1999 Oak Hill ChampionsThe Hometown Phone Books were a legendary, dare I say, world famous hockey club that played back in the day at the Oak Hill Sports Complex (which has since been torn down...moment of silence please).

The Phone Books rose from the ashes after a merger between Team Red Dog and The Killer Tomatoes in 1998.  Who knew that things would turn out the way they did after that merger?  Lifelong friendships were formed, lasting memeries were burned into our brains that still live on today, and a blast was had by one and all.

Captained by yours truly, this team consisted of some of the most legendary beer league hockey players in the Belleville/Smithton/O'Fallon/Edwardsville, IL area.  The 'Books were together for years and pretty much kept the same roster, with a slight addition or subraction here or there because of some going to college and whatnot.  But when they came home for the summer, they always rejoined the franchise.

 

We were always a pretty good team, putting up a winning record and making the playoffs...but we always seemed to fall just short of winning it all.  We played an edgy style and the way I always put it was like this, "We didn't usually start crap...but we always finished it if someone else was being an ass."

We had some bitter rivals we played against like Gallery, Saber Cats, Mustangs, G-Men, and we loved it.  Most teams didn't like us because of how we didn't take crap from anyone.  If one person was getting pushed around and the refs weren't going to do anything about it, you can be damn sure the rest of our roster was going to even things up and put a few guys on their asses.  We took it personal...and it was personal because we were/are a pretty tight knit group.  We stick up for each other no matter what...and that's why I never had more fun playing hockey than I did when I was a member of the Hometown Fightin' Phone Books.

The crown jewel of the franchise is our championship run in the summer of 1999 where we beat our most bitter rival, the G-Men, in the championship in come from behind fashion, 3-2.  Phone Book forward, Landon Fitzgerald, produced not one but two videos to celebrate the championship.  The jeff, curt, chrisfirst was a VHS video of the game dubbed, "Miracle at the Hill", with applicable music in the background that was released soon after the championship season.  The second was released 10 years later and was dubbed, "Miracle Revisited", but this one was a little different.  A lot more time and effort was put into this one and it was a high quality production on DVD with Landon as host that had on screen graphics, interviews with team members, game clips, a photo gallery, a video created by Book forward/defenseman, Greg Price, of an NHL '94 matchup on Sega Genesis between the Phone Book squad and the Metro East Moose (spin off club after the 'Books folded), and other cool stuff including the championship game in it's entirety.  Seriously, it's a professional DVD.  A lot of the team got together for the screening of "Revisited" and lot's o' food at Landon's parent's house when he came back into town to visit and host the screening.

Yeah, this was no ordinary, run of the mill beer league hockey team.  This was a small but very special part of everyone's lives.

The Phone Books sadly folded as a franchise in name only, in 2001, because the actual Hometown Phone Book company decided to outsource their entire production dept. to some company in Dallas, TX. (Yes, the HOMETOWN Phone Book fired their HOMETOWN employees and gave jobs to people in Texas instead.  Bunch o' douches.)  Needless to say I was a member of the production dept...and when I was let go, that broke the link and ended the sponsorship of the hockey team.