“We have a strong sense of tradition, mixed with a continuous search for compatible players. We favor team chemistry over individual skills in our recruiting.”
Jim Hatch, Hoser Team Captain, ’89–’95.
“The Hosers ranked as the number one amateur roller hockey team ever by Roller Hockey Magazine, who referred to them as being ‘head and shoulders above the rest ….the New York Yankees of amateur roller hockey.’ That says a lot, to be compared to the most storied franchise in baseball, where Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio and Mantle played and carried the Yankee tradition. In the same way, Daryn Goodwin, Jim Hatch and Mike Duffy established the Hosers tradition by being champions. Their history is filled with regional championships, USAC champions in ’92, ’93, ’94 and ’96. Between 1992 and 1994 they went undefeated for 62 games at regional and national tournaments. How many teams in any sport can boast of such a successful record.”
CCM Sports, 1998
“We were all just trying to play more and more hockey all the time. Roller hockey was not normal and that became the attraction and the novelty. As a group we grew to socialize, play and drink. Then we got competitive. Then we got hungry. Then we got crafty and educated with the leadership of Paul Chapey and Jim Hatch. We drove very hard for those years before our first national championship. We made many adjustments along the way and we all became coaches and students of the game. Many fond memories. Many good people that I still see playing too. I still love this game more than any sport I have ever played. I still play twice a week and join tournament teams when I can.”
Francis Weidinger, Hoser pioneer/organizer, ’80 –‘97
The Hosers are one of the most important teams in roller hockey history. There is little doubt about the key role played by the Hosers in transitioning the sport from an obscure quad skate-based sport to a popular high-speed inline skate-based sport. And by dominating the national roller hockey scene for 8 years, the Hosers helped popularize the sport and made the inline skate the standard for roller hockey. Moreover, the role played by Hoser founder Paul Chapey in creating NARCh and developing a fast-moving puck was absolutely essential to the sport’s world-wide growth. Let’s tell the story of the Hosers in a time-line fashion.
Paul Chapey is the visionary founder of the Hosers. He is a transplant from New York City where roller hockey is commonly played in city parks and he played in the legendary Fort Hamilton Roller Hockey League in Brooklyn. How he started the San Diego Hawks – the forerunner of the Hosers — is told here in his own words:
“The first time I played roller hockey in California was 1979 at the old skating rink on Cedros in Solana Beach called “Tri-Cities.” That building is now a store called the Antique Warehouse.
I had been to a skating party at the rink and noticed goal nets behind the counter. I asked the owner, Bob Schmidt, if they play roller hockey. He said he played with a group on Sunday mornings and I should come out. When I got to the rink, I was surprised because they were playing roller hockey with what looked like field hockey sticks and a hardball. I gave it a try and thought the game was terribly stupid but played for a few weeks
One of the other players, Wayne Milack, was also from New York, and had played the type of roller hockey I grew up playing in Brooklyn. We both hated ball and cane hockey. One day Bob Schmidt said a team from Orange County wanted to come down and play against us, but the game would be with a puck and regular hockey sticks. Most of us were stoked, and we practiced regular roller hockey a couple of times.
The team that came down was led by Scott Accongio, a guy still very much involved in the sport as a top-notch coach. We needed a team name and came up with a very original one, the Hawks. Scott’s team probably beat us, but after the game nobody wanted to go back to playing with the ball and cane. From that point on, we were the San Diego Hawks. The only guys I remember from those days were Jim Huffman, Wayne Milack and Marc Adams.”
Side Bar Story: The Quad Skate Hockey
Legacy As Paul Chapey implies above, “Ball and Cane” roller hockey was the dominant form of roller hockey in that era. The ball used was very hard and larger than a lacrosse ball and the cane resembled a field hockey stick. Also called “hardball hockey” or “rink hockey,” this sport has been played in California as early as 1906 and Ball and Cane hockey World Championships date back to 1936. In 1961, America began to hold national Ball and Cane hockey championships.
But the forerunner of modern day inline hockey was not Ball and Cane roller hockey but rather roller hockey on quad skates using ice hockey sticks and a puck. This sport has existed since the 1940’s, but mostly in large urban areas like New York City where the Police Department organized outdoor roller hockey leagues in every community, eventually involving thousands of kids. The sport, however, also became popular inside roller skating rinks in certain parts of the country and in 1962, USA Roller Sports (USARS) held the first national stick and puck hockey championships, which, of course, was played on quad roller skates.
Compared to modern day inline hockey, however, stick and puck hockey on quad skates remained a relatively obscure sport with perhaps no more than a 100 competitive indoor teams in the country in the 1970’s. The sport did, though, have its legends. Indoor player Bobby Hemphill from Olympia, WA is considered by old time roller hockey observers as one of the best roller hockey players ever when he played in the 1970’s.
And Stan Smith, also from Olympia, won a combined dozen or so puck-and-stick and ball-and-cane roller hockey national titles and may hold the record for the most Gold medals in the history of roller hockey. And New York City’s outdoor quad hockey legend, Joey Mullen, broke into the NHL and held the record for the most points by an American until it was broken by Mike Modano. Mullen talks about his roller hockey background here: http://bit.ly/1DUoZLm And Brian Mullen, Nick Fotiu and Jim Pavese were three other New York outdoor quad hockey players who made it to the NHL.
Not until the introduction of the inline skate did roller hockey explode, but it took visionaries like the Hoser’s Paul Chapey to make this transition happen since the roller hockey establishment of the day was very pro-quad skate and some even considered the inline skate to be a gimmick. Indeed, many quad hockey leaders wanted little to do with it. But this attitude is understandable.
After all, the quad skate had been around for over a hundred years and there was good reason to believe that the inline skate, like so many other products in our popular culture, would be a temporary fad that runs its course and then disappears — like the hula-hoop. So why invest any time, money, or energy into it? Of course, they misread the inline skate’s potential. At the time, the quad skate defenders had no idea that due to the similar balance between the inline skate and the ice skate, it would encourage thousands of ice hockey players to cross over (which rarely happened during the quad era) to inline hockey and thus create an explosion of new activity, new leagues, and new organizations.
Nonetheless, the quad roller hockey pioneers deserve credit for developing a cadre of leaders and organizers who stayed with the sport post-quad skate and helped the sport grow to what it has become today. Just to name of few, Hoser founder Paul Chapey was a former USARS national committee member in the quad days who went on to launch NARCh, the world’s premier inline tournament series. Charlie Yoder, a long time Northeastern quad hockey organizer and player, started the semi-professional inline league called PIHA. Ron Alexander, leader of one of California early quad hockey teams, the Lightning, became a key inline hockey organizer in California and now coordinates all adult hockey at “The Rinks, Huntington Beach” inline rink.
Quad hockey star Scott Accongio is now one of the leading inline coaches in the country and operates the AKS travel inline hockey program. The author of this history was a 1980’s California quad hockey player and organizer who then became a Virginia inline organizer and now manages the Tron Hosers AIHL inline club in San Diego. Quad superstar Ron Beilsten – a former president of USAC’s Puck Hockey Committee – went on to become a key inline organizer in the Midwest and now coaches the collegiate powerhouse Lindenwood University inline team.
In essence, much of the infrastructure for the modern day roller hockey era was created by organizers who came out of the quad skate era. And we shouldn’t neglect to mention that the wide open format of modern day inline hockey –- 4-man, no off-sides, no checking — was NOT the invention of modern day inline officials but rather was inherited from the stick and puck quad skate hockey era and was actually formulated by the Chairman of the USARS Puck Hockey Committee, the legendary Dick Parker of Houston, in the 1960’s
To grow his group, Chapey places ads in The San Diego Reader community newspaper looking for additional players and the ad seems to have worked in that it attracted a few more players. The ad is also seen by this author, who, at the time was the leader of an outdoor quad hockey team in Point Loma called the Cabrillo Kings and he tells his players about Paul’s group. Several of the Point Loma players eventually join Paul’s group such as Fran, Greg and Mark Weidinger, and, later on, Denis Amyot.
As Chapey’s informal group grows, regular pick-up sessions are held once a week and soon the best players from this pick-up group start to attend regional quad hockey tournaments under the name “San Diego Hawks.” In Paul’s words:
“On Superbowl weekend, Jan. 1980, we went to our first tournament at a rink in Las Vegas. I think there were 4-5 teams and we lost every game. Every team had much more experience than we did. It was not that our fundamental skills – skating, shooting,etc. — were not on par with our opponents, but rather our team play was lacking. We had no knowledge of tactics or strategy.”
According to the San Dieguito Citizen newspaper, dated August 27, 1980, the team moved to a rink in the Kearny Mesa/Linda Vista area called “Skateworld.”
The newspaper describes the team:
“The Captain is San Diego’s Jim Huffman, who says the roster tends to number about 10 or so throughout the year. Most of the squad played the game previously in the East….Rather than buy, the San Diego team built its own goal cages. Those are a necessity. Uniforms aren’t, and the team seems in no hurry to be in formal attire. These issues aside, the team is concentrating on improving, and at least one gauge proves they are. As Huffman recounts, the squad was ‘wiped out’ in its first meeting with a team from Las Vegas. The next time it was closer. Then, San Diego won the third encounter. Next to San Diego, the closest team to this county plays in Torrance. So, the hockey players travel through California and Nevada for games.” Within weeks of the move, the Hawks hosted their first ever roller hockey tournament on August 23-24. Later in 1980, the Hawks attend a tournament in San Clemente and placed first, which may have been the Hawk’s first tournament win. Sometime in the spring or summer of 1980, Marco Thompson joined the Hosers and he was to play a key role as a Hoser leader for years to come.
In January, the San Diego Hawks hosted a roller hockey tournament called the “San Diego Open.” Six teams from all over Southern California participated. This event was held at Skate World in Linda Vista. Around this time period other players joined the group such as key Hosers Bill Harris and Dave Moniz. The Hawks attend 2-3 other roller hockey events this year and then in June, they hosted their second roller hockey tournament called “The San Diego Invitational.”
By June, the Hawks had moved to a rink in El Cajon on N. Johnson Ave which was a converted ice rink. Today it is a Jerome’s furniture store. At this time, there were approximately 20 quad hockey teams in Southern California and these teams had developed an informal network. A few of the more active teams were the Ventura Hawks, Chatsworth Flyers, Lakewood Sharks, Port Hueneme Stingers, Venice Slashers, and the Torrance Lightning. A meeting occured in November, 1981 at the Chatsworth Roller Works rink to try to formalize this network but the network remained very informal.
The San Diego Hawks continue to improve their skills and play other quad hockey teams from around the State. The Hawks/Hosers also attended at least two tournaments at a Garden Grove rink at which roller hockey tournaments were hosted by the Golden West Hockey League (GWHL). The roster of the Hawks/Hoser tournament team that attended a 1984 GWHL tournament was Greg Weidinger, Fran Weidinger, Joe O’keefe, Paul Chapey, Richard Sheehan, Dave Moniz, Blair Cleaver, Marco Thompson, Wayne Milack and Andy Wozny.
The Hawks/Hosers also began to attend quad hockey tournaments in Las Vegas during these years. As Chapey relates:
“We went to many Las Vegas tournaments. I remember there were two separate rinks and neither had boards, just an inch or so of a lip. The floors of both places were huge, maybe 200’ x 100’. If the puck jumped the little lip, the local rules called for a pass by the player who got to it first. This usually involved fishing the puck out from under a bench or video game. Since the floor was so large, the puck stayed in play more than you’d think.”
The Hawks did not stay at the El Cajon rink for long and moved to the Skyline rink in Spring Valley for a short period. By late 1983, the Hawks had moved yet again to a rink in National City known as the Sweetwater rink, later to be renamed “Skate San Diego.” The Sweetwater/Skate San Diego facility remained the Hoser’s base for many years thereafter. This rink is described by the Los Angeles Times:
“Skate San Diego looks like an old brick warehouse on the outside. The environment on the inside is dark and cave-like. The building, with its wood dome roof supported by steel beams, is nearly 40 years old and lacks air conditioning. The acoustic tile walls are brown with dirt. The rink floor is stained, the clear varnish dulled and thinning. . . .To the Hosers, who have bounced from rink to rink over the years, Skate San Diego is another Montreal Forum. . . .it is the only rink [in San Diego County] that recognizes the sport.”
In the 1980’s the Skate San Diego rink was owned by Jerry Horner, a former pro ice hockey player who played in the IHL. His wife, Michelle Ford, was a former U.S. Olympic figure skater Bill Harris remembers the puck from that era and the maneuvers that were specific to the quad skate:
“I remember using orange colored pucks filled with tiny beads. Sometimes at Sweetwater or El Cajon, a puck like that would break open and spill its contents making a mess of tiny beads on the floor.
I also remember the toe stops on quads, which was one of their great advantages. I was always an ice skater so I was never very good at using the toe stop, but Moniz was awesome – he could be travelling backwards at good speed then suddenly by leaning forward, dig his toe stops in and skate full speed forward. This is a great skating maneuver that is just not possible on inlines.”
Early Hoser Dave Moniz comments about the puck:
“Aside from the hollow plastic pucks filled with beads, another common puck was the black roll of plastic electrical tape made by 3M and this puck was popular with quad teams all over the country during this era.”
The Hosers continue to attend roller hockey events all over Southern California and attended one tournament in Las Vegas that may have been the beginning of what was later called the “LaBeda Cup.” The team does not medal. Hosers who attended this event were Chapey, Thompson, Moniz, Milack, Huffman, Hays, Greg and Fran Weidinger, Cleaver, Sheehan and Wozny.
Early Hoser Greg Weidinger remembers an hilarious incident while driving home from one this particular Las Vegas trip:
“Andy [Wozny] was our goalie back then. We used to go to some annual tourney/meet in Vegas every year. One year Wayne thought it would be fun for us to all ride together so he goes out and rents an RV. Well we drive to Vegas Friday night, play hockey for like a day and a half, do the Vegas all-you-can-eat buffet thing somewhere, and start heading back (was probably Sunday by then). Anyway about halfway home in the middle of nowhere we stop at this diner for some chow. Everyone goes into the diner, everyone except Andy who’s crashed in the RV completely zonked out (little to no sleep and hockey for 48+ hours can do that to you..). We tried to wake him up but no-go.
So we all go in and chow for about an hour and then head back out down the road toward SD. About 40 minutes from the diner someone says, ‘where the fuck is Andy? WTF?! He’s not up in the bunk?’ ‘Nope.’ Keep in mind this is way before cell phones! ‘Wayne, we gotta turn this behemoth RV around, we’re missing Andy’ We eventually get back to the diner, and sure as shit, there’s Andy sitting there looking all dejected. He finally sees us pulling in to the parking lot, and says ‘Seriously not funny guys!’ Apparently he got out to go to the bathroom and didn’t tell anyone and was in the can when we headed out..! Ah good times.”
Early Hoser Wayne Milack remembers this incident with a slight variation:
“I was the one driving the motor home which I borrowed from a friend. We were headed home and stopped in Baker for refreshments. We left Baker and about forty minutes later I realized Andy was missing. Paul said he’s probably sleeping under the pile of his equipment in the back of the motor home. When we checked we realized we left him in Baker. We headed back to Baker. When we drove down the main drag we saw Andy standing at the side of the road with his thumb out. We were cracking up all the way home.”
The Mystery of the Hawks-to-Hosers Name Change
No one is absolutely positive when it happened, but the group changed its name from the San Diego Hawks to the San Diego Hosers sometime between ’82 and ‘86. But there’s no debate as to what inspired the name change. It was a pair of fictional Canadian brothers –- Bob and Doug McKenzie — who hosted the Great White North, a skit introduced on Second City Television’s third season in 1980. Bob is played by Rick Moranis and Doug is played by Dave Thomas. The comedy skit became a pop culture phenomenon in both Canada and the United States.
In the skit, the brothers often used the slang word “Hosers” to imply a “loser.” This is a common slang word in Canada believed to have been derived from groups of hockey players delegating one person to be the “hoser” because he has to “hose” down an outdoor ice rink at midnight so as to make it smooth for playing hockey the next morning. Clearly, this is not a desirable chore, hence the derogatory nature of the word. Soon the Hawks began to repeat various slogans from this skit. One can watch numerous “Great White North” skits on You Tube like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsgVspgy184 or this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZCI39NWZ5g .
Paul Chapey says this about the name change:
“My wife held a surprise birthday party for me at the Sweetwater rink and some guy dressed as Bob or Doug McKenzie [the Great White North characters] came to the rink and did a schtick…… She said it was January ‘84. Now that’s evidence that the Hoser program could have started as early as ‘83. I doubt she would have organized such a skit in ’84 if the team was not already called the Hosers.”
Hoser pioneer Fran Weidinger has this version:
“We were at a dive bar near Highland and 24th in National City. Two Vietnamese sisters ran the place and one was always asking me, ‘where’s you brother?’ She wanted him. We were drinking there after playing one night and myself, Marco and Paul were talking about the future of the team and how we need to start getting serious. Paul was always making references to the antics and slogans of the Great White North comedians, but I had always thought that ‘Eggbeaters’ was a better name, but Marco and Paul out-voted me that night in the dive bar circa 1986. The Hoser name was all Paul, and we agreed to embrace it.”
As Fran later added,
“We felt the Hoser name to be appropriate for our team because our guys were all misfits and mavericks.”
A third version is offered by Hoser pioneer Marco Thompson:
“I met my wife in September 83, and proposed in October 83. My in-laws all came to a tournament (OC or LA) in late 83, or early 84, before I got married in June of 84. We were DEFINITELY the Hosers then. As my wife says,‘you have played hockey since I met you, and it was Hosers from day one. I never heard any other name.’”
The Thompson and Chapey account match up since both agree the name change occurred in late ’83 or early ’84. As for Fran’s account, it is commonly assumed he drank too much beer when younger, thereby affecting his memory brain cells.
And lastly, Hoser Bill Harris thinks the name change was even earlier:
“On naming the Hosers, I think it came about shortly after the Great White North record album came out. I remember listening to it a lot. This was 1981. I was, as far as I recall, the only actual Hoser or Hosehead (= Canadian) on the team at the time, so I thought it was ‘excellent’ that we came up with that name. My memory is a bit vague, but I think that it was about that time that we started calling each other hosers. ‘Hey, nice shot hoser!’ when someone failed to launch the puck, ‘Nice pass hoser!’ when they didn’t. ‘Nice haircut hoser.’ etc. I have this hunch that it was Paul Chapey growing enamoured of this chatter, and so then decided to propose this as a team name, maybe first as a joke. But it was cool.”
Even the Hoser home rink became part of Hoser lore and by the late 80’s it was affectionally called the “Hoser Dome” by the team. Around the same time the team adopted the Hoser name, they also adopted a moose head logo. As Bill Harris tells it:
“The moose head logo came from Moosehead beer. I think we were a little worried that we stole their logo (which presumably they still have rights to). I don’t know if they were ever asked to sponsor the team or were aware that we stole their moose!”
By this time Fran Weidinger had become one of the team’s main organizers and was sending out a “Hoser” newsletter to team members with announcements about tournaments, practices and so forth.
The first Hoser jersey was created this year and it was simply a black t-shirt with white letters that said “San Diego Hosers” on the front and “Take off” on the back.
The Hosers continue attending tournaments in Southern California and Las Vegas and, according to the records, were beginning to win events.
Many Hosers have great memories of practicing at the Sweetwater/Skate San Diego rink. Hoser Bill Harris relates an hilarious story about boating to a Hoser practice:
“Dave Moniz had a friend who owned a boat in San Diego so he and I decide to take the boat to Hoser practice at the Sweetwater rink one night. It was a wonderful journey to the practice. But after the practice, as we’re flying back up the coast on this boat, the motor gives out. There is no spare motor. There are no fucking paddles. Dave and I rowed this big old boat with hockey sticks for a hour just to get to shore, which took us to about 3AM.”
USAC/RS National Championships, Detroit
The Hosers travel to their first USAC/RS National Championships at the Shores Skateland rink in Mt. Clemens. They entered the Novice (also called Bronze) Division and finished fifth out of 12 teams. The “Hose ‘em” cheer before each game probably started around this time. Roster: Thompson (C), Adams, Weidinger, Huffman, Moniz, Chapey, Cleaver, Vissotski, Kasinak and Wozny. Kasinak was the first Hoser to use inlines at a national championship. As Kasinak relates:
“I was the only player on the Hoser team on inlines at this tournament. I was a late addition to team and had never played roller hockey before, but played ice with many of the guys that played both. I was one of the top amateurs in ice hockey in the area so they asked me to go kind of last minute. Said they had skates for me but they were quads. I played one game and knew the quads were not for me. So I went to the store and bought some new blades and had a great tourney.”
The Hosers were a serious team by this time but they also knew how to have fun. As Chapey relates:
“On our first trip to Nationals I remember getting off the plane in Detroit, and as we were walking to the baggage area, we passed a bar and Dave Moniz said, ‘Hey, want to stop and have a few cocktails?’ Marco said something like, ‘WTF Dave, cocktails?’ I think that was repeated quite a few times on this trip.”
Fran Weidinger relates the very formal and scientific way in which Hosers were selected to be on the nationals-bound teams in the late 80’s:
“The tradition of the Hoser board would be to all go to TJ [Tijuana, Mexico] and get crazy and would usually end up at a strip bar on Revolucion Ave, and then we would decide the final roster that night over dinner down there.”
Here Come the Rollerbladers
At this point, the inline skate was becoming popular thanks to the Roller Blade skate company. And the beach areas such as Mission Beach became hot spots for roller blading. Groups of inline players started to play pick up hockey in Mission Beach. In the words of Hoser Keith Lazerson:
“In the summer of 1987, the first shipment of Rollerblades, known as ‘Lightnings’ arrived at Hamel’s store in Mission Beach. The first guy to wear them was Mission Beach resident and Rollerblade sales rep. Mark Rankin. Rankin hailed from Minnesota where Rollerblades where invented as a summer cross training aid for hockey players.
I was Mark’s neighbor and I immediately wanted a pair. Within a few weeks, Rollerblades became very popular on the Mission Beach boardwalk and I would skate around stick handling with an old Mylec street hockey puck. This attracted the attention of several east coast transplants who were eager to get their own in-line skates and soon we started to organize some pick-up street hockey games.
I built some lightweight wood goals and put the word out to every rollerblader I saw that there would be an organized scrimmage every Saturday morning at 10:00am at the Mission Beach School, located across Mission Blvd. from my house on Kennebeck Ct. This Saturday scrimmage may well have been the first organized inline hockey scrimmage in San Diego.”
As Keith’s inline pick-up group grew, Hoser leader Paul Chapey approached Keith and asked him to bring his group down to Skate San Diego on Tuesday nights to scrimmage the Hosers who, at that time, were, except for Brian “boy” Lee, skating on quad skates. The more experienced Hosers would clobber the roller bladers but as time went on and the roller bladers began to figure out the 4-on-4, no-off sides game of roller hockey, the games began to equalize.
Long time Hoser captain Jim Hatch was from Boston and played Division 1 college ice hockey for the University of Maine. He shares his memories about this period:
“I moved to Pacific Beach in January, 1987. I discovered that there was a good ice hockey league in San Diego and so I purchased Roller Blades late in the summer of ‘87 so I could get in shape for ice hockey (I hadn’t played during my 3 plus years as a ski bum at Squaw Valley). While skating on the boardwalk one afternoon, I saw a few guys skating with sticks so I followed them. I ended up in a school courtyard and there were several guys getting ready to play roller hockey. I immediately borrowed a stick and played my first ever roller hockey game. I was hooked.
The group of guys included Keith Lazerson (the ring leader of beach hockey), Mark Rankin, Matt Moore, Johnny Moore, Gavin ?, Mark Melachio, Don Thomson and some other names I don’t remember. This led to an invite to go play roller hockey with some guys at Skate San Diego where the Hosers were based. The ‘beach guys’ consistently got their asses kicked by these guys on ‘quads’. It was very frustrating and I was determined to beat these ‘Hosers’. We slowly improved and were often called out for ‘rough play’ (me and Mark Melachio especially) as we really wanted to win.”
USAC/RS National Championships, Detroit
The Hosers place 4th in the Bronze Division. Roster: Thompson (C), Weidinger (A), Chapey (A), Huffman, Moniz, Cleaver, Vissotski, Adams, Wozny.
The Hosers form San Diego’s First Roller Hockey league
By the Fall of 1988, there was such an influx of new inline skaters – mostly from the Mission Beach group – the Hosers decided to form San Diego’s first ever roller hockey league with six teams. Based at the Hoser home rink, Skate San Diego, the league was called the “San Diego Roller Hockey League.” As Keith Lazerson explains:
“Four teams were put together by Paul, two of which featured half the Hosers on one team and half on the other. Then there were two teams from Orange County, and two teams formed from the Mission Beach group including my hand picked team, the Mission Beach Blades. The Blades team included future Hoser star, Jim Hatch and future Hoser legendary goaltender, Don Thomson, who actually played defense in that inaugural season as the Blades already had a goalie, New Hampshire native, Matt Moore.
Chapey’s team—called Stealth — was stacked with talented, tournament experienced, quad skaters from Orange County, who were masters at puck control. And the Red and Black Hoser teams where dominant as well, featuring amazingly skilled players such as Mike Leviten, Bobby Vissotski, Francis Weidinger, Marco Thompson, Blair Cleaver and David Moniz just to name a few.”
Chapey chimes in:
“Yes, my Stealth team had great players like John Black, Bobby Smith and Stan Smith. I can’t remember anyone else. Keith’s team got better with every game. They all had talent but had been playing at the beach. Once they were on an indoor rink, they just got better and better. And they were young….that too.”
The Hoser In-House League Becomes Competitive
The Hoser created in-house league continues to rage in 1989 and by this time, all the teams had become very competitive. This author played for one of those teams, the Natives. As Keith Lazerson relates:
“On Sunday June 11, 1989, a four team, single elimination playoff round began. In the final game between the Mission Beach Blades and the Stealth, a rocket of a slap shot fired by Blades blue liner, Mark Melaccio, appeared to go right through the old netting of the wood framed goal. A ferocious argument ensued between the two sides as to the validity of the goal, that escalated to the point where the ref actually took off his striped shirt and stormed out of the building never to return. With both teams in shock at the ref leaving, Marco Thompson, immediately picked up the striped shirt and ref’d the remainder of the game. The game was a back and forth affair that went to overtime. The vastly improved Mission Beach Blades, put up a gutsy performance stopping and blocking opportunities in overtime when Boston native, and league MVP, Jim Hatch, blanketed by three defenders on an offensive rush, slid a pass over to me and I scored on my own rebound to win the first ever roller hockey championship in San Diego.”
Jim Hatch chimes in:
“It was great to win that first championship over the ‘quad’ guys, a battle in overtime. I hated the ‘no offsides’ at first, but learned to accept it. This competition raised the level of skills for all players involved and as such, I was invited to play for the Hosers at the 1989 Nationals that summer.”
As Hatch implies, such a competitive house league created higher quality Hoser tournament teams. The more talented roller bladers, such as Don Thomson, Keith Lazerson and Jim Hatch, begin to travel with the Hosers as the group continues its quest for a national championship. Hatch becomes the Hoser team captain for several years thereafter.
The Los Angeles Times even wrote about the Hosers house league and their preparations for the USAC Nationals:
“Marco Thompson is the president of a multimillion-dollar computer design firm. Paul Chapey owns a marketing consulting company. But every Sunday night they can be found at the Sweetwater Roller Rink, rubbing elbows and swinging sticks with the opposite end of the economic spectrum–7-Eleven clerks, beach bums and unemployed students. The common ground? A passion for the sport of roller hockey–hockey played on roller skates.
‘I live for roller hockey,’ said Thompson, who says he often works up to 80 hours a week. ‘I can work and be successful at my job, but I have more fun playing roller hockey with these guys than anything I do.’
Thompson, Chapey and a small group of others began playing together in San Diego about eight years ago. That group has grown to 60, enough that Chapey decided to organize things.
At 45, Chapey is the oldest player in the six-team San Diego Roller Hockey League, which formed this year. He is also the league’s commissioner and the coach of the San Diego Hosers, an all-star team that will represent San Diego in the national championships July 9-13 in Mt. Clemons, Mich., a suburb of Detroit.
Chapey said he is putting in a bid for San Diego to be the host city for next year’s national tournament. ’It would be a big boost to the sport locally if we could get it,’ said Chapey, who grew up playing roller hockey in the streets of New York.
Calgary Flames forward Joe Mullen recently gave the sport a boost nationally through an article in Sports Illustrated. Mullen and his brother, Brian, who plays for the New York Rangers, grew up playing roller hockey in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Brooklyn, N.Y., where the style of play closely resembles the National Hockey League’s.”
USAC/RS National Championships, Mt. Clemons, MI (Detroit)
The Hosers place 1st in the Bronze Division going undefeated. At least 4 games were ended under the “mercy” rule. The Hosers then moved up to the Silver Division and went 6-1 but lost 4-3 to the St. Louis Scorpions to take second. The team could have moved up to the Gold Division but decides not to as they were exhausted from playing 15 games in four days. The Hosers score 110 goals and allow 26. Roster: Hatch (C), Weidinger (A), Thompson (A), Cleaver, Leviten, Moniz, Chapey, Vissotski, Smith, Lazerson, and Wozny. Lazerson joins the team late in the tournament.
The Hosers began to get serious about winning National Championships. Not that they weren’t serious before, but by now they had attracted enough quality talent to make this dream happen. Jim Hatch discusses the preparations for the 1989 nationals:
“We practiced every week leading up to that 1989 Nationals but I had no idea what to expect and what our results would be. We practiced without Bobby Vissotski as he headed back to Detroit in the spring of ‘89. Fran put together the first Hoser movie for us as motivation. The only ‘in line’ skaters going to nationals were myself, Mike Leviten, and Keith Lazerson who came as our back-up goalie but ended up playing some forward in the silver division. He may have come as a back-up goalie as well because concerns as to whether Andy Wozny, AKA the ‘Wizard of Wozny’ would actually show up at the airport (concerns about poison in water bottles?) He did make it and played great throughout the entire 15 games.”
More comments from Captain Hatch:
“We lost to the St. Louis Scorpions 4-3 on a very controversial call ( I can’t remember the exact call, but we got “Hosed”). We were very tired after 15 games in 4 days. I think we might have stayed if we had won the Silver Division. The loss to Scorpions on that call took the exhaustion to another level. I can say that after playing in the 89’ nationals, I wanted nothing more than to win the Gold Division in coming years. This became my mission and most important thing to accomplish. I was high scorer in both the Bronze and Silver Division, MVP in Bronze, and co-MVP in Silver. Andy Wozny was the low goalie in Bronze and possibly Silver.”
Here’s an actual score sheet from the ’89 Nationals Bronze Division.
And Hoser captain Jim Hatch did look out for his team mates:
“I hope Andy Wozny remembers that he owes me his life when I pulled him away from walking in front of a speeding car while at the ’89 nationals. I guess he was too busy looking behind himself with his rearview sunglasses.”
USAC/RS National Championships, National City
The Hosers hosted the USAC/RS National Championships this year at the Sweetwater rink in National City. Hosers place 1st in the Silver Division and then moved up to the Gold Division. Due to fatigue, the Hosers were unable to place in the Gold Division. Roster: Hatch (C), Weidinger (A), Thompson (A), Mangum, Leviten, Wozny, Smith, Vissotski, and Cline.
Hoser Captain Jim Hatch remembers the preparations:
“We practiced with purpose every week leading up to ’90 Nationals. One of the biggest reasons for our success from 1989 to 1994 (teams were made of local San Diego guys only with a few exceptions after 1992) was the dedication to practice. Most guys showed up religiously every week and Paul had us working on strategy and technique.”
Hoser pioneer Marco Thompson commented that,
“The first Nationals in SD was lost when I got called on a penalty near the end of the game, just as Hatch scored the tying or winning goal….One of my darkest moments EVER…”
Hatch comments on the Hoser’s performance this year:
“We won the Silver Division, which was our first goal, but now I really wanted to win Gold. However, once again we became exhausted fighting our way through the Silver Division and so we fizzled out in the Gold Division. Also, we were simply not as good strategy-wise as were the Blast and other teams. However, by winning the Silver, we qualified automatically for the Gold Division in 1991, which was a blessing as we didn’t have to fight our way through the lower divisions at the ’91 nationals.”
Chapey reiterated the importance of winning Silver this year:
“Yes, this was a very important year for us because the top five teams in Silver received automatic seeds into the following year’s Gold Division. We didn’t look at our performance as a shortfall but as a major step to our ultimate goal of becoming national champions.”
USAC/RS National Championships, National City
The Hosers place 4th in the Gold Division, again at the Sweetwater rink in National City. The highlight of the tournament was the defeat of the St. Louis Blast 7-5 by the Hosers. Even though the Hosers defeated the Blast early on, the Blast ultimately won the Gold Division, their 4th Gold Division title in a row.
Roster: Hatch (C), Weidinger (A), Thompson (A), Amyot, Cleaver, Cline, Gardner, Leviten, Mangum, Moniz, Smith, Thomson. Don Thomson wins the Most Valuable Goalie (MVG) award.
The Hosers Plant the Seeds for a Era of Domination
Many Hosers believe this year marks the beginning of the Hoser climb to the top of the roller hockey world. Captain Hatch discusses the preparations for the ’91 Nationals:
“For the ’91 nationals we replaced a few original Hosers with some guys from the in-house league. This was the beginning of our recruitment phase for better players; we needed to stay ahead of the competition. Once again, we practiced very hard leading up to Nationals. We installed the ‘trap’ in our game and we became very good at it and others teams couldn’t figure out what we were doing. Every practice was geared to defeating the ‘Blast’, which we did. I have video of this game and recently watched it. We really out-played them and shocked the roller hockey world.”
Indeed, Paul Chapey relates how the defeat of the St. Louis Blast at the ’91 nationals signaled that the Hosers had reached a new level of tactics and strategy:
“Our win over the Blast was seminal. We beat them 7-5, but we controlled the game. We knew we were the better team after that. They were shocked. You could see it on their faces. The Blast were a very confident team; they came very close to being arrogant. They dominated the sport from 1987 to 1991.
We specifically practiced tactics and strategy just for that game. I remember Mike Leviten coming off the floor and saying, ‘The trap is working. They don’t know what’s going on.’ In fact, the tournament was at Sweetwater and there weren’t any benches. You just stood rinkside, and you were close to the other team. I remember hearing a Blast skater coming off a shift after turning over the puck, and he said something like, ’Fuck, there are always two guys on you and sometimes three when you have the puck!’
We had practiced a very effective version of the center-floor trap, and the Blast had no idea what we were doing. We went on to win many games because we knew how to overload on the puck carrier and not get burned. We practiced that over and over.”
A few days before the ’91 USAC nationals, The Los Angeles Times does a story that features the Hosers:
“San Diego, however, has the Hosers, two-time national champions…..according to some rink-side chatter this week, the Hosers are the best team in the nation….Chapey moved to Southern California in 1968 and quickly adopted the lifestyle. He helped launch the magazine Surfing as its editor….His East Coast-West Coast influence was a key factor in bringing the national tournament to San Diego. The Hosers’ roster includes former ice hockey players Mark Cline from Minnesota and Jim Hatch from Boston. Mike Leviten is a Harvard graduate from Nova Scotia. There’s also Fran Weidinger, a reformed surfer from Point Lomas and Dennis Amyot, a Quebec native who didn’t play organized hockey until he was a teenager living in San Diego.”
Hosers Participate in the First Tournament hosted by the New York Roller Hockey Scene at which indoor teams from outside New York are invited
In October, 1991, the Hosers flew to New York City and participated in the “New York City Columbus Day Weekend Invitational Roller Hockey Tournament,” sponsored by the Queens Roller Hockey Association and by Molson Ale. Pucks were donated by the Scotch 3M Corp., indicating that electrical tape rolls were still the standard pucks at this time. The location was at the Kendall Park Skating Center in So. Princeton, NJ. Hoser roster: Thomson, Stoike, Hatch, Amyot, Thompson, Gyokery, Leviten, Cline, Smith and Weidinger. Coach: Chapey.
Teams from Philadelphia, St. Louis, Minnesota, and from all over New York were present. This was an historic event in that it was the first major confrontation between the New York City outdoor roller hockey teams that used NHL rules with 5-men and checking, and indoor teams like the Hosers who played using the 4-man, no checking, “USAC” rules. USAC rules were used for the tournament. While the Hosers defeated all comers, including the New Yorkers, they ended up tied in points with the St. Louis Blast and played them in the final, losing 7-6 in double overtime. Hoser Denis Amyot was name top scorer for the whole tournament.
On December 8th,the Hosers hosted a tournament at their home rink called the “San Diego Roller Hockey Invitational.” The Hosers place 1st.
The San Diego – Los Angeles Rollerblade Hockey League
The Roller Blade Company sponsored a league this year involving some Los Angeles and San Diego teams and the Hosers would travel to Los Angeles every 3rd or 4th week and play two games in one day. And the LA teams would do the same in reverse. This league lasted for at least one season, maybe two, but the Hosers completely dominated the league.
The Hosers pick up their first sponsor: Bauer, the Canadian Hockey equipment manufacturer. As Captain Hatch relates:
“This was the year that I decided to go after sponsorship. We were sponsored by Bauer and received free equipment for our guys and I think we received $5,000 in travel money for tournaments.”
USAC/RS National Championships, National City
The Hosers place 1st in the Gold Division at their home rink in National City. This is the first Hoser National Championship. Roster: Hatch (C), Thompson (A), Weidinger (A), Amyot, Cline, Gyokery, Leviten, Smith, Stoike, and Thomson, Coach: Chapey. Thomson is named top goalie. Matt Moore may have also been on the roster as his name appears in the official 1992 nationals program but no one can remember if he actually played.
A group picture of the Hosers after clinching the title shows that at least three team members still on quad skates – Fran Weidinger, Bobby Smith and Marco Thompson –but the rest of the team were already skating on inline skates.
Once again, Hoser Captain Jim Hatch discusses the preparations for the ’92 nationals:
“Because of the disappointing finish in Gold in 1991, the fact that were we sponsored, and the increase in the level of local and national competition, I approached Paul and Marco about recruiting some better players. I started pulling in some guys I played ice hockey with and letting them get a taste of the competition and plied them with free equipment from Bauer. The strategy worked as we went on to win our first Gold Division.
The dedication to practice and travel from ’92 to ’94 was very impressive. Most Hosers had professional jobs ranging from sales, software design, accounting, law, etc. At the same time, many of the guys were starting families. This dedication to practice — and oftentimes actual drills — and the commitment to attending tournaments was the key to our success and is what made our team chemistry so successful.”
Hatch relates how a technology breakthrough regarding in-line frames was also beneficial to the Hosers:
“Another note of relevance was the first set of ‘aluminum frames’ to replace plastic roller blade frames. I think this was a real game changer as you were able to skate much stronger and faster without the flex in the frame. We were the first team to have them. Myself and Denis Amyot were the first, and within two practices, Denis was able to do a full hockey stop (the first person I ever saw do it) on inline skates. Within months we all had Milmar frames and they made us all much quicker not only skating straight ahead but with stopping and starting as well.”
“The Milmar frames were the first after-market aluminum frames. They changed the game and allowed much better skating performance. I remember the World Roller Hockey League’s tryouts at a rink in Fullerton. The Hosers were on Milmars and doing hockey stops. The other guys at the tryout couldn’t believe what they were seeing.”
The Los Angeles Times does a story on the Hosers as it prepares for the ’92 USAC nationals and interviews Paul Chapey:
“This year we picked up two great goal scorers. Those two forwards are a major, major change. For the first time in a couple of years, we’re doing some new things offensively and defensively.”
The Times article continues:
“Canadian Dan Gyokery and Californian Greg Stoike, who set scoring records at Northern Arizona, will bolster the offense. Team captain Jim Hatch and Dennis Amyot continue to carry the scoring load on the first line. Point Loma’s Francis Weidinger returns to lead the defense.”
The San Diego Union also features a story on the ’92 USAC nationals with a prominent focus on the Hosers:
“Jim Hatch, who played hockey at the University of Maine, captains the Hosers. He’s won so many roller-hockey trophies he’s referred to as Mr. Hardware. Hatch learned the game in the stress at south Mission Beach. A hockey purist who grew up in Boston, at first Hatch didn’t like the sport. No offsides? No icing? No way. But he’s come around. It reminds him of his Boston street hockey days. ‘All I’m after,’ said Hatch, ‘is accomplishing that goal I set three years ago when we first went to nationals.’ In other words,the gold division gold medal.”
The Hoser House League becomes a Feeder System for its Tournament Teams
By 1992, the in-house league run by the Hosers continues to be extremely competitive and was playing a key role in feeding high quality players to the travel team. As Fran Weidinger relates:
“Our in-house league was the Hoser feeder system and we had a great feeder system in the ’92-’94 era. Due to the Hoser success, we had lots of sponsors and money and so we attracted lots of good players but they had to fight their way onto a Hoser travel team spot. There’s no doubt the in-house league played a key role in strengthening the Hosers from day one and this is one reason why the Hosers became a national powerhouse. The cream rose to the top.
Our feeder league had a team called the Eggbeaters which I started with Mark Weidenger and Bobby Smith, and a team called the SD Kong led by Darren Chula and Andy Wozny. Several players from the Eggbeaters ended up traveling with the Hosers like Mike Duffy, Mauri Arminen, Bill Miller, Joe Busalacchi, Joel Louer, Mike Mathews, and Dean Wilson. The house league games were always very tight and very competitive. Our feeder teams were so strong that when we hosted an event at the La Mesa Sports Center, the Eggbeaters would usually defeat ‘dream teams’ from L.A.”
The Hosers win a variety of local tournaments including the “Southern California Roller Hockey Invitation” at a unknown location and the “Skateland Invitational Hockey Tournament” in Whittier.
Bauer continues to be the main Hoser sponsor.
USAC/RS National Championships, Berlin, NJ
The Hosers again win the Gold Division, defeating the Detroit System. Roster: Hatch (C), Amyot, Becker, Brisson, Cline, Gyokery, Leviten, Stoike, Thomson. Coaches: Chapey, Thompson. Thomson is once again named Most Valuable Goalie. Gyokery is named Top Scorer.
By this time, nearly all Hosers are on inline skates, so in a span of 3 seasons, the Hosers made the transition from quad skates to inline skates and still managed to be the best team in the country. By demonstrating they could win a national championship on inline skates, the Hosers expedited the movement nationwide to make the inline skate the standard skate for roller hockey.
In essence, the Hosers became the first competitive quad skate hockey club to make the transition to inline skates. This transition kicks off a huge movement in the roller hockey community that fundamentally changes the sport. Within two years, the sport completely abandons quad skates altogether and adopts inline skates, which, due to its similarity to the ice hockey skate, attracts large numbers of ice hockey players and creates an explosion of activity in the roller hockey world.
The Hosers are now the dominant roller hockey team in the USA. As Jim Hatch relates:
“The 1993 Koho Hosers were probably my favorite and our most dominating team. At this point we had probably been undefeated both locally and national for 40 straight games. I remember the opening face-off at nationals when our ‘French Connection’ (Dennis Amyot and Pat Brisson), starting speaking French and the opponents jaws dropped under intimidation and confusion.”
Chapey on the Hoser dominance that year:
“I remember the ’93 USAC event. We were playing the Philadelphia Scorchers, a top East Coast team. Nationals were at a rink in Berlin, New Jersey. The Hosers mercy ruled the Scorchers early on and sent a strong message that gave notice that the team was much stronger than the already powerful 1992 team.”
Richard Polidoro, USAC Meet director said this about the Hoser dominance:
“In the 29 year history of this event, no team has ever dominated as completely as the KOHO Hosers did this year.”
Indeed as Hoser Marco Thompson wrote in So. Cal. Hockey Street Talk magazine,
“In outscoring their competition 42 to 6 in six games, the Hosers repeated their championship performance of 1992….Low goalie award winner Don Thomson provided the defensive support for the Hosers, finishing the tournament with an incredible 1.00 GAA. ‘We played a defensive tournament,’ commented Don (Thomson], ‘Our guys only allowed maybe a third of the shots that the other guy saw in any given game. We had someone on top of every one of their offensive players at all times. I owe my 4 defensemen each a case of beer!’
Previous to the ’93 USAC nationals, leading New York quad hockey coach Ralphy Rich boasted in a New York Times interview that “We’re going to show those California In-line guys how New York roller hockey is played,” but when Rich brought a New York team – the Blaze –to the ’93 USAC nationals, they got their butts kicked 6-1 by the Hosers and finished 6 of 7 teams in the highest division. Rich’s only comment afterwards was “We didn’t get mercy ruled…”
Even three-time national champions St. Louis Blast was blasted 9-1 by the Hosers. Blast Captain Wayne Neis said this about the Hosers:
“The Hosers have changed the game. In-Line Skates and the Hoser team discipline, have taken the game to a whole new level.”
Indeed they did. Many credit the Hosers for developing the modern day inline strategy of employing a man-on-man defense and cycling the puck around and around waiting for the other team to make a mistake to be quickly exploited. This type of high-patience, heavy emphasis on puck possession, and shooting only sparingly, created an entirely new era of roller hockey strategy that set it completely apart from the Run-and-Gun, zone defense, shoot-as-often-as-possible strategies typically employed by ice hockey teams.
There is little doubt that by 1993, the Hosers did more than any other roller hockey team to make the sport strategically different than ice hockey in terms of how the game was played. From this year forward, roller hockey ceased to be “ice hockey on inline skates” and instead became a completely different sport in terms of how they game was played.
What do the Historians say about the Quad/Inline Transition?
USA Roller Sports historian George Pickard writes about this historic shift in Wikipedia:
“The very first inline roller hockey team to earn a USA National Championship title did so at a USA Roller Sports National Championship held in San Diego in July 1993. At the previous 1992 USARS National Championships, also staged in San Diego, the San Diego Hosers won the Senior Gold Division title wearing their customary quad roller skates. [Note: it would be more accurate if ‘1991’ was used instead of ‘1992’ since, as indicated above, most Hosers had switched to inlines by ‘92] As of that time, the Hosers manager/coach Paul Chapey felt that while inline skates were obviously faster, the advantage was to quad skates because of their assumed greater maneuverability.
During the ensuing year, Paul Chapey became an inline convert and the San Diego Hosers came back to the USAC/RS Nationals in 1993 entirely on inline skates and recaptured their national title. This significant event took place at least a year before all the other major roller inline hockey organizations were even in existence, including National Inline Hockey Association (NIHA), USA Hockey InLine, North American Roller Hockey Championships (NARCh) and American Inline Roller Hockey Series (AIRHS).”
Hoser founder Paul Chapey plays a Key Role in Developing the Speed Puck
1993 was also the year Hoser founder Paul Chapey developed the “speed puck,” along with Alex Bellehumeur, the cofounder of Roller Hockey International (RHI), the first professional roller hockey league. RHI was actually considering using a ball until Chapey told them “that’s the worst thing you can do.”
Chapey spent months refining and testing the puck and the whole idea of having upraised “beads” on a puck to minimize floor resistance was an innovation by Chapey. To develop this concept, Chapey placed thumbtacks around the perimeter of a 3M black electrical tape roll and he had the Hosers actually practice with these prototypes.
This prototype became what is known as the “speed puck” and became the standard for roller hockey teams and leagues world-wide. Previous to the speed puck, roller hockey players used very slow tape rolls or erratic plastic pucks filled with rice or sugar. The game becomes much faster as a result of the development of the speed puck and it greatly contributes to the growth of the sport worldwide.
The Hosers Influence Much of Today’s Roller Hockey Equipment
Many people are unaware of the role the Hosers – and specifically Paul Chapey – had in created a separate sport called roller hockey. Chapey did not want the sport to be considered “ice hockey on roller skates” and purposely designed or promoted gear and equipment that was unique to roller hockey.
Take the long pants for example. Many inline teams wore the heavy duty padded ice hockey shorts well into the 1990’s. However, the Hosers always wore long sweat pants and by 1994, Chapey, as head of NARCh, required all players to wear long pants and all other inline organizations followed suit. This created a demand for such pants and soon this became a common product sold by hockey equipment companies.
The light weight girdles – sometimes called “hip pads”– was also popularized by the Hosers, who actually tested them for some manufacturer. Skate frames, bearings, wheels and skates in general were routinely submitted to the Hosers for testing and changes proposed by the Hosers were often incorporated into the product. Today’s ultra light and tough roller hockey gear owes a lot to the influence of the Hosers in the 1990’s.
Hosers become involved in the First Professional Roller Hockey Leagues
This same year saw a professional inline league form called the World Roller Hockey League (WRHL), which initially involved at least eleven Hosers. This pro league was funded by the Disney Company and organized by promoter David McLane. WRHL games were played on an outdoor rink at the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. Former NHLers such as Ron Duguay and Pierre Larouche played in the league.
The WRHL season lasted slightly less than two months in the early summer of 1993. Games were taped during the short season and aired on ESPN. McLane hired Chapey as the Director of Player Development and Chapey organizes six teams. Hosers involved with the WRHL included Marco Thompson , Pat Brisson, Rich Garvey, Daryn Goodwin, Jim Hatch, Dan Gyokery, Greg Stoike, Charley Becker, Denis Amyot and Marc Cline.
However, due to a very slippery surface, an oversized, heavy, unworkable puck, flimsy sticks and other substandard equipment, many Hosers decide to not play – even abandoning salaries – as they felt the WRHL was an embarrassment to the sport. Rich Garvey tells us what happened:
“The new league and organization was not up to par with the standards that inline hockey had evolved to at that point and as such, considered the Hosers/Express as consultants. On the eve of the opening game of the WRHL, we had a team meeting where Jim Hatch declared that ‘this is Mickey Mouse’ and that ‘The Hoser organization has fought too hard to make inline hockey credible to play in this league.’
He then tore up small pieces of paper passed them around and said that we should have a team vote on whether to stay and play or return to California the next morning. This is where I spoke up and said what became known as ‘The Braveheart Speech.’ I told them that I had just started playing inline hockey and hadn’t even played in a game as a member of their team yet. I said, ‘From what I hear, you are the best team in the world right now and to me that means that you can beat anyone at anytime, under any conditions and we came here to prove that. The League has made every effort to accommodate us. When we told them that the floor was not adequate they changed it. When we told them that the equipment was not adequate they got us the right gear. This is an opportunity to showcase this sport that you guys have been pioneering!’
I then finished by saying, ‘We don’t need a vote, we have talked about this for an hour now and I know each of you is going to vote to leave.’ I then crumpled up the paper and said, ‘I don’t care if they make me the Captain of this team when you leave and give me a bunch of scrubs, I’m staying and playing on ESPN and I walked out the door… The next day they all flew back to San Diego…”
The rest is history, as Garvey says, and indeed he stayed and helped his team win the WRHL championships, but ironically, even Garvey didn’t financially benefit as a short time later he was offered a roster spot with the Los Angeles Blades of the newly formed Roller Hockey International (RHI) pro league. In order to accept that offer, Garvey had to break his WRHL contract and forego his salary.
Hoser pioneer Jim Hatch defends his actions regarding the WRHL:
“The only goal of the Hosers was to win the ‘National Championships’ so we did not go to Disney to win the WRHL but rather we saw it as a way to play new competition, stay in shape, and have some fun doing so.
Most of us had other careers and traveling back and forth from Florida was hard. Even though the Hosers were sponsored this year by KOHO, the WRHL was forcing us to wear inferior and unprotective equipment, use flimsy sticks, and play with a heavy puck that didn’t work. The goalie pads they gave to our goalie were so cheap an 8 year old would not wear them and the surface was unskateable and unplayable. I thought that playing in the WRHL would actually hurt our game and cost us a national championship. They did make some questionable equipment and surface changes but that all happened after we had already decided to leave.
Our goalie for WRHL was Mike O’Hara and he had a meltdown when he put on the ‘official’ cheap Franklin goalie pads required by the WRHL. He was adamant that he was going home if he had to play with these shitty pads and equipment. So after O’Hara’s meltdown, Marco and I took his personal goalie pads and the cheap Franklin goalie pads to the Disney ‘costume room’, cut off the Franklin logos and had them stitched onto O’Hara’s pads. The next day, O’Hara was as happy as he could be in his own pads. Other teams took notice of our creation and immediately started to complain. Ultimately, WRHL said we had couldn’t use these pads and that was the last straw for us, and we left.”
Incredibly, WRHL founder David McLane later told roller hockey historian Richard Graham a lie about why the Hosers left the WRHL but Captain Hatch sets the record straight:
“I recently read in a book published about the history of RHI, that David McLane claimed the reason the Hosers left is because they asked for more money and were declined. This is so far from the truth. The core of the Hosers could have cared less about being on ESPN or making $50 a game. We left because of the equipment and playing conditions and it was not preparing us to win the national championships. Indeed, after we left, we went home and prepared to win the 1993 USAC championships – which we did – and this was our goal all along. The ’93 team was probably the most dominant Hoser team ever.”
“Hatch is absolutely right about this. I am surprised that David McLane would say that. I think he might have done a Brian Williams and ‘misremembered.’”
As Hatch surely expected, The WRHL ceased operations after its initial season. Without the Hoser’s support and involvement, the WRHL had no credibility. As Hatch added,
“Looking back, it was a good decision. The quality of the play was laughable, and the guys I know who were associated with it were embarrassed about it.”
Later in 1993, the afore-mentioned Roller Hockey International (RHI) launches and is clearly a far more substantial league than was the WRHL. Once again, Hosers play a role in this league. While most RHI teams recruited solely ice hockey players, the San Diego Barracudas recruited 14 current or future Hosers during the course of four seasons: Charley Becker, Mark Cline, Bill Miller, Mike Duffey, Don Thomson, Jim Hatch, Greg Stoike, John Gravelle, Rich Garvey, Dean Wilson, Maukka Arminen, James Jensen, Stefan Grogg and Denis Amyot. Hoser Joe Noris coaches the Barracudas.
Another 19 current or future Hosers play for other RHI teams including Jamie Black, Joe Bonvie, Dave Butler, Kirk French, Daryn Goodwin, Ryan Harrison, Travis Hawkins, Kevin Hoffman, Freddie Jax, Brett Kurtz, Dennis Lefevre, Chris Morrison, Rick Plester, Brent Thurston, Roman Hubalek, Boyd Sutton, Terry Shook, Mike Donnelly and Denis Sproxton. A total of 33 Hosers play in the RHI; no other roller hockey team in the country even comes close to that number.
The Hosers are sponsored by Koho this year.
USAC/RS National Championships, Berlin, NJ
The Hosers once again place 1st in the highest Division, defeating the Detroit Bauer System 4-2. Roster: Hatch (C), Amyot, Arminen, Becker, Cline, Duffey, Goodwin, Gyokery, Stoike, Shook, Morris, Thomson. Coaches: Chapey, Thompson.
The Hosers lose only one game at the USAC nationals; their only loss in three years! In an article in Roller Hockey magazine, Hoser Jim Hatch is asked about the Hoser winning streak:
“Question: How long did your unbeaten streak last? [Hatch answers] We went 61-0-4 since October 1991. We had lost a double overtime championship game to the St. Louis Blast in Princeton, New Jersey. The majority of our subsequent games were against nationally ranked teams. We don’t play in local leagues. We only go to tournaments. We’ve won 13 straight tournaments.”
NARCh Finals, All-American Sports Mall, St. Louis, MO
This was the first NARCh finals and it featured 39 teams. The Hoser men’s team enter the platinum division and did not medal. The Bauer Barnstorm wins the Gold medal. Roster: Hatch (C), Amyot, Arminen, Becker, Cline, Duffey, Goodwin, Gyokery, Stoike, Shook, Mathews, Carey, Thomson, Thompson. Coach: Chapey.
Captain Hatch comments on 1994:
“This was the year that the dynamics of the Hosers really changed. We had recruited more and become more of a tournament team with very little practice time as a complete team. We still had our local core but had to add from outside to compete. The local guys were still very dedicated to practicing every week. The players in the game were now bigger, stronger, faster and with very high levels of ice hockey background. We won USAC Gold, but lost Narch which was huge disappointment and resulted in the change.”
The St. Louis Blast 2nd Invitational Challenge Cup, St. Louis, All-American Sports Mall
The Hosers place first at this event, with 6 victories and a tie with the St. Louis Blast. Roster: Hatch (C), Cline (A), Becker (A), Amyot, Arminen, Brisson, Duffey, Gyokery, Leviten, Stoike, Thomson. Coaches: Chapey, Thompson.
On the way home, an incident occurs that has become Hoser lore. Jim Hatch relates the story:
“After we won, we drank beer in the parking lot, the car and at the airport. We had two cases of beer in bags and actually put them through security. Malka actually put an open beer through the x-ray machine and then grabbed it and guzzled it on the other side of the machine. We boarded and the trophy was strapped into a seat via seatbelt. We drank those two cases on the plane and put the emptys under each other’s seats. We made so much noise that we were not allowed onto the connecting flight from Phoenix to San Diego and had to rent a van to get home. Dan Gyokery had to squeeze into the very back of the van with the trophy. Marc Cline drove. Greg Stoike was smart and went and bought another ticket while in Phoenix.”
Hoser Founder Launches NARCh
1994 is also the year Hoser founder Paul Chapey launches NARCh, now considered the foremost roller hockey tournament series in the world. NARCh is credited with dramatically raising the level of play for the sport of roller hockey. Chapey felt that the existing roller hockey establishment was not doing enough to promote and market inline roller hockey to a whole new generation of potential players and his frustration led him to create NARCh. Hoser pioneer Fran Weidinger becomes NARCh’s tournament coordinator and office manager in its early years.
A few years later, Roller Hockey Magazine would recognize Paul Chapey’s contribution to roller hockey by naming him the #1 “most influential person” in the development of modern day roller hockey for his role in creating “the premier amateur roller hockey event in the world [NARCh].”
Koho continues to sponsor the Hosers this year.
USAC/RS National Championships, Chicago, ILL , Odeum Sports Complex
The Hosers place 2nd in the highest division (Gold), losing to Team Easton 7-3. Roster: Hatch (C), Shook, Stoike, Amyot, Duffey, Mathews, Wilson, Becker, Maxwell, Thomson, Gyokery, Cline, Goodwin, Arminen. The Coach is Paul Chapey. As Chapey relates:
“That game was taped and later televised. The Team Easton goalie was a guy named Jim Webb, a very large man and one of the most dominant goalies ever in roller hockey. At the time USAC was still using the small nets. If we had Mike Duffey for that game and Webb wasn’t in goal, we would have won pretty easily.”
NARCh Finals, St. Louis, All-American Sports Mall
The Hosers placed 2nd in the men’s platinum finals, losing to Team Easton 6-2. Roster: Hatch (C), Thomson, Shook, Stoike, Amyot, Duffey, Mathews, Wilson, Becker, Gyokery, Cline, Goodwin, Arminen and Carey. Coach: Chapey.
Hoser Founder Coaches First Team USA Inline Team
USAC selects Hoser leader Paul Chapey to be head coach of the first ever Team USA inline hockey team and Hosers Mike Duffey, Mike Mathews, Dean Wilson and Daryn Goodwin are selected to the team. With Hosers comprising a third of the team, Team USA wins the gold medal at the first ever FIRS world roller hockey championships in Chicago.
Teams from the Hoser House League began to compete in tournaments
Some of the teams from the Hoser-created house league, such as San Diego Kongs and the San Diego Eggbeaters, began to compete in regional tournaments — and do well. For example, the Kongs place 1st and the Eggbeaters place 4th at the 1995 Koho Cup championships. Such teams also began to compete in the lower levels at USAC nationals such as the Silver and Copper Divisions.
Koho sponsors the Hosers this year.
USAC/RS National Championships, Chicago, Odeum Sports Complex
The Hosers once again take first place in the top division by defeating the Philly Scorchers. Roster: Hatch (C), Duffey, Goodwin, Langheinrich, Mathews, Miller, Noris, Shook, Sproxton, Sutton, Louer. Coach: Thompson. Goodwin is the high scorer.
NARCh Finals, Chicago, Odeum Sports Complex
The Hosers enter the NARCh Finals, platinum division, but do not medal. Team Easton places 1st and Franklin/LaBeda Vikings take 2nd. Roster: Duffey, Goodwin, Gravelle, Shook, Sutton? Mathews, Miller, Zilinskas, Wilson. Coach: Thompson
Hosers Daryn Goodwin, Boyd Sutton, Dennis Lefevre and Terry Shook are chosen to the FIRS Team USA inline team. The Jr. Mens USA team selects Hosers Mike Morrow and Dave Brito. Lefevre is named AAU “Athlete of the Year.” Boyd Sutton also plays on the IIHF/USA Hockey Team USA team.
The Hosers sponsor this year is Kryptonics.
USAC/RS National Championships, Des Moines
The Hosers place 2nd in the Men’s Gold Division, losing to the Tour Rebels. Roster: Goodwin, Gravelle, Wilson, Sutton, Miller, Mathews, Duffey, Garvey, Garvey, Hatch, Thompson, Noris, Carey, Spoxton and Shook. Coach: Jim Hatch.
NARCh Finals, Vancouver, Great Pacific Forum
The Hosers place 3rd in the Men’s Platinum Division. They lose to Team Mission in a controversial semi-final with a Hoser goal being disallowed that would have given the game to the Hosers. Roster: Duffey, Garvey, Gravelle, Wilson, Miller, Goodwin, Arminen, Sproxton, Carey and Sutton. Spoxton is named Top Goalie. Rich Garvey tells the story:
“This was the controversial tournament that helped change how the format for NARCh is played today…They played a round robin/points system at the time and we knew that all we needed to do was tie Team Mission and we would win NARCh Finals.
I scored on a rebound to tie the game with very little time remaining. The puck hit the back of the net and I raised my stick and was about to be mobbed by Mike Duffey when Joe Cook was pushing the net off its moorings. The referee was accosted by The Mission players and caved to their objections, waving off the goal and robbing us of our Championship while relegating us to third place… Incidentally, I have a photo of our celebrating that goal, Daryn has shown a video of that goal validating our victory and Joe Cook has admitted that it was a bad call!”
NARCh Winter Nationals, Huntington Beach, Coast to Coast
The Hosers win the Men’s Division for the first NARCh Winter Nationals, defeating Team Mission 3-1. Roster: Goodwin (C), Brito, Carey, Duffey, Garvey, Miller, Mathews, Kurtz, Sproxton, Wilson, and Sutton. Coaches: Thompson, Hatch. Sproxton is named MVP. As a NARCh publication relates:
“The Hoser legend continues to grow. Reeling after a first game blowout at the hands of Team Mission, the Flightdeck Hosers regrouped to sweep the next 5 games to win the inaugural Winternationals Mens Division. The championship game, a re-match against Mission, will go down in history as one of the fastest and most exciting games ever played. Dean Wilson, a new addition to the Hoser line-up this year, scored a empty net goal with a minute to play, icing the game at 3-1.”
This game was even written about in the Inline Hockey News which describes the talent level on the losing Team Mission team:
“How impressive was the victory for the Hosers? Cook plays for RHI’s Anaheim Bullfrogs and was the MVP of last year’s IIHF inline finals after leading Team USA to a world championship. He was joined by former professional Christian Lalonde, Shayne Arsenault and Mike Butters. Kenney was joined by Paul Melton, his Team Canada teammate from the IIHF Worlds….’Judging from the packed stands, people were expecting something special,’ said Winternationals tournament director John Black….”
A NARCh publication gushes about the talent level of the ‘97 Hoser team:
“The Hosers are led by Captain Daryn Goodwin, who has 2 World Championships to his credit along with RHI experience. Boyd Sutton was an NHL draft pick, played in the IHL and has RHI experience with Phoenix, also has 2 World Championships to his credit. Mike Mathews played NCAA division 11 and a world championship as alternate captain for Team USA. Mike Duffey has RHI experience with the San Diego Barracudas, and is a two time FIRS World Champion.
Brett Kurtz was captain at the University of Wisconsin, D1 ice hockey team and played in the RHI….Dennis Sproxton played in the ECHL and also in RHI. Rich Garvey played on numerous RHI teams. Dean Wilson played on the National Championship NCAA D11 Bemidji State and also on various RHI teams. Bill Miller play in the Colonial League, the Western Professional Ice Hockey league, West Coast League and the San Diego Barracudas in RHI. Dave Brito played for team USA in the Junior World championship last summer and Carey, Sproxton’s backup, has played Canadian junior hockey.”
NARCh Rec Nationals, Las Vegas
The Hosers win the first ever 35+ division at a NARCh event. Roster: Hatch, Amyot, Thompson, Weidinger, Cline, Miller, Becker, Stoike, Arminen, Morrow.
Amyot remembers one crises:
“I think Bill Morrow was our goalie but he overslept so we put Marco in the net.”
The Hosers begin practicing at the new outdoor rink at the Folsom’s Recreation Center in North Park where Hoser Joe Noris is the hockey director.
Flightdeck was the Hoser’s main sponsor this year.
Hosers Daryn Goodwin, Boyd Sutton, Terry Shook and Mike Duffy are chosen to the Team USA inline team. Jon Bonvie is named to the IIHF/USA Hockey Team USA team. Some Hosers, such as Rich Garvey, are recruited to play in a new professional roller hockey league called “Pro Beach Hockey.”
USAC/RS National Championships, Des Moines
The Hosers place first in the top division once again. Roster: Goodwin (C), Black, Englund, Duffey, Sutton, Lefevre, Gravelle, Hubalek, Miller, Noris, Plester, Porter. Coach: Noris, Goodwin. Plester wins the most valuable goalie award and Goodwin wins the MVP award.
This year is generally considered the peak for the Hoser men’s team being considered a national powerhouse. Roller Hockey Magazine does a story about the greatest roller hockey teams of the last half-decade and list the Hosers as #1:
“Hosers – head and shoulders above the rest.The New York Yankees of amateur roller hockey.”
Many observers credit Captain Jim Hatch for the Hoser dominance. As the 1997 NARCh program states:
“Ask the knowledgeable fans why the Hosers dominate the game, and you will hear the name Jim Hatch. As team captain from ’89 to ’95, Hatch led the team to three national titles. On the way, he picked up numerous MVP and scoring titles. More importantly, Hatch has led the team’s constant recruiting and reinvention process. Hatch played Division 1 at the University of Maine.”
However, long time Hoser Mike Duffey thinks other forces are at work:
“I think that our Moose logo is the key to our success (stated while sipping a beverage with a Moose on the label).”
NARCh Finals, Alpharetta, Georgia, The Cooler
The Hoser men’s team places 3rd in the pro division. Franklin LaBeda placed 1st and Team Mission was 2nd. Roster: Plester, Duffey, Noris, Englund, Gravelle, Porter, Miller, Goodwin, Black, Morrow, Hubalek, Hatch, Thompson, Lafever, Sproxton, Krieger.
NARCh Winter Nationals, Lakeland, Florida
The Hosers place 4th in the men’s division. Roster: Bonvie, Duffey, Wilson, Noris, Sproxton, Garvey, Gravelle, Busalacchi, Miller, Englund, Goodwin, Smith.
NARCh Summer Cup, Las Vegas
The Hosers win the 35+ title. Roster: Hatch, Amyot, Thompson, Becker, Stoike, Noris, Labeda, Arminen, and Thomson.
The Hoser men’s team places 1st at the AIRHS Southern California regional at the LaBeda Hockey Center in Lake Elsinore. Roster: Chula, Duffey, Noris, Hawkins, Sproxton, Black, Noris, Morrow, and Gray.
The U12 Hosers attend the AIRHS Nationals in Las Vegas. This is the first Hoser youth team to compete at a tournament. Roster: Davis, Broderick, Henry, Moyer, Jones, Chapparone, Milks, Birkle, Barton. Coaches: Bryan Broderick, Jon Milks.
USA Hockey Inline National Championships, Chicago
The Hoser men’s team placed 7th. Roster: Wilson, Sproxton, Garvey, Butler, Goodwin, Gravelle, Englund, Noris, Lefevre, Newell, Hawkins.
St. Louis Blast Christmas Cup, St. Louis, All-American Sports Mall
The team placed 3rd. Roster: Unknown.
CCM becomes the Hoser’s main sponsor this year and that sponsorship continues until 2005. CCM underwrote expenses this year totaling $22, 500. Other sponsors this year include the Cooler and Marco Thompson.
Hosers Daryn Goodwin, Boyd Sutton, Speedy Gonzalez and Terry Shook are chosen to the Team USA inline team.
The Hosers did not send a team to USAC championships this year. Around this time, USAC was rethinking its role in inline hockey and begins the process of turning over its roller hockey operations to the AAU.
NARCh Finals, Alpharetta, Georgia, The Cooler
The Hosers men’s team enters the Pro Division but do not medal. Team Franklin places 1st. Roster: Noris, Duffey, Porter, Plester, Gravelle, Hubalek, Black, Shook, Morrow, Arminen, Drury, Englund and Hawkins. Coach: Joe Noris.
As Mike Duffey commented,
“by 1999 the core Hoser men’s group is getting older and younger, faster teams are beating us.”
The Hoser U14 team attended and lost in the semi-finals of the Gold Division. Roster: Goodrich, Gorda, Birkle, Bernad, Broderick, Milks, Seal, Ambuter, Eyserbeck, Romo, Meisner, Chapparone, Shapley, Barton. Coaches: Broderick, Chapparone, and Bernad. There were other players on this team but who didn’t attend NARCh finals such Meadowcroft.
The Hoser U10 team attended but did not medal. Roster: Diehl, Ingram, Lopez, Spurdle, Comrie, Lockwood, Sansone and goalie Jonathon Glant. Coach: Fred Comrie
The Hoser U8 team places third in NARCh Platinum. Roster: Noris, Purdy, Hoshaw, Edwards, Mercer, Nunez, Nash, Hill, Demopoulos. This team won the extremely competitive NARCh regional in Huntington Beach to qualify for Nationals. At the regional, Purdy was named top goalie and Hill was named high scorer.
NARCh Winter Nationals, Las Vegas, Crystal Palace
The Hoser men’s team places 3rd in the Pro Division. Team Franklin placed first. Roster: Englund, Plester, Goodwin, Noris, Hubalek, Ryan, Gravelle, Sproxton, Hawkins and Duffey. High scorer: Goodwin.
The Hoser U14 team places 4th. Roster: Goodrich, Gorda, Birkle, Bernad, Broderick, Milks, Seal, Ambuter, Meisner, Chapparone, Shapley, Barton. Coaches: Broderick, Chapparone and Bernad.
The U14 Hoser team wins the Southeast regional in Chandler, AZ and then goes on to attend the AIRHS nationals at the Gretzky Center in LaVerne and Upland, CA. How the team placed is unknown. Roster: Goodrich, Gorda, Birkle, Bernad, Broderick, Milks, Seal, Ambuter, Eyserbeck, Romo, Meisner, Chapparone, Shapley, Barton. Coaches: Broderick, Chapparone, and Bernad.
Tour Pacific Cup
The Hoser U14 team places 1st. Roster: Goodrich, Gorda, Birkle, Bernad, Broderick, Milks, Seal, Ambuter, Eyserbeck, Romo, Meisner, Chapparone, Shapley, Barton. Coaches: Broderick, Chapparone, and Bernad.
Six Pack National Championships, Las Vegas
The Hoser “squirt” U14 team wins the National Six-Pac Championships. Roster: Goodrich, Bernad, Broderick, Seal, Swanberg, Romo, Franz, Chapperone, Ambuter, Birkle, Mata, Meisner. Coaches: Broderick, Chapparone, and Bernad.
St. Louis Tour Chistmas Cup
The Hoser men’s team loses to the Pepsi team in the finals. Roster: Miller, Morrison, French, Shook, Duffey, Arminen, Gravelle, Hubalek, Goodwin, Newell, Hawkins and Plester.
Hatch Retires from the Hosers; Joe Noris Assumes Control of the Hosers
Long-time Hoser captain Jim Hatch retires from the Hosers and moves to Seattle. Former NHL and WHA ice hockey professional and Hoser Joe Noris takes control of the Hoser program and ultimately builds national caliber youth Hoser teams in every age group.
Joe Noris forms Hosers youth in these age categories: 8U (both A & B), 10U, 12U, 14U and 16U. These teams began to compete in the “Koho (later called Tour) Pacific Cup” events and “Six Pack” events. The better teams begin to attend NARCh regionals and nationals. The youth teams have some practices at the Gretzky Roller Hockey Center in San Marcos where Noris is the hockey director. A December 15, 1999 memo from Joe Noris to Marco Thompson (by this time, a key Hoser sponsor) relates that organizing this many teams is not an easy task:
“I am making progress with the Hosers in all divisions. The process of building the teams and organization has been quite a task….there are some unique challenges in working with very talented and driven athletes.”
A group of adult Hosers travel to Vrazuk, Brazil to participate in the “First Annual Brasil International Invitational” in June, unofficially representing the USA. Roster: Thompson (C), Duffey, Arminen, Miller, Thomson, Becker, and Grogg. The USA places first.
Hosers Daryn Goodwin, Boyd Sutton, and Terry Shook are chosen to the Team USA inline team. Morever, Terry Shook and Boyd Sutton are chosen to play for the United States in the 1999 Pan American Games hosted by Winnipeg. Both teams are coached by Hoser Joe Noris. This was the first ever appearance of inline roller hockey at any Olympic related event. Team USA wins the gold medal.
The main sponsors of the Hosers this year are CCM, Sprung Hockey and Marco Thompson.
NARCh Finals, Toronto, Brampton Centre
he Hoser men’s team enters the pro division at NARCh but loses to Mission Black 6-3 in the first round of play-offs. The Hosers place 4th. Roster: Duffey, Gravelle, Capelle, Newell, Cooke, Thurston, Brito, French, Harrison, Hoffman, Hawkins, Plester, Morrison, Hubalek, Donnelly. Coach: Joe Noris.
By this year, Joe Noris has youth Hoser teams organized in every age group from U8 to U21 and all teams attend the NARCh Finals.
The U21 “Division 1” team loses in the quarter finals. Roster: Zimmerman (C), Sadenwasser, Newell, Gray, Alford, Morrow, Cullwell, Pham, Hedge, Merklin, and Eriksen. Coaches: Dean Wilson, Joe Noris; Manager: Gary Lents. Sadenwasser didn’t play much because he broke his collar bone warming up with the U18 team.
The U21 Team did get into a little trouble in Toronto, boys being boys. I’ll let Hoser Tom Cullwell make the confession:
“We were doing a little torturing on the Junior [U18] team and sprayed their room down, hallway, pretty much the whole floor, with fire extinguishers and then we, being as smart as we are, placed the extinguishers out front of a random team (who was staying in the same hotel) door thinking they would get the blame. However, the footprints from the dust led right from the extinguishers to our door. We pretended to be sleeping and the cops came banging on the door and yelled ‘Rise and Shine Boys, You’re going to jail!’ Joel answered the door in his boxers to make it appear we were sleeping, but they didn’t fall for it. We were able to talk them out of doing anything to us, jail or fines, and left. It was pretty fun. We tortured the Jr team (they were all of our little bros) pretty good that year.”
The U18 Hoser team enters the Platinum Division but does not medal. Roster: Lents, Higson N., Mueller, Jones E., Jones N.(C), Newell (C), Sadenwasser, Brassfield, McDaniel, Comrie (Brian), Siebenthal, M., Siebenthal, J., Merklin, Alford, Delgado? Coach: Gary Lents
The U16 Hoser team loses in the semi-finals in the Gold Division and place 4th. Roster: Ambuter, Meisner, Seal, Birkle, Chapparone, Shapley, Milks (on the roster but injured), [By this time, several members of this team had formed a new team called Team Dynamo]. Coach: Chapparone?
The U14 Hoser enters the Platinum Division but does not medal and loses in the first playoff round. Roster: Goodrich, Broderick, Seal, Ambuter, Miesner, Birkle, Mata, Swanberg, Romo, Chapparone, Franz. Seal wins 2nd place in goalie skills. Rafael Rodriquez played with this group in local tournaments but did not attend nationals with them.
The U12 Hoser does not medal. Roster: Meisner, A.?, Ingram, Lopez, Spurdle, Comrie, Lockwood, Diehl, Sansone, Glant. Coach: Comrie.
The U10 Hoser team place 5th in Platinum at NARCh. Roster: Noris, Mercer, Nash, Purdy, Edwards G., Ness, Knight, Garvin, Carrol, Corbin.
The U8 Team enters the Platinum Division but does not medal. Roster: Parker, Escarcega, Edwards, Q, Leins, Cydell, Edson, Decaro, Walters, Campe, Hatch, Francis, Taylor and Turk. Parker is named to the All-Star team. Coach: Joe Noris
NARCh Winter Nationals, Las Vegas, Crystal Palace
The U21 Hoser team loses in the semis to Buffalo Mission Jr. Wings. Roster: Sadenwasser, Newell, Gray, Cullwell, Pham, Merklin, Hedge, Morrow?. Manager: Gary Lents.
Tour Pacific Cup, Anaheim, CA
This year the Hosers send its U21, U18, U16, U14, U12, U10, and U8 teams to the Tour Pacific Cup.
The U21 Hoser team places 3rd. Roster: Morrow, Zimmerman, White, Merklin, Hedge, Gray, Gray, Sadenwasser, Cullwell, Newell, Pham.
The U18 Hoser team become to first San Diego-based team to win the Junior Gold Division at the Tour Pacific Cup 3-2 over the Northern California Mustangs. Roster. Lents, Higson, Mueller, Jones E, Jones N (c), Newell (C), Sadenwasser, Brassfield, McDaniel, Merklin, Alford.
The U14 Hoser team placed 4th in the Gold Division. Roster: Goodrich, Broderick, Seal, Ambuter, Miesner, Birkle, Mata, Swanberg, Romo, Chapparone, Franz.
The U10 Hoser team places 3rd in the Gold Division. Roster: Roster: Noris, Mercer, Nash, Purdy, Edwards G., Ness, Knight, Garvin, Carrol, Corbin.
The U8 Hoser team places 4th in the Platinum Division. Roster: Baldwin, Parker, Escarcega, Edwards, Q., Leins, Cydell, Edson, Decaro, Walters, Campe, Hatch, Francis, and Turk, Coach: Joe Noris. Purdy is named top goalie.
Six Pack National Championships
The U8 Hosers win the Six Pack National Championships. Roster: Baldwin, Parker, Escarcega, Edwards, Q., Leins, Cydell, Edson, Decaro, Walters, Campe, Hatch, Francis, Osborn, Golightly and Turk, Coach: Joe Noris.
The Bauer Cup, Irvine, CA, Gretzky Center
The U14 Hoser team places 2nd at the “Bauer Cup” in July. Roster: Goodrich, Broderick, Milks, Seal, Ambuter, Miesner, Birkle, Moyer, Henry. Coaches: Joe Noris, Dave Figuero. Manager: Jonathan Milks.
Hoser Joe Noris leases the Sweetwater rink which by this time has been renamed “Skate San Diego.” All Hoser youth and adult teams begin to practice here.
The main Hoser sponsers this year are CCM and Marco Thompson.
Hosers Boyd Sutton and Terry Shook are chosen to the Team USA inline team.
NARCh Finals, Estero, FL, Teco Arena
The Hosers enter a pro team but do not medal. Roster: Newell, Garvey, Duffey, Wilson, Goodwin, Miller.
The Hoser U16 team does not make the playoffs. Roster: Raff, Mata, Goodrich, Broderick, Chapparone, Franz, Meisner, Seal, Milks. Manager: Jonathan Milks.
The Hoser U12 team does not medal. Roster: Purdy, Edwards G., Parker, Grahl, Ruhwedel, Noris, Eveland, Hansen, Pool, Park. Coach: Noris. There were others who played for this team like Spunt, but who didn’t attend nationals.
The Hoser U10 team does not medal. Roster: Parker, Nash, Noris, Mercer, Ness, Knight, Garvin, Carrol, Corbin, Nunez. Coach: Noris.
NARCh, Winter Nationals, Las Vegas, Crystal Palace
The Hosers Pro team does not medal. Roster: Arminen, Newell, Gray, Henderson, Morrow, Brito, Black, Hoffman, Pham?
The 35 + Hoser team places 3rd. Roster: LaBeda, C., Thompson, Thomson, Duffey, Arminen, Becker and Chula.
The Hoser U21 team loses 3-2 in the quarter finals to the Mission Jr. Buffalo Wings. Roster. Zimmerman (C), Morrow, Brito, Henderson, Sadenwasser, Newell, Gray, Delgado, Pham, Culwell. High Scorer: Gray. Team members were angry about this finish because NARCh scheduled pro playoffs at the same time as U21 playoffs and at least three players: Morrow, Brito, Newell, Henderson?, are called up to the pro team. Had the team remained intact, this Hoser team would have won the U21 division.
Tour Pacific Cup Finals, Anaheim
The Hoser U10 team and other youth Hoser teams compete in the Pacific Cup Finals in Anaheim.
California State Games
The Hoser U10 team wins the California State Games. Roster: Parker, Nash, Noris, Mercer, Ness, Knight, Garvin, Carrol, Corbin
Hosers Terry Shook and Joe Bonvie are selected to serve on the FIRS Team USA inline team. Rich Garvey is named to the IIFH/USA Hockey Team USA team.
The main sponsors this year are CCM and Marco Thompson.
NARCh Finals, St. Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center
The Hosers place 5th in the pro division. Roster: Shook, Miller, Gravelle, Duffey, Brito, Morrow, Newel, Morris, Hawkins, Brayer and Jensen. Coach: Noris.
A Hoser 35+ team places 2nd , losing 3-2 to the Tour Powerhouse Blast from Ontario. Roster: Noris, Arminen, Duffey, Bissert, Gravelle, Miller, Shook, Becker, Zarem, Thompson, Thomson, Milton.
NARCh Winter Nationals, Las Vegas, Crystal Palace
The Hoser 35+ team places 1st. Roster: Duffey, Noris, Becker, Arminen, Thomson, Shook, Maley, Butz, Amyot, Sutton, Gravelle, Milton? Chula. Coaches: Thompson, Johnny Noris, Valentine. High Scorer: Gravelle
California State Games, National City, Skate San Diego
The Hoser U12 team wins the California State Games held at Skate San Diego. Roster: Nash, Bennett, Mercer, Ness, Knight, Garvin, Corbin, Carrol, Noris. Coach: Noris
Paul Chapey and co-owner Jeff Mason sell NARCh to Hoser Daryn Goodwin who played for the Hosers from ’93-’98. Goodwin continues NARCh’s legacy of being the most competitive inline program in the world. Even today, the NARCh platinum division is considered by many to be more competitive than the World Inline Championships. Dozens of Hosers have became stars on the NARCh circuit over the years and the Hosers are proud to have played such a key role in making NARCh a success. At least 80 NHL players have played in NARCh events.
Hoser Rich Garvey is selected to the FIRS Team USA inline team. Hoser Dave Brito is selected to the USA Hockey/IIHF Team USA Inline team.
CCM and Marco Thompson remain the main Hoser sponsors.
NARCh Finals, Estero, FL, Teco Arena
The Hosers win the 35+ Division, defeating Can Am of Michigan. Roster: Chula, Duffey, Noris, Burke, Zarem, LaBeda, Shook, Garvey, Chornomud, Arminen, Gravelle?
The Hoser U12 Team placed 4th. Roster: Parker, Grahl, Ruwedel, Knight, Corbin, Edwards, G., Nash, Noris, Mercer, Purdy.
The Hoser U14 ‘88 team makes it to the NARCh platinum semi-finals but do not medal. They place 4th. They were defeated by the OC Blades, the eventual U14 winner. Possible roster: Sansone, Lockwood, Spurdle, Comrie, Diehl, Ingram, Cohen, Lopez and Glant. Coach: Fred Comrie. Glant wins Most Valuable Goalie.
NARCh Winter Nationals, Las Vegas, Crystal Palace
The Hoser 35+ team places first, defeating the Prehistoric Flintstones 4-1. Roster: Thompson, Butz, Garvey, Duffey, Arminen, Shook, Becker, Chornomud, Maxwell, Thomson, Holmes, Labeda (C). Top scorer: Becker. Coaches: Thompson, Becker.
Tour Pacific Cup Finals
A number of Hoser youth teams compete in the Pacific Cup finals.
Hosers Dave Brito and Rich Garvey are chosen to the FIRS Team USA inline team coached by Hoser Rob Chornomud.
Mike Duffey is inducted into the USA Roller Sports Hall of Fame for being the “premier defenseman in inline hockey” and being a “member of the San Diego Hoser championship teams from 1992-1994, that made the transition in puck roller hockey from quad skates to exclusively inline skates.” Rich Garvey is chosen to play for Team USA inline team at the Pan-American Games which is coached by Hoser Rob Chornomud.
LaBeda is the main Hoser sponsor this year.
NARCh Finals, Cincinnati, OH
The Hosers U16 team places 4th at the NARCh Platinum finals. Possible roster: Sansone, Lockwood, Comrie, Diehl, Ingram, Lopez, and Cohen. Coach: Fred Comrie.
NARCh, Winter Nationals, Las Vegas, Crystal Palace
The 35+ men’s Hoser team places 1st, by defeating the Tour Bordercats 4-3. Roster: Duffey, Gravelle, Garvey, LaBeda, C., Capelle, Chornomud, Arminen, Becker, Hudson, Thompson, Noris, Chula and Burke. Coach: Thompson. Burke wins the Most Valuable Goalie award. Chula scores the game winning goal.
Tour Pacific Cup Finals
Hoser youth teams compete at the Pacific Cup finals.
Hosers Dave Brito and Rich Garvey are chosen to be on the FIRS Team USA inline team coached by Rob Chornomud.
Hoser Daryn Goodwin is inducted into the USA Roller Sports Hall of Fame. Chornomud is named AAU “Coach of the Year.”
The Hoser’s sponser this year is the Sprung Hockey company.
NARCh Finals, Estero, FL, Teco Arena
A Hoser men’s team may have entered this event, but not certain. Roster unknown.
The Hoser U16 team takes 1st in the Gold Division. Roster: Sansone, Lockwood, Spurdle, Comrie, Diehl, Ingram, Lopez and Cohen. Coach: Fred Comrie and Dean Wilson.
Comment by team member Steve Lockwood:
“Timothy [Spurdle] was a huge asset to the team even though he needed training wheels. Let’s not forget he scored the OT game winner in the semi’s. There was a huge crowd – they went wild.”
NARCh Winter Nationals, Reno
The Hoser 35+ men’s team places 2nd. Roster: Becker, Noris, LaBeda, C., Burke, Sandercock, Thompson, Chornomud, Wilson,
Tour Pacific Cup Finals, Anaheim
The Hoser U14 team placed 2nd. Roster: unknown
Hoser Rob Chornomud is named coach for the FIRS Team USA team.
NARCh Winter Nationals, Phoenix, AZ
Hosers place 2nd in the 35+ division, losing to Mission Arizona Stars. Roster: Thomson, Goodwin, Holmstrom, Garvey (Randy), Garvey (Rich), Miller, Noris, Chula and LaBeda, K.
In 2006, Hosers Boyd Sutton and Rob Chornomud are inducted into the USA Roller Sports Hall of Fame. Chornomud coached the FIRS Team USA team.
The Hosers are sponsored by Koho this year.
The End of an Era
This year marks the end of a remarkable era of Hoser dominance — from 1992 to 2006. This dominance faded for a number of reasons. First, the rest of the roller hockey world simply caught up to the Hosers in terms of attracting, and converting, talented ice hockey players into roller hockey players, and secondly, the core Hosers were aging and it became difficult to attract new younger top players due to the abundance of generously-sponsored teams offering lots of benefits. As Joe Noris relates:
“As the Hoser’s fame grew, some of our top players are being lured away by other teams with generous sponsors who promised free equipment and taking care of tournament fees. Everyone wanted to steal players from the Hosers.”
Here’s how the 1997 NARCh program describes the Hoser dominance:
“From the ’92 through the ’94 seasons, the Hosers went undefeated in regional and national tournament play for a stretch of 62 games…Hoser dominance of the West Coast goes back to 1990. Since that time, the Hoser have entered 18 regional tournaments, and have 15 championships to show for it.”
2007 – 2013
The Hosers are dormant these years. During this time period, Hoser Rob Chornomud coaches the FIRS 2007 Team USA team. Joe Noris coaches the FIRS Team USA in 2008 and is named “Coach of the Year” by the AAU. Hoser Luis “Speedy” Gonzalez is chosen to play on the FIRS 2008 Team USA. In 2009, Noris coaches the FIRS 2009 Team USA team and the Team USA team that attends the 2009 Pan American Games. In 2011, Hoser Kekoa Latimore is chosen for the FIRS Jr. Mens Team USA team. In 2013, Hoser Jamie Cooke is chosen to play for the FIRS Team USA team. Hoser Raf Rodriquez is selected to the USA Hockey/IIHF Team USA team in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Hoser Dakota Eveland is selected to the USA Hockey Team USA in 2013.
Hoser Terry Shook is inducted into the USA Roller Sports Hall of Fame.
The most important event for the Hosers during this time period is the creation of a new inline facility that will give a new birth to the Hosers. The old Hoser rink – Skate San Diego – was becoming increasingly decrepit and the owner did not desire to renew the lease. In 2013, Joe Noris – who leased Skate San Diego — moves his boards and his tile floor to a new facility in El Cajon, also called Skate San Diego. For over a year, a crew of hockey players work to convert this facility – an old bowling alley – to a roller hockey rink.
RIP DONNY THOMSON
Donny Thomson was the heart of the Hosers. His leadership in the net led the Hosers to the top as they captured 3 national USAC titles. He was named “Most Valuable Goalie” at all three events. He met his maker on April 22, 2013. In 1992,The Los Angeles Times interviewed Donny when he was recruited to play professional roller hockey for RHI’s San Diego Barracuda team:
“Don Thomson has a green card and job managing the lab at Dean’s Photo in La Jolla. He’d be willing to part with both if he can finally realize the dream he’ll never let go. ‘Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to play professional hockey,’ said Thomson, starting goalie on the Hosers, San Diego area’s top roller hockey team. ‘If this is the only form in which I can, I’ll take it. I’ll take it over ice.’ Thomson, 25, who moved to Pacific Beach four years ago, where he discovered in-line skates, said he wouldn’t mind returning to his native British Columbia. Winner of the Los Goalie Sward at the last two national tournaments, Thomson is considered one of the top 10 players at his position.”
Donny loved his family; He loved hockey; he loved the Hosers and he loved life. Right up till his death, he was teaching others the finer skills of netminding and even produced this video titled Secrets of Inline Goaltending: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsB1eblXorU Here is a memorial video: https://vimeo.com/69138674.
Using the new Skate San Diego rink as its base, the Hosers are reorganized after a eight year absence. A newly formed Hoser team sponsored by Sprung Hockey wins the U21 National Championships at the AAU’s Jr. Olympics in Las Vegas. Roster: Baldwin, C., Baldwin, D., Baldwin, E., Mata, Gauthier, McCrea, Grahl, Steichen, Clay, Teague, Latimore, and Cummings. Coaches: Steve Baldwin and Joe Noris.
Ten Hosers are chosen to be on the U21 Team USA team and they win the U21 World Championships at the Jr. Olympics in Las Vegas. Hosers on roster: Baldwin, C, Baldwin, D, Baldwin E., Mata, Gauthier, McCrea, Latimore, Sherman, Kinsey, Cummings. Coaches: Steve Baldwin, Joe Noris.
Hoser alumni Raf Rodriquez is chosen to be on USA Hockey’s Team USA inline team.
NARCh Finals, Huntington Beach, CA
The Hosers enter a 30+ team and place 2nd. Roster: Broderick (C), Arjomand, Cottrell, Lewis, Brito, Storno, Vaiasuso, Irwin. Irwin won top goalie honors.
The Hosers entered a U24 team that placed 7th. Roster: Moy, Baldwin D., Baldwin E., McCrea, Kinsey, Cummings, Gauthier, Terry, and Mata.
The Hosers entered a U18 team that placed 4th in the Gold Division. Roster: Bleyle, Miller, Beatie, Taras, Kinsey, Moskal, Lopez, Mayer, Van Dyke, Bast, Smith.
Jr. Olympics, Corona, CA
The Hosers enter the U23 Division and placed 2nd, losing to the Las Vegas Outcasts in the final. Roster: Baldwin, C., Baldwin, E., Baldwin, D., Cummings, McCrea, Smith, Hughes, Gauthier, Mata, Balaban
Tryouts are held for a Hoser team that competes in the American Inline Hockey League and the season goes from January – May. The tryouts attract 50 players and the Hosers field an elite team and two minor teams to compete in America’s leading semi-pro league. Long time Hoser player and coach Joe Noris serves as the head coach. The teams are managed by this author. The Hosers are sponsored this year by the HockeyTron, a leading hockey equipment company based in Vista.
Two Hosers are selected by AAU to Team USA: Charles and David Baldwin but David Baldwin sustains an ankle injury and is replaced by his brother Eric Baldwin. Raf Rodriquez is selected for to play on the USA Hockey Team USA team.
NARCh FINALs, Huntington Beach
The Hosers entered four teams in the 2016 NARCh Finals in Huntington Beach. The Men’s platinum team was eliminated in the semis by one goal by Pama Cyclones, which went on to win the entire Division. Roster: Baldwin E, Baldwin D, Moy, Kinsey, Metcalf, Parker, Noris, Capps, Cummings.
The Men’s Silver team did not place. Roster: Newell, Peters, Broderick, Pribble, Davidson, Godinez, Meisner, Morgan, Vaiasuso.
The U24 team did not medal but Parker Moskal was named “Top Scorer.” Roster: Gauthier, Mata, Baldwin E, Baldwin D, Cummings, Dermody, Moskal, Godinez.
The U18 placed 2nd in the Gold Division: Roster: Moskal, Johnson, Stoddard, Fitch?, Van Dyke, Kinsey. Moskal wins “Fastest Skater” contest and Nolan Fitch wins “Top Scorer” award.
American Inline Hockey League
The elite Hoser team went to the AIHL regional playoffs and lost to the Arizona Outcasts, a team they have previously defeated many times before. 2016 AIHL Roster: Baldwin, C., Baldwin, E., Baldwin, D., Capps, Chavera I., Chavera J., Cummings, Demopoulos, Gonzales, Keiser, Kinsey, Majeski, Metcalf, Noris, Takacs.
The Minor “Black” Hoser team qualified for the Nationals and attended Bethpage, NY and placed 3rd. Roster: 2016 AIHL Minor roster: Davidson, Newell, Peters, Broderick, Meisner, Madison, Irwin, Pribble, Godinez, Smith, Saddenwasser.
Major League Roller Hockey
The elite Hoser team placed 2nd at two MLRH cash prize events, both in Irvine. They also attended The MLRH cash prize tour finals in Irvine and were eliminated in the Semis by Pama Cylcones. Roster: Baldwin, C, Baldwin, E, Baldwin, D, Cummings, Metcalf, Capps, Kinsey, Moy, Parker, Maxwell, Demopoulos.
In other news, Hoser Charles Baldwin was selected to the Team USA FIRS team which placed 4th at the world championships. This year also saw the Clutch hockey company become a big Hoser sponsor.
NARCh Finals (West Coast)
A Mavin team placed 3rd in the Pro Division. After going undefeated in the preliminaries, the Hosers lost in semi-finals to the Pama Cyclones 6-4, the eventual winner of the pro division. Roster: Baldwin, C, Baldwin, D. Kinsey, Keiser, Mata, McCrea.
Thanks to all the Hoser Alumni, roller hockey journalist Phillip Brents, NARCH owner Daryn Goodwin and the late USAC/USARS historian George Pickard of the USARS Museum for helping me track down the details needed for completing this report. If anyone has any corrections or additions to this report, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Steve Baldwin has been playing and organizing roller hockey since 1969 and he sporadically practiced with the Hosers – then called the Hawks – in their first years (’80-’81), in between his college semesters. While attending Pepperdine U., he played for one of California’s early quad roller hockey teams, the Venice Slashers. In 1994 he was elected to the California Legislature and he used his position to push the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to recognize inline hockey as a high school sport. Today, San Diego County is the only place in the USA where one can earn a high school letter playing roller hockey. After his legislative term was up, he moved to Washington DC, where he organized Virginia’s leading youth inline travel club, the Mad Dogs. He also managed the DC Mad Dogs, a MLRH semi-pro inline team. After returning to San Diego in 2009, he came full circle and became involved with reviving the Hoser program and now serves as the Hoser General Manager.