McNeely WSH 22
Sanchez NY 19
Thurman WSH 17
Smyth HAM 16
Costello WSH 16
Frye HAM 15
Gunnarson HAM 15
Winchester NY 15
Lafayette HAM 14
Petronov NY 14
McNeely WSH 10
Alexander HAM 9
Manning NY 9
Petronov NY 8
Chamberlain SAS 8
Pepper SEA 8
Thurman WSH 8
Frost ANC 6
Collins ANC 6
Darnholm BOS 6
Sanchez NY 17
Smyth HAM 15
Costello WSH 13
Winchester NY 12
McNeely WSH 12
Lafayette HAM 11
Barnes SAS 11
Koons ANC 10
Trujwirnek NY 10
Fisker QUE 10
Hogaboom WSH 32
Stolte DAK 25
Merula KC 24
Mulligan HAM 23
Kratz HAM 23
Wesson KC 21
Nistrumov SAS 20
Meloche HSY 18
Baker BOS 17
Smyth HAM 16
Kronstein MIC 15
Madison MIC 15
Beruschko MIC 13
Poulin MIC 12
Gunnarson HAM 11
Constantine HAM 11
Patterson HAM 11
Marlow MIC 11
Kratz HAM 9
Smyth HAM 8
Lundquist MIC 8
Koskinen HAM 7
Worthington ANC 5
Tiktuunen QUE 5
Clarkson NY 4
Stickel SAS 0.00
Lundquist MIC 1.21
Lattimore QUE 1.96
Koskinen HAM 2.38
Tiktuunen QUE 2.60
Stickel SAS 1.000
Lundquist MIC 0.943
Lattimore QUE 0.931
Koskinen HAM 0.924
Worthington ANC 0.921
The SHL selected New York Night D Dominic Sanchez as its Player of the Week. Sanchez had an impressive week on offense, scoring 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists). On Sunday, Sanchez notched 3 assists in a 6-4 loss to Hamilton. On Tuesday, he scored twice and added a pair of assists as the Night thrashed Washington 9-4. The next night, he had 3 apples as New York claimed a wild 7-5 win over Hershey.
Thanks to his productive week, Sanchez is now the league leader in assists with 17. His 19 total points is second in the SHL, behind only Washington’s Jefferson McNeely.
“People don’t talk about Dom when they talk about the best D-men in the league, but they should,” said Night coach Nick Foster. “There aren’t a lot of blueliners with the nose for offense that he has. He’s got great speed, and he knows how to set guys up for scores. He’s an underrated weapon.”
SHL Digest: We’re here talking to one of the league’s most fearsome fighters, the man they call “Boom Boom,” Bruce Hogaboom. Bruce, thanks for speaking with us.
Bruce Hogaboom: No one calls me Bruce except my mom. Call me Boom Boom or Boomer.
SHLD: Okay, Boomer. When we talk about the real heavyweights in this league, the guys who really know how to throw down, a handful of names come up. Max Madison in Michigan, Hercules Mulligan in Hamilton, Dmitri Kalashnikov in Quebec, Ruslan Gromov in Hershey, and you.
BH: “Heavyweight!” I like the sound of that. Yeah, the guys you mentioned, we’re the cream of the enforcer crop.
SHLD: Other than yourself, who do you think is the best fighter in the league?
BH: It’s gotta be Mad Max. He’s wiry, so he’s hard to pin down, and he comes at you from a bunch of different angles. And that guy has no fear whatsoever. He’ll drop the gloves any time in any situation. And he’s a good two-way player too, which is hardly fair. That’s like a boxer who paints like Picasso.
SHLD: Some enforcers really like to fight, while others think of it as just their job. Do you like to fight?
BH: Absolutely! Isn’t it obvious? I love to fight. I love to watch fights. I study the tape all the time.
SHLD: You study tape of… fights?
BH: Sure. If you’re a big-time scorer, you watch tape of your shots to see if you need to tweak your approach. If you’re a fighter, you study fights, to watch your technique and how other guys like to fight, so you can get the upper hand. Some people think that fighting isn’t a skill, but if you’re serious about it, it is.
SHLD: Interesting! A lot of fans might be surprised to hear that.
BH: And honestly, I just love to watch my old fights for the fun of it. A good fight is like a good steak or a fine wine; one of life’s pleasures.
SHLD: Have you always been a fighter?
BH: Ever since I could skate, pretty much. I always wanted to play pro hockey, but I couldn’t shoot and I wasn’t a great passer. I thought about being a goalie, but you have to be nuts to take some of the shots that they take. But when I started scrapping, I found out I have heavy hands and I could fight well.
SHLD: That’s for sure!
BH: It felt good. Before I started fighting, I usually got picked last or nearly last, because I wasn’t a great player. But after, guys started picking me first, because they wanted the protection. I recognized my skill and developed it.
SHLD: And you kept on developing that as you got older.
BH: Definitely! When I was thirteen, I gave my fists nicknames, because I thought that sounded cool. My right was Randy, and my left was Matilda.
SHLD: Randy and Matilda… interesting names!
BH: Yeah. I’d loosen guys up with Randy, then I’d bring out Matilda and drop them. Word started to spread, and the enforcers in other towns would come around just to fight me. And I beat them all. I was the Mike Tyson of central Alberta.
SHLD: Some people say that fighting and enforcers have no place in the modern game, and should be banned. What would you say to those people?
BH: I’d say that’s a crazy idea. First of all, plenty of fans love the fights. Look at all the fight videos on YouTube. Listen to the crowd whoop it up when guys go at it. People might not admit it, but they love the violence. Second, it actually makes the sport safer. Ask our skill guys, Jeff [McNeely] and Thurm [Casey Thurman] and Eddie [Costello]. If another team wants to take a run at those guys, they think about me coming out to even the score and they lay off. It helps discourage the really dangerous hits.
SHLD: You’ve been suspended before, when you left the bench to fight with a player. Did you think that was a fair suspension?
BH: [laughs] That game against Michigan, that was crazy. The Wolves were out there flying around and railing guys, and the refs didn’t want to do anything about it. So I put a stop to it. Did I go too far? Probably, but I tell you: they dialed it back the next time they played us. They got the message.
SHLD: This season, you’re skating on the third pairing with a rookie, Bert Hampton, who’s also a tough customer!
BH: Hacksaw! I love him. On the team, they call him “Little Boomer,” because he plays the same way I do. I’ve been teaching him all kinds of pointers: how to tie a guy up so he can’t get his hands free, how to protect against a blindside hit, the way to sneak in an extra shot or two before the refs break it up.
SHLD: You’re sort of his mentor, then.
BH: Definitely. I don’t have any kids, but he’s like my son now. I can’t wait to see him develop to his full fighting potential.
SHLD: Well, thanks for a fun and informative interview! Appreciate the time.
BH: Glad to do it! I’m just out here keeping the spirit of old-time hockey alive.
Oshawa Drive coach Peter James is well-known as a mild-mannered man. He never yells at referees or makes theatrical displays of displeasure when a call or a game doesn’t go his way. He has never been ejected from a game. His idea of a colorful post-game quote is “It was a pretty tough one out there, but we’re looking past it and we’re focused on tomorrow.”
As Drive C Pat Collistone puts it, “Coach James is the most even-keel guy I’ve ever met. Nothing shakes him. If you set his tie on fire, he’d just say, ‘Huh, my tie’s on fire. I oughta do something about that,’ and then go find some water and put it out. He’s got milk running through his veins.”
So when a skirmish broke out between the Drive and the Virginia Rhinos during Wednesday’s game, the last thing anyone expected was for James to get involved. But when Virginia D Roscoe “Ruckus” Corbetta began throwing punches at the Oshawa bench, James took matters into his own hands, grabbing Corbetta and flinging him back onto the ice.
“It was awesome, like a WWE move almost,” said Collistone. “I think Coach is my new hero.”
The incident occurred in the third period of the game, when Corbetta laid a hard check on Collistone that sent him tumbling into the boards. The Drive felt that the hit was dirty, and D Colt Mayhem quickly skated over to Corbetta and challenged him to a fight. It was the second tilt of the day between the two heavy hitters, and it got ugly in a hurry. The skirmish quickly spread, as players from both teams began shoving and tussling as a knot began to form in front of the drive’s bench.
As the donnybrook continued, Corbetta and Mayhem wound up moving close to the Oshawa bench. LW Troy Blackwood, who was sitting on that end, took the opportunity to squirt a water bottle at Corbetta. The angry Rhinos blueliner whirled around, fired a couple of wild haymakers, and tried to climb onto the bench to scuffle with Collistone and others. His advance, however was stopped cold by James. The Oshawa coach grabbed Corbetta by the jersey and shoved him down onto the ice. Fortunately, the officials were able to calm things down before the got worse. Mayhem, Corbetta, and Collistone were all ejected. James was not.
After the game, the coach explained that his actions were a reflex to defend his players. “The situation started to spiral a bit when Stoner squirted water on the guy, and then he came at our bench,” said James. “I don’t take kindly to someone coming after my guys, and especially not coming on our bench to do it. So I put a stop to it.”
Other coaches might have been reluctant to confront an angry opponent, but the 6’5” James said he didn’t hesitate. “I’m a pretty big guy, so I’m not worried about getting hurt,” the coach said. “My first priority is keeping it from getting out of hand.”
After the game, a 6-4 Oshawa win, the Drive thumped their sticks on the locker-room floor in salute of their coach. “If I ever get caught down a dark alley, I hope I have Coach James with me,” said Collistone. “Him and Colt could bust some guys up.”