The sweltering heat may not give Western New Yorker’s any indication that summer is coming to a close, but when the calendar flips to August, summer adult leagues will crown their champions and the dog day’s winners and losers will begin to gear up for the fall sessions.
From Rochester down through the most eastern shores of Lake Erie to Fredonia and Jamestown, hockey is a way of life. Depending on where you stop on any given night throughout a fall week, there is a wide variety of competition levels and league formats that can be found.
From former professional athletes to late bloomers and raw beginners, each league is filled with people who share a common passion for the game of hockey.
Batavia Men’s Hockey League
Falleti Ice Rink
Steve Pies – Board Member of the BMHL
The Batavia Men’s Hockey League is one of the most unique operations in WNY hockey. Before each season there is a pool of 104 players who are rated by an 8-member board.
Based on these ratings the 8 teams in the league then conduct a yearly fantasy draft in order to determine the teams for each season.
There is a 25-player waiting list to get into the league and players who wish to get into the BMHL must participate in a ratings skate in order to determine where they would fall in the ratings system.
“The league does seem to get quicker every year,” said Pies, “If a guy is slowing down he could be re-rated.”
If someone has played in the league within the past 3-years they will be placed at the top of the waiting list, but after the grace period expires, if a player wishes to return to the league, they must go through the application process again.
The BMHL season format includes; 1 pre-season game and 21 regular season games. Every team makes the playoffs, which are conducted as a 3-game round robin.
The cost for a full season is approximately $365 per player.
According to Pies, the unique thing about the league is the age range. There are players from the age of 19 up through 65.
The great part of the fantasy draft format is that it brings not just individual teams, but the league closer together, “There might be a guy you fought the year before, who’s sitting in the same locker room drinking a beer with you next season,” Pies said.
Buffalo Police & Fireman’s League
The Buffalo Police and Fireman’s League used to be an exclusive skate that only allowed players to participate if they were a member of the Buffalo public safety community. However, a recent decline in interest from within Buffalo’s finest has made the common citizen a necessary component to the league’s operation.
The BPFL is tentatively scheduled to begin the first week of October, but may be moved up a few weeks due to the availability of the ice at Cazenovia. For the first time ever, the Sabres bought the ice for players who stay in town to skate over the summer. With the ice up and running already, the league’s captains must meet to decide on a course of action.
The season consists of 25 regular season games which typically conclude around April 1st, in order to accommodate vacation season.
While anyone can join the league, the only catch is it operates in the morning. Last season the BPFL played every Friday morning, but this season they have moved to Wednesday mornings.
There are 6 active teams in the league; NFTA, Erie County Sheriffs, Buffalo Police Department, Buffalo Firemen Green, Buffalo Firemen Red and Department of Corrections.
The cost per team is $3,150 per season which includes ref fees and scorekeepers.
In game play there are 15-minute periods including stop time. The top 4 teams make the playoffs where it is single elimination; just a semi-final and a final.
There are some notable players who participate in the league; Mike Scheu (UMass-Lowell), Josh Heidinger (Canisius), Nick Catanzaro (Cortland), Mike Chase (Tulsa Oilers) and Gary Masocco (Fredonia).
“It’s a morning league, so we’re looking for more teams to enter,” said Krtanjek.
Erie Metro Hockey League
Buffalo State Ice Arena
The EMHL has scheduled its annual pre-season meeting for September 11, 2012 at Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill. The 26-game league schedule begins September 17, 2012.
The league consists of 5 Divisions – Classic, Adams, Patrick, Norris and Smythe. Each division fields 5 or 6 teams and registration for each level is currently open.
The EMHL plays 15-minute periods and utilizes stop time for every game. Should the game end in a tie, there is a 3-man shootout, followed by a 1-on-1 sudden death shootout if no shooter finishes.
All teams are guaranteed to play at least one playoff game and the semi-finals and finals are both a best of three series.
The cost to play is $400.00 per player, per season.
The most unique aspect of the EMHL is an in-season tournament for each of the divisions that end at the midway point of the season. The winning team receives Sabres tickets. The Pappas-Certo Brothers-LP Indians have taken down the prized tickets in the league’s top Classic division for the past two seasons.
The EMHL also features an All-Star Game/Skills Competition that occurs in February just before the conclusion of the regular season.
“The one unique thing that we do is we make sure that the teams are highly competitive with each other,” Kalczynski said, “So all the hockey is competitive and each division has a playoff that is a lot of fun and equal competitively.”
The top teams often do not win the league championships, because the competition is so close.
Jamestown Adult Hockey League
Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena
The Jamestown Men’s League typically begins around the 2nd or 3rd Sunday in September and runs through the 2nd to last Sunday in March, which equates to a 25 week season.
Each team should compete in 24-games over that stretch, depending on how many teams are in the league. There are two different divisions players compete in; the open league and B-league.
The Open league consists of the most talented players, while the B-league fields a wide variety of skill levels.
The playoff format is a round robin tournament consisting of two divisions. Each team plays each other twice then the top team’s crossover.
It cost $350 last year, but this season the fee has risen to $410 per player, due to an increase in ice fees.
The JAHL plays 15 minute periods with stop time, regular season games can end in a tie, but in the championship game there is a 10-minute overtime to be followed by a shootout if the game is still tied.
The league has had teams from Erie and Fredonia join the league, but a stipulation they must follow in order to maintain competitive balance is they are asked not to stack their teams.
Labatt Senior Hockey League
Holiday and Leisure Rinks
The LSHL is made up of 10-divisions and begins the week after Labor Day (second week of September).
The league plays a running time style of game play and games run nightly throughout the week.
One of the longest tenured adult leagues in the WNY area, the LSHL has many different skill levels spread amongst the various divisions.
For more information please visit the league website at: http://www.holidayrinks.com/content/pages/senior-hockey-home
Lakeshore Adult Hockey League
The 14-game LAHL season begins on the second week after Labor Day (September 13 or 14), and rolls through the winter playoffs.
There is a different division made up of a different skill level set to take the ice on any given night from Sunday through Thursday. On Sunday’s C and D level play, Monday’s are B+ and D levels, Tuesday’s are C-, while C and C+ levels play Wednesday and Thursday.
A lot of the ratings levels are based on team rosters submitted by the respective captains. No player known to be in the top two skill levels can play below a C+ league in order to maintain competitive balance.
The playoff format is determined by how many teams are in the division. For instance, in an 8 team division the top 4 teams make the playoffs.
Team registration cost is $3,760, with 16 players equates to $235 per player, per season.
The league game play format consists of 15-minute periods with stop time, unless a team is up by 6-goals with less than 10-minutes left in the third, then it goes to a running clock. Overtime is 3-minutes, then a 3-on-3 shootout, then a sudden death shootout.
There are 52-teams scheduled to play in the Fall adult league, so essentially the leagues are full, except for individual registration and the Sunday night D-league, “We are looking for two more teams for the Sunday night D-league,” Kerbs, said.
One of the local bars The Retreat sponsors two teams; a Sunday night and a Thursday night team which each have different players, but both consistently win their respective leagues.
Former Sabres and Amerks defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick played in the B+ league last season.
Niagara University Adult League
The Niagara Adult League typically begins in late September or early October. The 2012 fall schedule is tentatively set to begin in early October, depending on the demands of the Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles.
The league consists of an A and B division that are divided by skill level. Despite being comprised of a lower talent level, the B-division (6 – 10 teams) fields more teams than the A-division (4 – 8 teams).
Each team will play approximately 24-games in a season, skating once a week over the span of the fall and winter months.
According to league director Christian Glowinski, the A-division is a primary focus for his staff this season. “The A-league has lost a few teams,” he said, “We’re really looking to build that up.”
The cost to play is $2400 per team along with an official’s fee of $36 per team on game day.
In terms of format, the regular season games can end in a tie, but come playoffs there is a lengthy overtime system should no winner be decided after regulation. Sudden death periods begin with 5 minutes of 5-on-5, and continue chronologically down through 1 minute of 1-on-1 until a winner is decided.
The league tries to include each team in the playoffs and have at least the finals consist of a best of 3 series, if not the semi-finals as well.
Tom Teeto is a staple within the league as he has run a team in the B-division for the past 8-years. “He started a team out of high school and it’s been the same guys here ever since,” said, Glowinski.
Teeto’s Auto Center won a championship in 2008, but is currently considered to be in a rebuilding mode.
*Iron Man Tournament
Old Tyme Hockey League East Aurora
Time Warner Winter Classic Rink
IC – 716-830-0182
or “The Commish” – 716-860-9835
The OTHLEA website banner reads: “No ice princesses. No pirouettes. Not a lot of fans. Just Old Tyme Hockey played outdoors like it should be.”
The brash, cut to the chase slogan speaks to the style of play and type of person the league is looking to attract as participants.
The only outdoor adult league in WNY, OTHLEA operates out of East Aurora, NY where the rink is composed of the boards and glass used at Ralph Wilson Stadium when the Sabres hosted the Penguins for the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008.
OTHLEA consists of 20 sponsored teams who play a 16-game regular season schedule and 4-playoff games (or match play for the consolation prize of team pride.) The cost to play is $375 per participant, per season. The price includes all ref and scorekeeper fees and a jersey.
Individual players or groups of players are welcome to join, all skill level, men and women. The league operates on team parity, with an equal number of A, B and C level players.
Players must be over 30 years of age to be eligible to participate, unless they are grandfathered into the league.
In March, the league holds an A-Line All-Star Game, C-Line All-Star Game along with the Molson IceDome 4-on-4 Tournament. (The IceDome Tournament is not included in league fees, plays 3-on-3 with a goalie and is more of a party than a hockey tourney.)
For more information on the OTHLEA please visit their website; www.OTHLEA.com.
For more information on the IceDome 4-on-4 tournament visit; www.MolsonIceDome4on4.com.
The Performax League plays a 20-week regular season beginning in September and concluding in the early spring.
The cost is $4,950 per team with an initial deposit of $250 and a $43 referee fee paid directly to the refs each game.
The league consists of eight skill divisions which are aligned after the fourth game of the season. The playoffs are a best of three championship series.
More information on the Performax Hockey League can be found at: www.performaxhockey.com.
Scottsville Ice Arena
Adult League Coordinator
The Scottsville Adult League is set to begin August 28th 2012. The league will run 16 weeks, through December. There is one league game scheduled a week.
The SAHL is divided into two separate divisions, based on player’s ability level. There are eight teams in the league and the cost is $240 per skater.
According to Hoffman the league is consistently made up of the same teams every year, with a few new players sprinkled in. “We monitor the games very closely to ensure that they don’t do too much,” Hoffman said, “It’s about the fun, the hot wings and the beers afterwards.”
The top 4 teams make the playoffs and Hoffman believes the league contains a team that embodies the true essence of adult hockey. “Miller Mulletheads are a team of the same guys every week,” Hoffman added “They don’t argue, they don’t fight and they’ve played together for at least 12 years.”
The Scottsville Adult Hockey League also takes pride in the ideals of “adult” hockey, as they do have one woman who is a consistent competitor in the league.
*Ironman Tournament – On the night of Saturday, September 22nd and into the early morning of Sunday the 23rd we will be hosting the 1st Dwyer Iron Man Challenge. This new “iron man” tournament format will be the first of its kind in the area, and should make for some great fun and competition.
– USA Hockey Sanctioned Tournament – Check in will be between 9:00pm and 10:00pm on Saturday, September 22nd; Games begin at 10:30pm sharp – 2 – 15 minute run clock periods – 3-on-3 play, maximum roster size will be 6 skaters, 1 goalie – Must be at least 18 years of age – $250
**To have your arenas adult league included in future WNY Hockey Report articles please contact Kyle Gunn-Taylor at: moc.t1454833137roper1454833137yekco1454833137hynw@1454833137elyk1454833137.