east bay hockey league

History – A Photo Montage

A history of the East Bay Hockey League, told through pictures.

The Genesis
Due to the lack of funding available to the EBHL’s founders, the original goals were made with the cheapest netting material that could be found, which turned out to be $5 undersized bedsheets from Wal-Mart. When it was discovered that the bedsheets were indeed very undersized, the founders fashioned cardboard inserts to fill in the gaps on the sides. While these goals did have the habit of turning into kites and flying away during our games (the disadvantage of using bedsheets), they served the EBHL well during its first year. The goals were eventually mistaken as garbage by the custodial workers at Canyon Middle School and thrown away.

The Transportation
The zeal of the custodial workers to throw away anything that appeared to be garbage (a description our goals would undoubtedly fit) forced the founders to find a means of transporting the goals across Castro Valley. Enter Alex ‘Shifty’ Garabedian, whose ’91 Mustang turned many heads on roads and freeways during our first two seasons.

The Advertising
The discovery of a green paint-marker during season two prompted many players to display their love for hockey by having eastbayhockeyleague.com written on their windshields. In retrospect, advertising a website whose main feature was Luke bathing himself with a hose was probably not the most sound marketing strategy.

The Clothing Line
The East Bay Hockey League clothing line also made its debut at the beginning of season two, featuring this beautiful forest-green t-shirt. The front of the shirt shows “east bay hockey league” printed in white, with green graffiti on the inside of each letter combining to spell, once again, “east bay hockey league” (made specifically to cater to those viewers who are only capable of reading graffiti). The upper back of the shirt displays the league’s official slogan, “cause hockey’s better than cocaine.”

Hockey-inspired Artistic Expression
With the idea that hockey is indeed better than cocaine popping up on t-shirts across Castro Valley, some players chose their own methods of expressing the message. One such player was Dina Sigal, who combined her preference for hockey with her photography skills to produce the piece displayed above.

His presence on this page is a mystery.

2005 EBHL Tournament
The East Bay Hockey League hosted its first annual tournament in August 2005, which featured participation by four teams of over 30 players and media coverage by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Paul Kilduff. The tournament itself pitted the league’s co-founders against one another in the final game, with Neil’s top-ranked squad facing Matt’s team, who had barely made it into the final by winning in their last game. The controversial reappearance of Andrew (who had left earlier due to injury and a broken stick) coupled with the performance of Ian and tournament MVP AJ Gilbertson led to a 7-5 victory for Matt’s team (pictured above).

Harbor House Hockey
In May 2006, the East Bay Hockey League moved its weekday operations to Harbor House Ministries, a non-profit which serves at-risk youth in the diverse San Antonio district of east Oakland. Harbor House made use of the hockey equipment throughout the summer and began using it for its after-school programs during the school year as well.

The Chronicle Returns
In August 2006, Paul Kilduff of the San Francisco Chronicle returned for a second article on the EBHL, this time featuring the young players at Harbor House Ministries. This picture shows three participants in Harbor House’s summer program and volunteer Brian Libbe, brother of co-founder Neil Libbe.

EBHL on Ice
In 2008, Sharks Ice Oakland began providing opportunities for our players at Harbor House to take to the ice as well. Equipped with gear supplied by Jim Gemmell (and supplemented by very old skateboarding pads), our kids learned to skate and eventually played their first games at the year-end Jordan Kocian tournament. Next year, three of our most committed players were picked up to play for the Oakland Bears traveling team.

The Commish Wants In
In March 2010, the NHL flew Matt and these three boys out to Buffalo, NY for the 2010 Willie O’Ree Skills Weekend, part of their “Hockey Is For Everyone” campaign. In addition to being able to play in HSBC Arena (home of the Buffalo Sabres), the boys were also able to meet NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, seen here trying to negotiate for an EBHL sweatshirt.


One Response to 'History – A Photo Montage'

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  1. VCT said,

    Hahahaha Unicron I didn’t know you played Hockey… are you trying to keep kids off Cocaine too?

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