I was sure I was done last year after coaching the ABA Men's National Team to a three games to two victory over the Canadian National Team in the North American Super Series, impossible to top that I told myself!
Then the opportunity came up to bring a team to the ABA Nationals at Notre Dame University with many of my long-time friends and teammates from the Barrie's Tavern era. Fortune smiled on us, and playing with a team sporting an average age of fifty, we were blessed once again with a National Championship.
In September I tempted fate again in my home away from home, and we got a walk off win in Las Vegas at The Sin City Showdown.
This past weekend we did it one last time, winning the Riverside Classic 4-3 over C&L Excavating, despite losing 35% of the roster 48 hours before the tournament started. That my friends was the Grand Finale! I am most definitely stepping away from organizing teams, and coaching for good (the effective days of playing were done long ago!).
I would like to take this chance to say thanks to the many teammates over the years who have made this sport so incredibly enjoyable for me, as well as all the competitors who made the games so very memorable.
To my Dad and his buddies, who brought me in as an 7th grader in 1978 (even though they made me play goalie!) - Thanks for teaching me the game!
To my Richfield High School Buddies from 1980-84. From Fire and Ice Champs, to Minneapolis City Champs at Parade, we thought we were the big-time, and had so much fun! Aqua-City and Met Pro Shop!
1985-91 with Ventco, growing up and realizing what it took to play this game at the highest level. You guys were awesome, and the Four Horsemen ruled, zoom!
1992-2000 Hansen Sports, America's most wanted outlaws, and for my money the greatest offense ever assembled on a broomball rink. Organzied chaos on every roadtrip, and so many incredible memories.
2001-2008 USA Blue - Hated rivals merge into best friends, what a gift that team was! Unbelivable international and domestic success. Gold Brooms, Can-Am's, North Americans, National Championships, just incredible!
Then out of nowhere (after I thought I had already reached the end at age 46 in 2011) an invite for several of us Minnesota lads to join Barrie's Tavern out of Syracuse NY to play in a tournament Charlotte NC. Bam! Instant chemistry with Barrie's Boss Richie Chiariza, and one last dynamic, 12 year on and off run. The Barrie's Tavern/Barrie's North America/SunDevils/Barrie's Legends era was simply amazing to be a part of. Thanks for all you did for every single guy that pulled on one of your many different Barrie's sweaters Mr. Chiariza!
It takes a ton of time and dedication to keep a succesful team going. It is awesome to see former teammates and fellow Spartans Dave Carroll and John Jaunty start their own teams and keep them going strong tourney after tourney. Tony Sikich and his core group at Kelly Lake have been a powerhouse over the last five years. Brian Letourneau is relentless with his organization skills, managing to keep C&L a top team in the nation. Zach Tebow of the Blizzard is bringing a young team along to the upper ranks beautifully. Brett Schneider from C+ and Matt Street of Legion BC have done incredible things with talent from outside Minnesota, and have earned much respect nationwide in doing so.
We need more strong leaders like these to keep this great sport alive!
I still have a few years left running the AEB Tourney Tour, and helping administer the American Broomball Alliance, but as an on ice competitor, coach, or team organizer, #9 has just signed out!