Sunday, April 20, 2014
By DALE DUFF Special to the Telegram
BREWER - The play-by-play call on the Brewer hockey power play goes something like this.
'The defenseman Valley controls the puck at the blue line. He sees Valley in the right corner and makes the pass. Now a quick flip in front of the net to Valley, who shoots and scores!'
For the record, that is Brody Valley to Gabe Valley to Spencer Valley. And for the reporters covering the game, it is brother to brother to cousin.
Call it Brewer's version of the basketball-playing Beal and Alley families of Jonesport-Beals.
"It is funny, reporters are always asking, 'Is Brody your brother? Is Gabe my cousin? Is Jake a brother?' " says senior forward Spencer Valley(5 goals, 2 assists).
There is nothing funny about the impact on Brewer hockey the Valley boys have had over the years. The Witches have been the dominant team in Eastern Class B in recent years, with three state championship appearances, winning titles in 2007 and 2010.
The lineage starts with Spencer's two older brothers. Ben Valley played hockey through junior high before switching to basketball. Jake Valley was a defenseman for the Witches when they made back-to-back state championship appearances.
Brody and Gabe are cousins and both top-line players on a Brewer team that is 4-0 Brody(1, 4) is a senior defenseman. Gabe(1, 6) is a sophomore forward.
David Shedd is the Brewer coach. "Brody is a quiet kid, effective on the ice, loves the hard hitting. Gabe is a very different player, a lot of finesse, very speedy, kind of a happy-go-lucky kid. Then you've got Spencer, who is right full of everything you would ask for as a coach. He's able to put the puck in the net at will."
Shedd should know. He coached most of the Valley boys through youth hockey along with the Valley dads, Tony and Joe.
Perhaps that family thing pays off in ways that only the Valley boys know, said Spencer. "We do have a good understanding of what each is going to do. There is a lot of trust, a lot of faith when we just look at each other on the ice. The connection is very good."
Shedd admits he also gets a lot of postgame questions about Spencer, Brody and Gabe in regard to who is whose brother or cousin, but that's OK.
"At last year's Class B coaches meeting to go over all-conference selections, some coaches said, 'my gosh, when are the Valleys going to end?' Their names kept popping up."
The answer may be, not anytime soon, according to Spencer Valley.
"My dad has another brother, Uncle Johnny. He captained the very first Brewer varsity team. He's got a couple of kids in the fourth and fifth grade. Give 'em a couple of years."
CROSSOVER POINTS: The Houlton boys' basketball team has darted out to a 6-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in Eastern Class C. The Shiretowners are getting valuable Heal Points for wins over Class B Presque Isle and Class D Hodgdon.
A SECOND CHANCE: On opening night the Limestone/MSSM girls' basketball team lost by 20 points to Van Buren when Parise Rossignol dropped 30 points. This week the teams played again and Limestone/MSSM won by 10. Rossignol was held to (only) 18 points.