Cicero and Geneva, New York
Saturday, January 10th - Sunday, January 11th
I'm pretty sure in all of our hockey travels, this weekend will probably go down as one of the most contentious ever, thanks moreso to our opponents not our teams play on the ice.
Our weekend started out with a drive up 81 to Cicero. The Southern Tier Storm had a game against the Syracuse IceHawks at the Twin Rinks, making this our second trip there in a month's time. Ironically travel wise, we drove out of the snow on our way north, something that usually doesn't happen! We are used to driving into the storms as we head towards Syracuse, but today the storm approached from the south and we were able to get ahead of it resulting in some clear, uneventful driving when we got north of Whitney Point.
Ah, the IceHawks. Over the past couple of seasons, these two teams have grown to not like each other very much. I was behind the bench for the first game earlier in the 08-09 season, and there was certainly a lot of smack talk from both sides going on. Of course, it's hockey, so it's to be expected - or at least that's my point of view (but, apparently not the IceHawks coach, as I'll point out in a bit).
The game was a bit lop sided from the get go, and we found ourselves behind the eight ball after a strong first period by the IceHawks. As the game wore on, the jawing increased and the IceHawks did their best to run the score up - a very classless move in my book, but I guess you have to consider the source. When the final buzzer rang, the IceHawks skated away with a 9-1 win. The classlessness (is that a word? It is now I guess - and it fits here) by the IceHawks continued though in the hand shake line when one of their players (#8) slammed her shoulder into one of our players. Cooler heads prevailed (with a bit of intervention by the ref and myself), and the teams skated off. After the game, the coach of the IceHawks approached me and said that he had his players hold back a bit - to which I replied "really, because I watched one of your players in the third period skate end to end and score even after you had a bit lead"; and then he said that some of his players were being yelled at by some of mine - I pointed out to him that there was some showboating going on by his team, that he couldn't blame my girls for being mad, and that one's opinion of events all depended on which bench you stood on - and then I walked away.
So, being that the bar at the Twin Rinks was closed for some reason, Jill and I left the rink and headed to the Knights Inn in Liverpool to check in. Michael had a game on Sunday in Geneva, and it didn't make much sense to drive all the way back to Binghamton, only to drive all the way back up to Geneva early the next morning. The Knights Inn was our choice of somewhere to crash out in Syracuse, as it usually is. After getting set there, we set off to find a snack and beer before going to the SU Men's hockey game.
We ended up at the Varsity, and grabbed a couple of slices of pizza and a couple of Labatt Blue Lights (which they have on tap there! Something to remember!). Afterwards, we slipped and slid (the snow storm caught up to us at this point!) up to the Tennity Ice Rink for the SU Men's Club Hockey game against the SUNY Canton Kangaroos (lots of kangaroos in Canton I guess).
The game was pretty good, better than we thought it would be I guess, but Tennity was pretty much the same as any other youth rink we've been to/played in, we didn't have a vested interest in the teams on the ice, and the student section kept getting bigger and bigger, impeding our ability to see one end of the ice. All those factors, plus the fact that we were hungry for a good dinner, led us to leave at the end of the second period (I'd put up a box score or at least the final score, but none of the sites are updated at this point).
With all of the dining options in Syracuse, it was kind of difficult for us to figure out where we wanted to go. The parking situation (or lack thereof) in Armory Square quickly made our minds up for us though, and we ended up at The Mission, definitely one of our favorite restaurants in the Syracuse area. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and crashed out for the night.
We awoke on Sunday morning to find about 4-5 inches of snow had fallen overnight. Not surprising for Central New York I guess. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the motel before hitting the thruway and heading to Geneva.
Arriving in Geneva, the first thing we noticed about the Geneva Recreation Complex was that they finally spent some money and enclosed it! This is a rink that not only has youth hockey, but is also home to the Hobart Statesmen, an NCAA Division III program, and up until 2007 the rink was 'open', as in no sidewalls! We were here a few times in seasons past, and the wind whipping off of the lake and through the rink was unbearable at times.
Mike got the start in this game, and played until sometime in the second period. It was a hard fought game, with the Geneva team coming at our kids with a physical game from first puck drop to last buzzer. One of the Geneva fathers even said to one of our dad's before the game "Our parents are really pumped up for this game! We really want to take you guys out!" (or something to that effect). This was quite evident in their 'style' of play - taking on and taking out our smaller players (including a vicious hit from behind), but shying away from our bigger players. More classless hockey in my book. If you've got the guts to go out and play like that, taking cheap shots and all, you should have the guts to go after all of the players no matter the size. I'd respect a team a lot more if they went nose to nose with our bigger players, but this was not a team to respect.
Throughout the game, four fathers from Geneva also positioned themselves on a walkway above the benches and spent the entire game yelling down at our bench and the refs. More classless acts.
As the game ended, a scrum occurred in the far corner on our end. As the players skated away, one player from Geneva slashed one of our smaller players (surprise, surprise) three times, the third hit across his ankle which dropped him to the ice. He had to be helped off by one of the coach's, and we thought for sure it was broken.
The handshake line took place after this, and I'm sure the referee in retrospect would have liked to have just gotten the teams off of the ice without further incident - but he didn't. The kids went through the line without incident, but as they were skating off of the ice (both teams at the same time going to the same exit - BAD IDEA REF!), the same kid that had slashed our player skated up to Michael and another Sens player and unprovoked slashed both of our players - Mike across the pads and the other player across the chest. A pile ensued, punches were thrown by the kids (somehow Mike got our of it, with the bigger players on our team sticking up for him!), and next thing you know the four fathers that were in there perch were on the ice, putting their hands on not only their kids, but ours - how is this even close to being acceptable?? The refs and coaches were able to pull everyone apart and the teams headed off to their respective locker rooms.
Everyone was pretty keyed up after all of this to say the least, but I missed most of what was going on in the lobby. Mikie and I were in the Sens locker room splinting up our players ankle so he could make the drive back to Binghamton. Having had enough of Geneva and the horrible sports they are, we loaded up in the car and got the hell out.
We stopped at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Auburn on our way through before heading back to Binghamton.