After the Hometown Phone Books folded due to sponsorship issues, a new roller hockey venue opened up in O'Fallon, IL called Way To Play, which occupied the old Ball Park Sports Complex where some of my teammates and I played ball hockey to start our competitive hockey careers. We liked Oak Hill, but the lure of sport court in a sentimental building from our past was intriguing to say the least...so I formed the Metro East Moose and we got the band back together to take another run at a league championship at another venue.
My brother Greg and I picked out the colors (green/grey/white) and the jersey style, which was pretty damn cool if you ask me. The Moose jersey was/is a great jersey.
The problem with the Way To Play league, was that the guy who put it together knew nothing about hockey. He put in yellow sport court (yellow??) and hired incompetent referees. And to top it all off, he allowed some of the biggest douche bags and trouble makers to remain in the league because they were paying customers and they were short on teams.
The Metro East Moose played in two seasons at Way To Play. The first was a learning experience. It was a new floor, poor lighting, new building...and we had trouble adjusting. I don't have the records from that season and I don't remember much about it...meaning it didn't go well.
The second season didn't go much better until the playoffs. The Moose went 4-7-1 during the regular season and finished 4th, which meant a first round matchup vs. the powerful Devils squad. We went 1-1 vs. the Devils during the season and we beat them 7-3 in the playoffs. So we advanced to the championship...and just like with the Phone Book playoff run, we were matched up against a team we failed to beat in the regular season. We had to play the Lightning in the finals, whom we had failed to beat in three tries during the season, losing by the scores of 4-6, 4-6 and tying once 6-6. But wouldn't you know it, the 4th time was a charm as the we beat the Lightning, 4-2 to win the Way To Play championship.
During the 10th game of the season on November 27th, 2002...we played the Spearchuckers. I was hit with a blind side punch after a skirmish on the rink between some other players. Some douchebag had Greg in a headlock behind our goal after the whistle. After they were separated I was jawing back and forth with one of the guys on the other team as I skated back to my bench. I was standing on our bench and looking the other way when a gutless POS skated full speed over to our bench and punched me while I wasn't looking. Then all hell broke loose. Our team jumped that guy...my cousin, Jeff (also our goalie) had a hold of the guy on the rink when he felt his goalie mask get ripped off by someone and then he was hit with it. My nose was bleeding like a running faucet and there was blood everywhere. I couldn't see out of my eye for a few seconds, which was scary as it was all black and starry...and then it all came back. Long story short...their team was banned from the league, I went to the hospital to get stitched up, the guy who hit me went to jail...and I sued his ass. He wanted to settle before trial, so I got my medical bills paid for and a couple days of lost wages from work. But I didn't miss the following game, which we tied 6-6.
After that championship win, I had absolutely no desire to play hockey in a league anymore. Some idiots take things way too serious and take stuff way too far. So I retired for a while...until I started playing on my brother's team back at Oak Hill, we'll call them Team Cobra, even though they went by another name.