Little by little and with each passing month, street hockey is becoming an integral part of the sports fabric in LaGrange.
Four years ago the La-Grange Street Hockey League was born, thanks to Glenn Cunningham and Brett Miolen. These two Massachusetts transplants and Boston Bruin fans have done LaGrange a favor.
The local league is still picking up players and some notoriety. Sunday afternoon is becoming a hockey ritual at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center. The street hockey adults and teenagers play every Sunday for three hours from 2 p.m. until 5 o’clock.
That consists of six periods of play and two matches. The games have everything that ice hockey has except a frigid playing surface. The recreation center does have a hockey rink and no less than 12 to 15 players on most Sundays.
Cunningham was back at the home base for the LaGrange Street Hockey League last weekend. He unloaded his equipment out of the back of his car – the knee pads, the sticks and the helmets.
It is all a part of hockey Sundays at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center.
“Once you do this it’s like an addiction. It is a lot of fun, and it’s camaraderie. Some of them are actually pretty good players. We are working on our skills. You have to play with your head up,” said Cunningham.
Most of the players in this LaGrange hockey league are beginners. For the players with some street hockey experience, they are coaches on the imaginary ice.
Paul Bono has some hockey experience, 25 years of it.
“I’m from Massachusetts, and I used to play hockey for Boston University (the club team),” said Bono. “We’re begging for an ice rink (in LaGrange).”
But until that happens – if it does – Bono and his fellow hockey players are willing to settle for street hockey on Sundays. This is a growing local trend and a game of passion.
“This is flat out fun. We’re building relationships. The game requires (lots of) speed. Hockey is the greatest sport there is. I like the competition, the exercise and the fun,” said Bono.
He definitely likes the after effects, too, such as the ones that he got last Sunday afternoon. Of course, that came in between gut-splitting laughs. “I feel pretty exhilarated, but I do need a shower real bad. I’m just having fun with the guys. This beats watching television,” said Bono.
That is a hockey fact.