This weekend, I attended my first View Askew Street Hockey League (here fore known as VASHL) event in New Jersey. A little background, the VASHL began when Kevin Smith decided to attend the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in Brantford, Ontario, Canada back in 2009. A bunch of people from the board created teams and went to compete and have returned every year since.
Being that I was stationed in Italy, I wasn’t able to attend any of the Brantford tournaments. Close to a year before this event, I was (unknowingly) drafted to be a part of the View Askew Girls (or more lovingly known as the VAG). On the VA board, we do a gift exchange every year for the holidays and my Santa last year (Talos) got my VAG jersey for me. On the morning before it showed up, I received a Private Message from Katie, Captain of the VAG, asking me if I wanted to be a part of the team. Best Present Ever.
Fast forward to about a year later, everyone else went to Brantford during the first weekend of June and it was decided that waiting another year for hockey was just a ridiculous idea. So our VASHL Commissioner, Darryl, started getting together a charity tournament to support both The Wayne Foundation and RAINN.
After my wonderful experience back in July and my wanting to get to hockey for a long time, coming up for this tournament was a given. The only drawback for me was never playing hockey before and really not having any idea what to expect on the rink.
I’m on vacation for 2 weeks. While I am travelling around, my sister in law and nieces are visiting their family in Pennsylvania. So I drove with them as far as Maryland and rode to New Jersey with Gavin and Nikki. We got there and I met up with my roommates, and we all headed out for dinner since there were so few of us in town.
Friday was pretty awesome. We went to eat brunch at Broadway Diner then headed to the Jay and Silent Bob Secret Stash. I got a really awesome deal on the full run of Ultimate X-men in Trade Paperback and X-men: Age of Apocalypse from Mike before heading for the Quick Stop.
Most of everyone else had arrived during the day while we were out. Everyone just grabbed whatever for dinner and we headed out for karaoke. The place ended up being the worst dive bar that most of us have ever seen, but we had a good time doing some karaoke. Yours truly sang “18 and Life” by Skid Row.
Saturday was Day 1 of hockey, and this first time that I would ever step on the rink. Needless to say, I was nervous. The team that I was on was going up against pretty much the entirety of the View Askew Vulgarians (Paul, Darryl, moTT, ArtistJim, Mike M, Keith and a few others) for the first game.
For most of the first day, I just played defense so I could get a feel for it all. The first two games were played via the rosters that Darryl had made prior to us getting there, then on the third one we all put our sticks in the middle and did teams that way. I basically ended up with the Vulgarians, which was awesome. ArtistJim was in the goal and was coaching me for pretty much the duration of both days (even when he was on the opposite team).
It was a blast. We wrapped up around 5 on Saturday so that everyone could go back to the hotel to shower and get ready for Tell Em Steve-Dave! and Jay & Silent Bob Get Old live at the Count Basie. This was the first time that I saw Kevin and Jay in person and was my first ever live show for anything SModCo wise. So besides popping my hockey cherry, I got to pop that one too.
The show was great. TESD was fantastic as always. They had puppets that were made of each of them and it was just a good time. Kevin and Jay were also excellent, and at the end they do a feature called “Let Us Act!” to which they brought Gavin onstage because it was his birthday.
After the show, we all headed to the Dublin House for drinks and food. It was a good time. Got to chat with everyone and catch up with Brian Quinn of Tell Em Steve-Dave!
We all headed back for our hotel after a bit because we had another day of hockey to go. I woke up on Sunday and had to do the Robot to get out of bed. I was so sore that I could hardly move. Took some Motrin and a hot shower just to get mobile, but was good to go once we got to the rink and I was able to stretch out.
We first did a game of the Vulgarians vs. everyone else. Then we played USA vs. Canada, and USA won! After that, we played 37 & older vs. everyone else. I played in all 3 games and mostly played offense. It was fantastic.
I surprised the hell out of myself. I figured I was going to go out on the rink and just be terrible at hockey, but I got the hang of it pretty quick. Quite a number of people told me that I did a great job, but I think the best compliment came from Ming who said that I had impressed a lot of people over the weekend when I put my heart into the game and didn’t stop for one minute.
The greatest thing about VASHL is just the kindred feeling and everyone being so encouraging. I walked in there not knowing exactly what to expect. I walked out with a couple more friends and head over heels for street hockey. So when’s the next tourney? I am so ready.