BIDDEFORD– The jersey numbers don’t matter, everyone has a day job, and some of the unnamed players moonlight on more than one team. This is A Division adult industrial hockey, the under 40 years of age mens league.

What appeared on the Biddeford Ice Arena schedule at 10:05 p.m. as, “ALBERTS VS HOCKEY BOBS,” is a group of locals who love hockey and play for fun, with the same enthusiasm as any professional game.

The teams are sponsored by businesses like Hockey Bob’s Pro Shop, located inside Biddeford Ice Arena, and Albert’s Garage in Biddeford. There is no formal practice, yet skills seem to be as sharp as the skates.

Al’s took an early lead 1-0 with 11 minutes left in the first period. Bob’s matched seven minutes later after fast-paced turnover and one unsuccessful shot by each team.

That was all the time it took for Bob’s to warm up, going on a 7 point streak well into the third period with five goals by No. 9, Adam Laite. No. 7 would later score the last point of the game, preventing a potential comeback after a goal by Al’s No. 24 with seven minutes left on the clock.

In such a busy world, hauling all the heavy hockey gear to the ice rink later at night after a day’s work may seem like a hassle, and on top of that the players pay to play in the league. So why do they do it?

The players don’t take the competition too seriously, and almost everyone is joking around after the game. Ricky Hebb, the goalie for Albert’s Garage laughed as he said, “not a lot [of saves], it was a rough night,” despite a respectable number of saves in a game heavy in shots on goal.

The high-action games have no shortage of talent. Some of the players are parents, local coaches, and former college hockey players.

Jason Radford, Al’s No. 22 and Joey Radford, Al’s No. 23, are brothers and have been playing with Al’s No. 2, Mike Souliere, in Biddeford since 1987. Jason Radford said, “at our age, it’s all for fun anyway.”

Like the Radfords, some players claim they play for fun, and some say they do it all for the beer, popcorn, and Craig, the bartender of The Cross Bar, upstairs inside the Biddeford Ice Arena. The players may say it’s all fun and games, but are still competitive at the end of the day.

“We came out pretty slow. They had a great first period, they gave us a good game and then we jumped ahead. [Laite] scored something crazy like four or five goals,” Bob’s No. 12, Chris Perham said. Perham also made a goal earlier in the game, setting off Bob’s winning streak.

TAYLOR MORRISON/JOURNAL TRIBUNE: Hockey Bobs and Albert's Garage face off in Bob's zone Wednesday night. Hockey Bobs came back from a late start to win, 9-3.

TAYLOR MORRISON/JOURNAL TRIBUNE: Hockey Bobs and Albert’s Garage face off in Bob’s zone Wednesday night. Hockey Bobs came back from a late start to win, 9-3.

Live local hockey is available at the Biddeford Ice Arena almost every day and the game schedule is posted online.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: