The Traditions Continues: EHS Floor Hockey

Kristyl Kelly, College Counselor

The air changes, there is a certain feel to a day and we know that it is almost time.

At Eagle Hill School, that moment typically happens in early March when the sound of swooshing nets gives way to the sound of slashing sticks. If you asked the majority of the faculty on campus when it all began you will get the response, “I don’t know…it was here when I started.” For the 20+ year staff members, you can watch them turn back the years, trying to pinpoint the moment it happened like a “where were you when…” question.

More than 20 years, less than 25 years is the typical answer from our Eagle Hill veterans. From what I can dig up, the Floor Hockey tournament actually started around 1993 when Ron Baglio and Jim Thompson were residential counselors looking to liven things up a bit. Little did they know that in 2020 we would still be creating team jerseys and there would be teams that existed with faculty who have played for over a decade.

Student Council absorbed the traditional event in 2006, making 2020 our 14th anniversary. Over those years of sweat, laughter and bruises, 30+ of our current faculty have grabbed a stick and jumped into the game. Stories of Bill Aldrich and Andrew Ward battling it out back in the day were told more than once. Mike Foley, Will Gelinas, Tyler Blais have all played 7+ years, Jenna Hubacz and Ian Kelly put in 9+ years, Andrew Moreland has been out there for 10+ years and Micheal Riendeau and Kristyl Kelly have been running around for 13+ years. Andrew Moreland, Will Gelinas and Tyler Blais have played in the tournament every year they have worked at Eagle Hill. One memory that was shared recently sums it up nicely.

“As a new faculty member, I was walking into the gym and saw Vinny Nastasi dressed in goalie gear. He was standing in net and pulling down a fencing mask over his face. It still plays in my mind slow motion as I remember thinking “What did I get myself into?”

Over the course of the Floor Hockey tournament, over a 1,000 students and 75 staff have tied up their sneakers, signed a roster and looked forward to this one week. “Everyone, not just regular hockey players, are hockey players for a week,” best summed up by faculty member Tyler Blais. That has always been the appeal of it. It is a time during the year when you can come face to face with your favorite faculty member and smirk as you maneuver around them. Based on the jerseys that are hung on walls and the trophies sitting on book shelves, the Floor Hockey Tournament is part of the EHS thread that ties us all together even after 26+ years.

This year, in 2020, the Floor Hockey Tournament remains strong, with 109 roster signatures, 19 teams created, 4 days of regular season play, 1 day of playoffs, and a championship game. May the best team win!

Since 2009, Andrew has lead teams to the second rounds every year. In 2011, Andrew Moreland’s team Un Caballo, which included alumni Wyatt Chapman (’09), Alex Aby’s (’12), Andrew Dotlich (’12) faced off with one of their former players Same Rose (’12) and his team Cuddy’s Buddies, with Anika Eisenstat (’11), Lily Woodward-Logan (’12), Ally Zappala (’11) and Chloe Segal (’13) in the quarter-finals.

Defensive forward Rose would strike first with an amazing diving goal from the right wing. Zappala would deny several Un Caballa early attempts on net. Rose would get a tripping penalty late in the first period, leaving Woodward-Logan and Segal on the penalty kill. When the teams returned for the second half, the Un Caballo power play still had a 1:10. Segal and Woodward-Logan would kill the penalty, but Moreland would rocket one past Zappala to tie things up. Woodward-Logan would fight up to the front of the goal, waiting for a Rose pass at 1:24, putting Cuddy’s Buddies back in the lead.

Cuddy would keep her team in the game with some great defense, taking on a quick Abys and Chapman. Un Caballa would finally sneak one past Zappala to tie it up once more with 34 seconds remaining. Cuddy’s Buddies were not done; Rose would speed up towards the Un Caballo goal and with 3 seconds remaining, sent the Cuddy’s Buddies to the Semi-finals in the upset of the day and the game winning goal.

The competition really stepped up in 2011, when our own version of the New York Yankees arrived on the scene. The Bruins, Tyler Blais (staff), Patrick DeNicola (’12), Paul Frias (’13) and Frank Finn (’12) rolled in and took no prisoners. The Bruins roster has changed slightly from 2011, but the name Frias remained the same. Brothers Paul and Nathan lended their talent to the team and have achieved what no other siblings have done.

When Nathan graduated in June, the family was undefeated. Will Gelinas also appeared in the net, first in a banana suit for the Constipated Banana’s along-side alumni Couilliard (’14), Andrew Rubenstein (’12), Ben Zorfas (’12) and Cody Bliss (’12). Gelinas found a home in the net and has never left. In fact, he purchased his own goalie equipment.

The Constipated Bananas were a force to be reckoned with from 2011-2014. If the bright yellow suits weren’t distracting enough, they have built up a reputation for being loyal to their goalie Gelinas and for being quick on their feet. Jack Couilliard would play his entire career with Gelinas, Ben Zorfas, Cody Bliss and Andrew Rubenstein until they graduated in 2012.

Matthew St. Jean (’16), who would later start The Dream Team & Matt, ended up going with Gelinas in 2013. Since 2011, Julia Allen (’15), Kaitlin Parthum (’13), Michael Sippl (’15), Aaron Rothstein (’14) and Rory Csaplar (’17) would wear the banana suits proudly. The Knucklepucks and Blabber Heads would find Gelinas in net alongside Matt St. Jean (’16) and Caleb Burns (’18). Charile Hope (’18) would play in 2015 as a Blabber Head and in 2016, Gelinas would find Andrea Gennari-Villasmil (’16) and Nick Wollrath (’19) rounding out the Knucklepucks roster.

In 2012, the dynamic duo of Mike Foley (staff) and Sebastian Phillips (’16) was formed with the Rockin Roosters, which later transformed into El Pollo Diablo in 2013. They have made their presence known since 2012 when this then Rookie team, Joe Sabin (’14), Max Mazurczak (’15), Kendal Clark (’15), took on Lord Stanley, Andrew Moreland (staff), Charlie Paltsios (’12), Alex Arnesen (’13), Travis Kadish (’13), Carter Dotlich (’12) and Eric Chapman (’12) in the Quarter Finals. With Moreland’s slapshot from half court, Lord Stanley was looking for this year to be their year. But first, they needed to first face Storm Trooper Mike Foley and his Rockin Roosters. 51 seconds into the game senior, Paltsios would put Lord Stanley one goal closer to the semi-finals.

After some high energy play by both teams, a crazy bounce off the wall and then Foley’s back would put Lord Stanley up by 2. The Rockin Roosters pushed the puck up into the Lord Stanley zone only to meet up with Alex “Chara’ Arneson, who seemed to be one step away from anywhere on the court. Foley would steal shot after shot from Moreland, and “No Fear” Phiilips would take on a towering Arneson and a skilled Paltsios multiple times to try to get his team within striking distance of Dotlich.

Finally, Moreland would get one past Foley and then again made it by the diesel goalie with a little help from Paltsisos. Mazurczak would come in for the Roosters on defense and would clear the puck before the buzzer sounded. The next 1:20 would see a lot of action in both zones. Rocking Roosters speed would match up well vs the size of the Lords. Paltsios saw a hat trick, as did Moreland in the second half. Phillips had his shot blocked as the second half came to a close. Although the Rockin Roosters got shut out, they made their presence known and tired out a veteran team in the process.

At the end of the game Foley saved 16 shots. The Rockin Roosters roster would later include a formidable list of alumni that includes Joe Forest (’15), Sam Calle (’14), Dillion Higgins (’15), Michael Sippl (’15), Kyle Ebanks (’17) and Dever Mack (’16).

Marshall Robinson and Cody Bliss are our current faculty members who have played in the tournament as both a student and a faculty. Tyler Blais retired having never lost a game. Paul (’13) & Nathan Frias (’16) will go down in Floor Hockey History as being a legacy, two brothers – never defeated.

Over the years we have seen our share of buzzer beaters and heart breakers. In 2007 Quarter Finals, Herbal Essence Volume 2, Ian Kelly (staff), Connor Chevaillier (’07), Brooks Hausser (’09), Phillip Sortino (’07), Eric Wahlberg (’07) and Josh Waller-Weinberg (‘07) played The Guys, Jake Suchocki (staff), Logan Phillips (’09), Wyatt Chapman (’09), Andrew Alexander (’10) and Kevin Chernick (‘09) and found themselves 0-0 at the final buzzer.

At the end of the two minute overtime, it was still 0-0. The teams went on to a best out of three shots that truly tested the handling skills of the shooter and the skill of the goalie.  The score remained tied 1-1 and went on to a 1-1 shot sudden death.  It was Herbal Essence Volume 2 who eventually walked away victorious.

In an intense Semi-Finals game against Srenniw, Vinny Nastasi(staff), John Cardone (’07), Brandon Carone (’08), Nikki Chornyei (’07), Jess Groman (’07) and Jake Lehr (‘09) ended Herbal Essence Volume 2’s run for the finals. The Finals would be a rematch of last years, Srenniw, with the formidable Vinny Nastasi in net, would face off with a speedy Your Mother’s Worst Nightmare the Remix, Alex Audette (staff), Alex Hammond (’07), Daniel Shube (’07), Brian Halpin (’08), Grossman and Ethan Holmes (‘09). Your Mother’s Worst Nightmare the Remix would go on to be the first recorded team to win back to back tournaments.

With a long standing tradition, there are going to be some reoccurring themes. 2008 was an exciting year; Cuddy’s Buddies, with faculty member Jenna Cuddeback (Hubacz) started a five year run in the tournament (2008-2013). Cuddy’s Buddies would be a floor hockey home for many of our alumni, several returning to play year after year. Team Captain Anika Eisenstat (’11) was a career player from 2008-11, as was Paula Tannebring (’10), Lily Woodward-Logan (’12), Chloe Segal (’13), Lindsey Gartner (’11), Colleen Blair (’09), Gabe Waller-Weinberg (’10), Florin Howey (’10), Sam Rose (’12) and Ally Zappala (’11).

2008 would also mark the appearance of Michael Riendeau when he debuted with Dyer Situation with Alex Dyer (’09), Mike Hines (’08), Molly Lonergan (’08) and Cameron Stenger (’08). Ian Kilgore (’11) and John McCabe (’11) would team up with Andrew Ward (staff) and come out champions in 2008 with Gordon Bell (’09), Christopher Marchese (’11) and Paul Schneider (’08). Goalie Christopher Marchese (’11) would graduate having played on four different teams, Stacked and Jacked in 2009, Brown’s Butcher in 2010 and Sea Gull’s in 2011. He is the first goalie (and only goalie) to go his whole career undefeated.

Fire and Ice would also come on to the Floor Hockey scene in 2008. Kristyl Yopak (Kelly) started her career in 2006 with Unleashed consisting of Peter Longo (’09), Andrew Alexander (’10), Matt Voltas-Moreau (’09), Jake Lehr (’09) and Bernie Gengel (’06). Fire and Ice is the only team name that you will still find on the brackets.

From 2008-present, Fire and Ice would see several career players, as well as serve as a training ground for some our emerging best. Chelsey Munsey (’10), Nicole Brazill (’08), Taylor Kinser (’11), Charlie Judge (’10), Richard Gengel (’13), Connor Murphy (’16) played out their Floor Hockey careers with Fire and Ice. Luke Murphy (’17) and Will Amory (’19) had short careers lasting only a year. Elena Pfeffer (’13), Will McClements (’12) and Travish Kadish (’13), Brandon Watford (’16), Wesley Cleare (’17) played with the team for a couple years and found homes on other teams, while Lily Woodward-Logan (’12), Lindsey Gartner (’11), Sarah Haber (’09), Abby Freidman (’08), Chloe Segal (’13) and Katie Daring (’09) would start with a variety of different teams and graduate wearing the Fire and Ice jersey.

We have had some surprises in 2009, specifically in the second chance bracket’s quarterfinal, when a full strength 2 LEGIT 2 QUIT, Sarah Levine (staff), Drew Beckerman (’09), Ramani Kapur (’12), Mark Harbaugh, Mike Shea (’09), Matt Zielinski (’10) found themselves in a 2008 rematch, finding No Luck Needed II, Andrew Ward (staff), Ian Kilgore (’11), John McCabe (’11), Gordon Bell (’09), Ian Stair and Andrew Schneider (’11) once again standing between them and the semi-finals.

This time No Luck Needed II was missing power goalie Stair and replaced him with offensive play-maker J. McCabe. The game started off quick with Ward sending a beautiful wrap around pass to Kilgore to set him up for the first score of the game. Zielinski would rob the duo of Kilgore and Ward of another attempt and sent it down to Shea who battled G. Bell in the corner, sending the ball out of bounds. Face off in No Luck Needed II’s zone would prove to be unsuccessful for 2 Legit 2 Quit.

In the second, G. Bell would use the traffic in front of the net, and even with Kapur’s strong attempts to protect Goalie Harbaugh, Bell would score. A.Schneider and Kilgore would shut down scoring machine Beckerman. In the final moments Kilgore would find himself with some confusion in front of the net and would score, ending 2 Legit 2 Quit’s dreams of the finals. John McCabe’s dreams of repeating in the finals would end as his brother Kevin McCabe’s (’12) Cinderella story with the Hurricane’s, along with Jake Ustjanaukas (’11), Alex Abys (’12) along with Mr. Brown (staff), would continue as they went on to face Stacked and Jacked in the 2009 finals.

Even with Stacked and Jacked coming out on top, the rookie Hurricane’s that proved that they were more than just a little storm that year, they were there to tear the roof off. 2009 also saw the emergence of powerhouse Andrew Moreland (staff) when he debuted with Slash & Burn, Matt Grinnell (’10), Simon Polakoff (’10) and Christopher Lee (’11).

The 2020 Floor hockey finals will resume at the end April, which are sure to be as memorable as in previous years!

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