Having fun with hockey and beer: Men’s rec leagues give players a chance to vent their weekly frustr
In reality, it’s a lot like rugby on ice.
Oh, the men who play in the weekly adult men’s recreational hockey league at Glacier Ice Arena enjoy their night (or two) a week on the ice.
It gives them a chance to vent their weekly frustrations (all within the confines of the rule book, of course) and gives them an exercise outlet for the winter.
For a lot of them, however, it’s that male-bonding experience that brings them out.
It is, really, a beer league.
“It gives us a chance to get out some aggressions,” said Damon Jones (AKA Big D) of the Kegerators (in true beer-league mode).
The Kegerators are one of four teams in Glacier Ice Arena’s adult recreational, or ‘C’, league.
The four teams have been playing against each other for the four seasons the league has been in existence. Their weekly matchups are more along the lines of friendly rivalries.
“This is a really tight league,” said Jones’ teammate, Sean Harlow.
Save the competitive hockey and the hard checking for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ men’s leagues.
In the spirit of rugby, the opposing teams usually meet at a local establishment after the game to share beverages and, as Jones said, “talk about how good we were.”
Jones and Harlow took up recreational hockey when they were both living in Durango a dozen years ago.
“I’d played hockey in my backyard in Ontario and then (in boarding school) in Michigan,” Harlow said, but the college he attended in Michigan didn’t offer hockey.
“I didn’t even know how to skate,” Jones said before Harlow convinced him (once again, with the influence of some adult beverages) to try the sport.
The Kegerators have been the recreational league champions during each of the local league’s previous three seasons. They haven’t been asked, however, to move up to one of the more competitive leagues.
“We’ve got age on our side so we’re not going to get any better,” Harlow said of rosters sprinkled with 40- and even 50-year-olds.
Each team plays 12 league games.
In an effort to speed up play this season, the league has adopted a running 20-minute clock for the first two periods of each game, with the third period consisting of a 15-minute clock with normal stoppage.
Jones and Harlow both agree hockey helps keep them in shape.
“It’s a workout,” Jones said.
“I’ve played soccer (and) lacrosse and this is the hardest,” Harlow said.
The game can take its toll. Jones has broken a hand, a finger, an ankle and a collar bone in his three years in the league.
Fortunately, he said, “I heal.”
And he doesn’t hold grudges.
“It’s fun,” Jones said of why he returns week after week.
That and the postgame celebrations.