Great Moments Making Great Memories
As we are now past the half way point of this year’s Nationals, it’s amazing to think how great things have gone so far. Every tournament has its ups and downs and little things that can go haywire but to this point our second time around in Taylor, MI has given us very few of those situations. This all comes before we even mention how unbelievable the games have gone to this point.
For me this is my second experience working a National event with Aston, PA last year being my first time. Last year broadcasting and running the media side of things for the tournament brought me great joy and left me wondering if this year could get any better. Well, It has and this event has been unbelievable to cover by doing the things I’m so passionate about. I get a great view of all the action in my broadcast booth and whichever area in the rink I find to film games for my highlight reel videos. With that, here are some of my favorite moments of the Tournament so far on and off the rink.
Bordercats Upset the Top Seeded Alkali RPD in the Pro Playoffs
The RPD roster was stacked with big names players such as Travis Noe, Pat Lee, the Kettler brothers, Kyle Novak, Tyler Spezia and many more, Zack Lane between the pipes and Team USA Head Coach, Joe Cook, behind the bench. On top of that they were 4-0 in round robin play and one of those wins a mercy 8-0 victory over the Bordercats.
Before the Quarterfinals of the Pro playoffs started no one in the building, including myself, gave the Detroit Bordercats any chance as the eight seed to knock off the top seeded Alkali RPD even with the game held in their hometown. The Bordercats were determined to prove everyone wrong and pull off the huge upset. They came out of the gate strong and even took a 1-0 lead on a nice powerplay goal. Just when it looked like they were going to take the advantage into the second period, Travis Noe put a shot of the crossbar and in to tie the game at one as the game headed to halftime.
The second period would come and go with no goals scored on the shoulders of unbelievable play from Bordercat goalie Jason Stross. Stross put the Bordercats on his back making remarkable save after remarkable save in the final period of regulation. RPD goalie, Zack Lane, also had his fair share of amazing saves as the two goaltenders sent the game to overtime still tied at one.
Once again the goalies put on a show in overtime with each of them making saves that made myself and my two broadcasting partners for the game, John Gelement and George Brown, speechless. If you want to see these saves check out the Day Four Highlights by CLICKING HERE. Right after one of the best saves you will see by Lane going into the full splits, Dustin Hopfner picked up the loose puck, made a nasty toe drag on a defender then slide the puck along the floor into the net. The goal sent the Bordercat bench into a frenzy and left the building silent and in shock.
This is to take nothing away from the Bordercats and their great players. Just looking at the results from the tournament to that point and their head-to-head meeting earlier left everyone ready to just give RPD an easy win. The Bordercats went from nearly being in the lottery drawing to defeating the top team in the division. All in all, it became one of the most fun games I have ever broadcasted, ice or roller. This includes games from all levels of junior hockey all the way up to the AHL.
Charley Yoder’s Hall of Fame Speech
Over the last year since joining TORHS 2Hot 4Ice, I have had the great pleasure to meet Charley Yoder. Although I do not know Charley very well yet personally, the stories I have heard from everyone while producing his Hall of Fame video and people mentioning him in general has given me the upmost respect for Mr. Yoder. We all expected his ceremony to be emotional and our preconceived notions were right on.
After two great speeches by his two sons, C.J. and Jami, which were just phenomenal, it was Charley’s turn at the podium. After putting on his fancy brand new Hall of Fame Jacket, Charley began his speech with everyone in great anticipation. It was a truly remarkable speech with Charley thanking everyone he could, being as humble as possible and cracking some hilarious jokes that had everyone, friends of his or not laughing. The part that got to me the most was in closing when Charley, who was in tears said “Remember, have fun and respect the game."
It was a simple comment but it hit my emotions hard. It showed what Charley truly cares about in all he does for the sport with such an unpretentious statement. Charley does what he does for the love of the game and simply wants the players he coaches and teaches to respect the sport and do things the right way. I think that got to me so much because of how immensely I love the game of hockey which has given me everything I have in life and made me who I am. I hope to one day make half as much of an impact on the sport that so deeply envelops me as Charley has. CLICK HERE to listen to his speech in its entirety.
Pro Series Final
For me the highlight of every roller hockey event I attend is the Pro Championship. No one is a bigger hockey fan than I am and being able to watch the best roller hockey players in the world, let alone broadcast them, gives me great pleasure. This year’s final featured the Mission Labeda Snipers and Alkali Assault. Both team’s had star-studded lineups, which made it really fun to watch and brought me great joy to broadcast.
It was a closely contested well played game, which made it heavily entertaining. Rising star, Shane Fox, sniped home the eventual game-winning goal on a beautiful setup from Nathan Sigmond. The Snipers held on to a minuscule 3-2 lead, even with a furious late push by the Assault to give themselves the victory and the $12,000 dollar grand prize. CLICK HERE to see the full highlights from this game.
Well, there you have it, just a few of the great moments that have occurred so far at this year’s nationals. To think it’s only half way done is crazy. We still have five more days of great games to play and memories to make. If the last five days go anything like the first five we are in for an absolute treat.