Every Sunday night, the guys from Hogs have just one place they want to be: Regency Ice Rink.
The adult hockey team plays year-round in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“Some of the teams take a break, but we always play year-round,” Hogs captain Darren Musser said. “I can’t remember the last time we took a break.”
No break. The Hogs are hardcore.
One reason the guys don’t take any time off is because they love hockey. Another reason — the most important reason — is simply that the guys love hanging out with their buddies on the team. It’s a close-knit group.
“It’s just a good bunch of guys,” said Musser, who has been on the Hogs for around 15 years. “We travel to a few tournaments and everyone pretty much hangs out outside of the rink.”
The Hogs, which formed about 20 years ago, have a core group of 10-12 guys who have played eight or more years on the team.
“It’s guys we’ve grown up with,” team member John Langabeer said. “A couple of the guys on the team I’ve played with since I was 7 years old when I first started skating. Guys that I played squirts with.”
The players know each other well on the ice as well as off of it. The families enjoy spending time together with activities such as cookouts and parties.
“It’s one of those things that you always have a group you can count on, like you’re walking into the locker room with faces you don’t know,” said Langabeer, who is 31 years old and been on the team for 10 years. “It’s all your best friends, guys you can have a beer with. And you can count on when you need them and so forth.”
The Hogs, which range in age from 22 to 48, have formed a solid bond over the years. That just makes it more fun when they are on the ice.
“You find yourself making fun of each other a lot out there and there’s no hard feelings after,” said Musser, 44. “Pretty much the whole time on the bench you’re messing with each other and yelling at each other. If you didn’t know them personally, it’s probably a little bit harder.”
The guys send out group texts during the week and give each other friendly ribbing.
“We probably give each other more lip on the bench than the other teams,” Langabeer said. “It’s like hanging out with a bunch of siblings. It’s not really the other brother, younger brother, they’re all kind of the same age.”
Since the team stays loose the majority of the time, it doesn’t take too much stock into the games. The players are skating to have fun and hang out with their friends.
So, the guys don’t get competitive on the ice?
“I don’t,” Musser said with a laugh. “But, yes, there’s guys that played better hockey than I ever have. I’ve only ever just played as an adult. The guys that played college hockey take it a little bit more serious, but I just have fun and give them the puck and let them do whatever they need to do.”
Said Langabeer: “It’s basically one of those things like, [of] course you want to win, but we’re not going to lose sleep over it. We’re still going to go out and have a beer; it’s not going to really change things. Obviously, certain guys come playoff time take it up a notch. We might yell at you for missing a pass or something like that, but when it comes down to it, hockey’s the secondary part of it. We’re all just a bunch of guys that use one more excuse to together and drink a beer.”
Along with playing in the RHL, the guys like to sign up for tournaments. When a number of the players were younger and didn’t have kids, they’d like to travel to different events around the country.
The Hogs have traveled to tournaments in Lake Placid and Laurel, Maryland, and enjoy playing in a local tournament at Regency Ice Rink every year. Musser would like to get players wrangled up to compete in a tournament in Nashville.
In February, Langabeer and four or five of his teammates will be heading to the World Pond Hockey Championship in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada. This will be Langabeer’s 11th time competing at the event.
“It’s incredible. Probably one of the best hockey experiences I’ve ever had,” Langabeer said. “It’s just one more way to keep in touch with your high school buddies, your close friends that you usually lose touch with. But this way you get to see them every weekend and go on trips you would never think you would go on.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Tag(s): Adult Hockey