Posts Tagged ‘STARSkaters’


“From the end spring new beginnings.”~ Pliny the Elder

Ladies & Gentleman, boys and girls.

Welcome to your NEW Austin Blades sledge hockey team.

Sort of.

The team that I play for now has a branch of the STARSkaters program and will be now protected by its 501(c)3, and receive all of its non-profit status.

A press release that was sent out today by STARSkaters stated:

At a recent board meeting, the Austin Blades Sled Hockey team voted unanimously to become a chapter of
Chapter status will allow them to expand their fundraising efforts to support Sled Hockey in Austin as well as send some of their players to the 2014 Sled Hockey National Championships which will be held near Boston, Mass next April.
At the meeting, Frank Dorval was elected chapter President.  Frank got to work immediately enlisting STARskaters founder Jim O’Neill to assist planning a 3 on 3 Tournament in Austin which will serve as the clubs first major fundraising effort with a target of $5,000 in proceeds.
For more information about the Austin Blades Sled Hockey Club, contact

And this is all true. We did have a meeting and we ALL voted to go for the STARSkaters program. We’ve connected with the program in friendship and have bonded with them personally that it all just made sense to go with them. Simply because Jim O’Neill had heard about our troubles with the secretive information about the non-profit status.

The team now will have the knowledge on how to go about fundraising and everything else in between.

Some of the team members (including myself) have already hit the pavement to go after corporate sponsorships locally.

But we are only at the beginning. The sigh of relief was collectively felt and heard this afternoon when the news finally came that the necessary papers were signed, and now we are dealing with our own chapter.

We still will remain the Austin Blades. But are ARE with/under STARSkaters.

And a few of us are still hopeful to go to Boston in 2014 in order to play in the national tournament. The Austin Blades at this point have no idea just how much or what kind of help we will be receiving (if any) from STARSkaters on this matter. And a few of us still believe that its not the right thing to do to just suck on the backs of the program. So we are still attempting to get things rolling here locally on our own.

I have my own fundraising campaign specifically to get to this tournament in Boston. Along with another teammate, the two of us are going strong to raise funds by donations. With YOUR HELP, we can achieve this dream and go for the gold!!!

Even though the tournament isn’t until next year, we only have until the end of January 2014 to “Get-R-Done” so to speak.

We’ve reached 8.9% of our total goal for the both of us to be able to go in a month. And we’re super excited about that. But we’ve got a long ways to go.


Every little drop will help, believe me!! And for those of you who are reading and have already donated, we honestly thank you from the bottom of our asses, because they are both larger than our hearts. If by chance that you are able to, please consider donating again.

And don’t forget about the wonderful FREE incentives that go along with this fundraising effort.

Together with the donations, and now being a chapter of STARSkaters, we can make our goals.

My personal goals in the sport can actually have a light at the end of the tunnel without it being a freight train. Gold at the end of the rainbow.

I can’t wait for the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Its  going to be so wonderful.


Well there’s something that we don’t do each and every season! The Austin Blades gets something of post-season activity on the ice.

We returned to Houston for the first time in a very long time. It was so exciting that the number of people who attended were ready to go about a week before.

Houston set us up very nicely at the Hilton Garden Inn in northwest Houston which was conveniently located to the rink that we played at on Friday evening.

We would have  three days of hockey at three separate locations. We were just a bunch of traveling idiots, doing what we really love to do.

Our first night was at Willowbrook Aerodome. A place that the Austin Blades had never played before, and its our understanding that Houston now is practicing there every Friday evening for an hour. Getting a FULL sheet of ice.

As shocked as we were, it was very apparent that Houston has been getting better and better. They definitely are a lot faster now!

Some say that the score at the end of the evening was tied at zero. Others say it was 1-0 with Austin winning. Depending on how much of a hardnosed person you are about the rules. The puck crossed the line, but it didn’t completely pass over. So if you say that it counts, it was 1-0. And if you say that it must completely pass over, it was tied at zero.

I was glad to see WELL OF SOULS guitarist, O.J. Morris, had been there later in the evening to come check things out. I’m not quite sure what he thought about it, but at least he was there.

I had actually invited about twenty different people from the Houston and surrounding areas to ice rinks that were conveniently close to their area. The idea of using the reciprocation card however would just end up burning me to the point of being butthurt. Wanna see the bruise??

Three days, three rinks around the city of Houston, many invited. ONE showed up.

Saturday morning, we joined Houston at their usual time at Memorial City Mall for a half sheet of ice. We actually did a bit of scrimmaging and just took it to another level with Houston.

And if you recall or have recently read the blog post about the “mystery woman” from the mall, yes– I did think about her. I did think about seeking her out afterwards. But I didn’t in the end. I don’t even think that the kids train was even running by the time we got off the ice.

Next time!!!

Saturday evening we ALL got into one vehicle and sent our butts into downtown Houston for a baseball game that was offered to us from the Houston team.

My first time at Minute Maid Park. My second MLB game ever in my life. Can you say $12 for a shot glass? Ridiculous.


Minute Maid Park from the right field section

I’m not much of a baseball fan at all. But it was something that I got to experience.

The Houston Astros took on the Texas Rangers. And what seemed so funky and out of place was the fact that there were more people in Houston cheering on the Rangers than the Astros.

The Astros tied it at 1-1. Then hit a home run, gaining the lead at 3-1. But then the Rangers just kept at it until the point where the score was 8-3 in favor of the Rangers.

I noticed that by the middle of the fifth inning which is basically the half way point, all of that had been played in just 75 minutes. Half of the game had blown by. It was weird. But you know what? From the bottom of the fifth until the end of the game took more than two hours to complete. Total game time was 3 hours, 22 minutes.  Crazy how that works. Total attendance was 27,188. Probably the largest crowd that I had been in ever in my entire life.

The Astros would make one hell of an effort for a come back at the end of the game but fell short  and lost 8-7.

After another short night of almost no sleep. Friday night we had someone in the hotel room with us and couldn’t get them to shut up or take it upon themselves to note the time was late and take off. Saturday night was another late night because the guy that I shared the room with and I got caught up watching an old episode of Cold Case on cable.


Sunday morning we went all the way over to Sugar Land to play. Probably THE COLDEST ice rink that I have ever played on. And we were going to be there on the ice for almost two hours.

After getting up super early Sunday morning to get gasoline, travel, show up, get ready, blah blah blah …. it was so draining on energy.

When everyone showed up, we paired off, Austin vs. Houston. But one of our guys decided for whatever excuse to wear an all black jersey. So in order to keep it white jerseys (Austin) versus colored jerseys (Houston), there was a trade off.

The Austin Blades would regret this switching around of players later on.

That would end up being a 3-0 victory for Houston. And something that they are able to hang on to for a while, knowing that they beat us fair and square. Or was it?

We traded players. The Austin player who was playing for Houston scored twice. The Houston player who played for Austin has tremendous speed.

Even if you take away the fact that OUR guy scored twice, there was still that one goal scored by the mother of the Houston goalie. It was really neat to see the entire family out on the  ice. Mother, father, brother. The goalie for Houston is actually pretty damned good! He’s on the USA Developmental team. In training and conditioning to be able to play for Team USA, and he’s not even out of high school yet. He graduates this month.

But his mother scored a goal. When that happened a full chorus of voices started chanting “Happy Mother’s Day!” to her over and over again. She had previously warned everyone NOT to beat her up on the ice because of the fact that it was Mother’s Day. But once she scored? Yeah… all bets were off. But nobody could get to her.

It was a lot of fun needless to say. Still working on the butthurt, but I will get over it. Plus the obvious aches and pains of playing that much in that many days.

We are all excited to get back together again and play some more. Even the Houston team said that they wanted to do it again.

But it might be August or early September before we are able to.

I’m thinking about maybe talking with Houston and seeing if they would like to put together an annual meeting between the two teams, and the winner will take back home a trophy or something.  And quite possibly, Houston could for once travel here to play once in a while.




“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”~Wayne Gretzky

And now we’ve reached the end of the line for the 2011-12 sledge hockey season. What better way to go out with a HUGE BANG than to travel to Houston to participate in their Paralympic Sport Experience.

Our team hosted the same kind of event back in January, now it was time to go to Houston to participate in theirs.

Houston has been totally awesome to us. We bonded very closely with one another over the course of a single weekend back in April when we marched on to Dallas for the tournament.

What was even more special about this event was the promotions for it all. The sledge hockey program did an incredible job sending out to the general public that it was going to happen, and even had special guests arrive just for the event.

People like Houston Oilers QB Dan Pastorini was on hand. A few of the cheerleades from the Houston Aerodynamice Dance team was there, and the Houston Aeros mascot. (All of which, I never saw a single second of with my own eyes. I was out on the ice when they all arrived. And I am still very adamant about getting a photograph with the one cheerleader. I attempted it when we were there last November at a Houston Aeros game, but the picture didn’t come out. So I’m on the hunt to fix the problem! Just saying.)

Even the mayor of Houston proclaimed that day to be “Paralympic Sport Day”. You know it’s really awesome when the mayor gets involved.

But what I thought was really cool was the presence of Andy Yohe, gold medalist from the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics and captain of Team USA. He was totally awe-inspiring to everyone who got to be on the same ice with him. Plus he was gracious to give out helpful hints on the game and very supportive of everyone who was there and encouraging everyone to keep on practicing and never surrender. I love it when people do that sort of thing.

What I thought was really cool was that the ice rink we were on, was in the middle of a shopping mall. And it being Mother’s Day weekend… it was packed!!

There were people surrounding the glass and just watching us play our hearts out.

I was thrilled that members of the band SILENCED WITHIN came to see me and watched me play for a while. I was totally appreciative that they were able to come out and watch, even on a busy and stressful weekend as Mother’s Day weekend always seems to be.

Things were so very awesome, until I got “pinballed” around on the ice and I didn’t realize how close I was to the wall and I hit it, head first rather than putting up my shoulders to receive the impact.

Of course, I get teased about leaving the ice so early and I didn’t let it bother me that much. But when I’ve hit my head and then I start to see different levels of reality and the dreadful urge to vomit, I think that was the perfect time to throw in the towel for the night.

The following morning, we went back at it for another two hours at a different ice rink.

Again, very successful I thought. And I even learned something from it all. I was able to improve on my shot. And of course, that’s always a GOOD thing!

I have to give special thanks to the Houston program. They were responsible for allowing my team the opportunity to come down, spend the night, and then play again in the morning. They were gracious enough to take care of the overnight accomodations.

And even though the entire time I was gone away was only about 30 hours, as we arrived home it felt like we had been gone for days. Probably from all the fun we had.

I’m given to understand that perhaps the Houston program wants to continue throughout the summer. And I think that would be great, considering that the more we practice, the better we will become. Especially if they are thinking about going to next year’s tournament which is going to be held in Philadelphia.

They want us to consider coming down and just spend some time that first day hanging out and socializing, and then when ice time is available, we would get on the ice and do it all over again. They were thinking probably once a month. But once a month is better than none at all.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive. For me personally, my team, and for the STARSkaters program. All those who have generously given their time, effort, and financial support. And even for those who just say “YAAAY!!”. It is quite helpful, believe it or not.