he said. “We have to figure out how to turn that passion into actually playing games again.”

Some ideas suggested by various roadsters to reignite the league include better lines of communication through social media challenges, more vigorous recruitment of new players and a move to a new venue.

The latter may be necessitated if the centre court that has been the roadsters’ home base for the past 25 years continues to be missing one net, which was removed midway through this season for repairs and has yet to be reinstalled. That’s meant the weekly game has had to shift in recent weeks to the unfamiliar environs of the court next door, with its awkward entry gates and enduring shade that contributed to its month-long ice age through February and into early March.

An online recruitment drive yielded some promising inquiries, but they never converted to new players. And the league’s existing social media channels have been largely ignored by roadsters since they were established several years ago.

The midsummer scrimmage in August is expected to be a call to arms to test the desire of the roadsters to carry on.

Posted by jaysuburb at March 29, 2019 07:27 PM

The good news Kid, you've got the off-season to heal up that back. We'll convene a midsummer scrimmage in August to gauge interest and go forward from there. Have a good spring/summer!

Posted by: Living Legend at March 31, 2019 07:02 PM

I am unable to play because of an injured back.

Truly disappointing that this has happened to this great league.

Posted by: Kid at March 31, 2019 09:51 AM

sorry big d and i are out this wk
see you next week

Posted by: Nouvelle at March 30, 2019 09:08 PM