Meet The Mighty Old Ducks

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So here’s a pretty amazing story. I am playing adult, organized, recreational ice hockey again after about a 14 year hiatus from when I dabbled in the sport while living in Chicago and (believe it or not) Charlotte, NC. I even scored my first goal of the season last week. (See video, below)

No, wait a minute. That story isn’t amazing at all.

What is amazing, is the roster of these maniacs who have been gracious enough to let me join their storied franchise. LOOK AT THEM AGES! My gawd, man, these guys are nuts!

ducks_roster_web_smjpg

What is absolutely the MOST amazing thing, is that three of the guys on the team started all of this 32 years ago.

They had never played ice hockey in their lives.

Never.

This is not Minnesota, or Massachusetts, or Upstate New York. This is Washington, D.C. we’re talking about. As a city, we play the sport. We have rinks. But nobody would call us a “hotbed” for the sport.

Team captain and founder Mark Becker, explained to me how this all came about….

In the fall of 1982 several of us independently of each other, signed up to play hockey in what was then called the National Novice Hockey League (NNHL). This was a league for guys like myself- we had an interest in playing but had little to no experience. In my case I had never been on skates before so I was as novice as it gets.

The league randomly put players together. I was placed on a team called the Pioneers (with a very intimidating covered wagon logo-see attached for team photo from year 2).

The front row of the photo shows Bob Glowinski,, Mark Arbesfeld and myself.

Pioneers83_web

Guys like Mike Levy, Scott Slesinger and Byron Battles were in the league but on different teams- I believe Mike and Scott played together on the Bears and Byron was on the Blazers.

David Zack was on another team called the Comets.

I got to know several of these guys as the league formed new teams for the summer league. A few of us played together on summer teams and we became friends.

After about 12-14 years in NNHL-(the league was forced to change names by the NHL- That’s how they became Hockey North America), we decided to form a new team in the Montgomery Men’s Hockey League.

That is when the Mighty Old Ducks were hatched. I think we have been together about 20-22 years.

It has truly come full circle as we have a second generation Duck playing for us.

I will say that I have made many lifelong friends- 4 of us go to the Frozen 4 college hockey tournament together every year. Half of the enjoyment of the games is getting to see the guys every week.

We have attended each other’s weddings, children’s Bar Mitzvah’s, parents funerals, etc.

I think we are somewhat unique in that we play a game that is more suited for younger guys, but like you said, we are still having too much damn fun doing it.

Here’s a recent magazine write up about the lads. Just great stuff. I would like to have ANY of my “guy group activities” last 32 years! My golf trip to Pinehurst is going on Year 13, which I am dutifully impressed that we’ve kept it all together. But shit, that’s golf! Lazy ass, drink your face off, fall out of the cart – GOLF!

Bethesda Magazine January 2013

Here’s to the Mighty Old Ducks. Great fellas, who are scrappier than hell out on the ice, and gracious enough to invite this traffic cone to join the roster as a rookie.

Now, here’s the damn goal.

PS: I would have GLADLY showed the video of me wiping out and cracking my skull on the ice just 30 seconds before I scored, but (I swear!) it turns out it happened just off camera. Don’t worry. There will be more wipeouts. I’ll get a few good ones on video before the season is out, or until I am on season ending injured reserve.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Awesome, Czabe! Reminds me of Bobby Nystrom off the stick of Johnnie Tonelli to win the Islanders first Cup against the Flyers in ’80. Where were you and what were you doing?

  2. I was under the impression you were right-handed. If you’re going to go all Gordie Howe ambidextrous on us, please be sure to upload the fights as well. 🙂 Congrats.

  3. That’s awesome Czabe. I went from no skating ability to a rec league at age 37. As much as we suck as oldsters its a pretty great accomplishment.

    Congrats on the goal!

  4. So awesome! Love to hear stories like this. Seems to happen more in hockey leagues than other rec. leagues. Congrats on the first goal. Nice snipe!

  5. I just have to say this. Maybe because I’m from the South, or just never have liked hockey (I’ve tried), but I’m tired of hearing about this. Not that Czabe is like any other sportscaster – hell, that’s why we all love him – but this amounts to someone else talking about their rec basketball team or rec softball team on air for useless minutes. Talk about puting more breadcrumbs in the crab cake. Please, for the love of the audience, enough hockey talk about old guys.

    • Eddie, don’t blame the south just because you’re a douche. You can always leave.

      Imagine the nerve, that a guy should spend hours outside his regular job writing a personal blog without any regard for some selfish oaf who hasn’t learned the good grace to accept what’s given for free.

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