On a cold February morning, Steve Wasnewskiczyk, of Tonawanda brushed off his Chevy Cavalier after a light overnight snowfall. “Ya know I just love seein’ the boys out there playin’ the game like it’s supposed to be played,” Stevie, a longtime fan and supporter of the Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament who has been watching the “Dance on Ice” for the past 10 years now. With a 2-year-old venue (Buffalo RiverWorks) hosting the games, the past two years have been a bit different for Stevie. “Nowadays these snowflake tweens need zamobonied ice, butt-warmers on the bench, and CNN on in the locker room. Me and my buds would just wrap our knuckles in foil and strap on the wheels, good to go.” Though the conditions might not represent his idea of hockey, Stevie was more excited than ever to watch.
Much of the buzz at the tournament this year was centered around the 2014 2nd place champions, “Dirty Mike and the Boys” (DMATB). Coming off a weak 2015 performance, who many blame on the absence of the ever-intimidating power forward Kevin Walsh, DMATB has been hitting the gym, ice, and cooler over the off-season and were ready to go. In an exclusive interview, Pat Scherer told us, “Ya know there really is no off-season for us, but for all the NARPS at home wondering about my perfect physique, yes, I have been on a strict routine since last Feb. It’s been tough getting in the right mindset after my hole in one, but my sports psychologist says I am making great strides. Pun intended, cheyea”.
Mike Stroka, still wielding the classic Easton Z-Bubble as his “axe” of choice, has also been seen around Buffalo with local fans and tourists. The offseason looks a bit different for Stroka. Famous for his ability to increase his productivity and gameplay after each Labatt Blue, Mike took to the local establishments and displayed his drinking ability throughout the summer months. His ex-room-mate and European companion, Billy Burke, is making great progress at the West Seneca anger management program. We don’t need to go into details but many of us remember the incident on the pond 4 years ago… When asked about his progress Billy said, “Hey dude!” The soon to be father was even more excited after hearing about the various scouting programs coming to see the tournament. With one more mouth to feed, Billy had a lot to work for.
New to the roster this year coming off of a 4-year stint at Canisius College, Tommy Scherer looked primed for the tournament. A native of Rochester, NY, Tommy is trying to fill the shoes of his two older brothers and teammates, Pat and Matt, but the size of those shoes should make that an achievable task. The Scherer brothers come from quite the athletic lineage. Matt, a D-1 Lax player at Mercyhurst, Pat, a Golden Griff Fund extraordinaire, and their father, a draft prospect of the Toronto Maple Leafs, all have made their mark on the sport of hockey. We caught up with Matt at Rick’s Tally Hoe’s, “The boys are excited, I’m excited, heck even my dogs excited. Lots of excitement, it’s an exciting time. Do you see a menu anywhere?”
Dan Feldman recently took up Bikram yoga and attributes all of his latest success to his balanced Chi. Hailing from Williamsville, Dan exceled in his high school years with linemate and 2014/2015 Labatt All Star, Mujtaba Soniwala. Muj, missing the tournament this year, was surely with the team in spirit.
The roster may look a bit different, but the mentality is the same for DMATB. Go out there and put on a good show for the fans. Remember fans, bets can be placed at OTB and Seneca Niagara up until puck drop.
Here is your 2017 scouting report:
||Defined jawline, gave an interview at the section V hockey championships in High School, hockey guy||Distracted by the kisses blown at him from fans|
||Best beard, locker room guy, hockey guy||Quick temper…|
|Unique ability to play better buzzed/drunk, just a hockey guy||Can’t wear his Apple Watch on the ice|
||New found motivation, vintage West Seneca Wings Jersey, hockey guy||Quicker temper…|
||Balanced Chi, representing Muj, hockey guy||Pressure from Muj’s fans|
||Youngest of the bunch, great tape to knee pad routine, hockey guy||Has trouble seeing the puck skating in the shadows of his older brothers|
||Token D-1 athlete, dimpled chin, hockey guy||Aging|
In the next issue, we will discuss the tournament, catch back up with Tonawanda Steve, and recap with the stars. Stay tuned.
Senior Reporter for The Lads’ Tribune