Legacy started with three hockey players (I suppose I should use that term loosely), but we were three of the only Phoenix players that were not asked to play for the Laughing Skulls; Matt Brady, T.J. Szymendera, and myself. While it seemed like a strong enough start, it was still only a fraction of a hockey team. The team that would become Legacy was thirteen players shy of a full roster, so we did the only thing that we could think to do. We began reaching out, trying to find competitive players to fill out our roster. Unfortunately, most of the people that we knew were already playing at Skatezone, most of them for the Skulls.
Matt Brady brought four players that he had played with in a summer league at Skate Zone; Matt Stingle, Walt Mulholland, Mike Benezet and Mike Mulholland; T.J. brought in Steve D’Aurizio (and would later bring in Chet O’Neill); and I brought both Mike and Bill Kelly back, as well as several players I had found on Craigslist. We were a ragtag group that had little to no chemistry, but from our very first season, Legacy presented a sense of promise that we had never experienced with Phoenix.
In the first season, we had a solid start, nothing incredible, but it was good enough. We played well, we won a handful of games (thank you, A.J. McTighe), and we had fun doing it. Over the next two seasons, we lost several players (and “forgot” to ask for some back, remember that one guy? Beaver? I think his name was? Man, he was terrible), but we also gained quite a few. We picked up some players from our Phoenix days including Chuck Stressman, Nick Pilla and Chris Whelan. We picked up friends of friends like Carl Trainer, Mark Butterline and Steve Reddell. We picked up wily veterans like John Hall and we picked up some “unrestricted free-agents” like Eric Drennen.
The filtering and the fine-tuning finally proved successful in the Spring/Summer league of 2010 when we got to our first championship. We won game one of our best of three series and felt like it was all but over. I went out, bought two bottles of Champagne and borrowed a replica of the Stanley Cup for game two. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned and we lost, and then, well, we lost again. The Ex-Pirates came back and took the series from us (but really, we just lost to that one guy with the gold stars on his pants. He was ridiculous. He scored like eight million goals).
I’m not going to lie, it sucked. We were angry and upset that we lost. I know, it’s only a Men’s League, but that was kind of the point, we couldn’t even win the championship in a Men’s league. When it mattered most, we couldn’t pull through, but overall as a team, we found success. That was all that I could ask for. We won games. We did what we set out to do and most importantly, we never lost to the Skulls (Okay, we did once. The game was 11-11 and it went to a shoot out, where we lost. But our record against them is like 20-0-1. Oh, and in that game, that wasn’t our goalie. It was just some random dude who played a game right before ours. We would have been better off with the extra skater).
After our hopes and dreams died (not really, well, maybe a little bit) in our championship loss, we moved forward and did the only thing that we could do, we bought new jerseys. We got better when we got our blue jerseys, so logically, this seemed like the next step. We also figured that we could completely forget who we were after losing our first championship by translating our last names into Russian for the back of our jerseys. Well, we tried to, but apparently the Hockey Shed doesn’t have Russian twill lying around. I know. I found that hard to believe too. So, much to Mike Kelly’s dismay, we got them in English. However, I realized as I was assembling the roster for the Fall/Winter season that we had more players interested in playing for Legacy than we had roster spots, so we brought in a second team, Legacy C2.
Dun. Dun. Dun.