Blades and beers


By Joe Cardello
The Essex Reporter

Teams from all around the northeastern region of the United States and few Canadian entrees battled freezing temperature and each other for glory over the weekend at the fourth annual four-on-four Malletts Bay Pond Hockey Classic. This year six leagues and 10 rinks divided the players for the three-day event that gives hockey aficionados the opportunity to carve up natural terrain, drink frosty beers and showcase their stick and puck skills.

Six Colchester teams and a group from Jericho were part of the action. Wasted Talent – a team from Colchester – made their way to the playoffs, but was ousted by a team from Boston called The Reggie Dunlops, 3-6.

Joe Schmitt and Sam Martin of Jericho's “La Machine” sprint up the ice. OLIVER PARINI PHOTOGRAPHY

Joe Schmitt and Sam Martin of Jericho’s “La Machine” sprint up the ice.

La Machine represented Jericho at the event; they went 2-2 for the weekend in the Open Division. Tim Brisbin, 40, of Jericho explained that as a member of La Machine last year they played in the 30 and older division, but decided to play with a younger crowd in 2015.

“It’s just great camaraderie,” said Brisbin. “It’s great to get out and play on the pond and it brings back memories. It’s a good time and a chance to hangout and drink some beers.”

Brisbin’s brother Jeff, who now lives in Delaware, and his friend Joe from California made the trek to Vermont to get their chance to skate on the lake and create new memories on and off the ice.

“It was unbelievably cold,” Brisbin said. “And we were all wearing hoodies. So we were obviously not dressed for the weather, but we managed to get our first little victory.”

La Machine took their first game of the tournament 5-3 over the Massachusetts based Docksiders.

Some teams were not so lucky like the Bayside Bombers from Colchester. They may not have been the best team on the ice, but they certainly didn’t let that keep them from having fun.

“Although my team went 0-4 and it was negative 4 degrees on the first morning, and we had a blast,” said Bayside Bomber Brad Dousevicz, 38.

He reminisced about the weekend losses and all.

“On Friday at 8 a.m. temps were sub zero and we started the game off strong,” Dousevicz continued. “One of our players even scored the first goal of the game. I remembered thinking, ‘hey, we may have a shot at doing pretty well in this thing’… then the team proceeded to outscore us five to one. It was all downhill from there.

“It was great to be out there playing teams and meeting people from other parts of the country, even if we were sometimes 20 years older than our competitors,” said Dousevicz. “The tournament brings a lot of people and money to the area, which is critical this time of year.”

The overall environment of the weekend was carefree, which should be expected of an event sponsored by Labatt beer. After the first day of games, the players were encouraged to take part in a Burlington pub crawl beginning at Ake’s Place on Church Street. Decked out in Pond Hockey Classic beanies and their hockey jerseys players packed into the bars.

When asked if they planned on participating in next year’s competition Brisbin exclaimed that La Machine would 100 percent be back in the action. Dousevicz echoed — the Bayside Bombers would be representing Colchester once again in 2016.