The new, larger Seven Springs ballroom was a perfect arena to kick off the 24th Slapshot tournament. We placed the Voice of Slapshot Keith Hunsinger on the stage and gave him a microphone for the annual Reading of the Rules. It was a bittersweet moment as it looks to be Keith’s last event preamble (and WBC attendance) for the foreseeable future. Thanks for all your years of hilarious service, Keith! This means we are on the lookout for a new rules-reader to continue the tradition next year. If you have any ideas for possible candidates, let us know.
Once the rules were read, the tables were on their way. Dalton Versak won his table despite some unnamed player playing as a packet of mayo. Original playing pieces - not just for the Final! Also from that game Holiday Saccenti was sent to the penalty box for whining, and, having not learned her lesson, also whined about that while in the penalty box! This is the big leagues, kid … no more Junior Room hand holding for you!
Andy Lewis and Kevin Wojtaszczyk had an epic Final at their table, with Kevin jumping to a 3-0 lead. Perhaps realizing what winning your table means in Slapshot, Kevin then allowed Andy to storm back and force a deciding seventh game. That bedtime decider went down to the last card, with Kevin’s player rolling against Golden Gums. Unfortunately for Andy, Golden Gums made the save to win the game and he, in his words, was “the loser who had to stay up”.
We had a rules dispute at the “Flush Stein” table, supposedly run by referee Mark Yoshikawa, but Mark was on an unusual spree of “caring about winning”, so the GM had to come over and mitigate the dispute. I’m still not sure what was going on, but John Vasilakos and Mark Mitchell were arguing some point of the rules with Mark actually having the rulebook open! This was handled in true Slapshot fashion by sending John to the penalty box for not being able to handle it himself, and Mark to accompany him for whining about the rules.
Andrew Drummond won his table quickly and whined (correctly) about the pace of the other games requiring him to stay up for a long time just for a short semifinal round. We are sympathetic to his pleas so try to play faster in the future. However, whining is whining, and so we expect Andrew to present himself for a two minute penalty at the start of the 2017 games.
Eventually the first round finished and we moved on to the Massively Unfair Semifinal Round. We call it that because it’s Massively Unfair, but it did its job and quickly graduated six unfortunates to the Final where a full game ensued until the wee hours of the morning:
- Derek “Two-Time Champion” Landel playing the pig. Derek has become such a fixture in the Slapshot late night follies that he keeps his pig in his badge holder each year just in case.
- Dalton “I hope I spelled Your Last Name Correctly” Versak (you didn’t), playing the purple missile.
- Daron “The Other White Meat” Schreier playing the handcuff key. (Why “The Other White Meat”, Daron? “Don’t ask.”) (Why do you have a handcuff key, Daron? “Don’t ask.”)
- Thomas “I Don’t Do Paperwork” Scarlato, playing the thumb drive. (What’s on the Thumb Drive, Thomas? “Don’t ask.”)
- Craig “I Brought My Eight Year Old Son To A 1 AM Final” Moffit (“He’s helping”, says Craig), playing the pin.
- Mark “Since When Do You Win Games?” Yoshikawa (“Call me tea drinker”, he says. We make up our own nicknames here, thank you very much), playing the freakishly large referee whistle.
Early on, Ian Moffit, Craig’s son, was named the official die roller for all games, partially due to his rolling at least four 6’s on his first rolls, 16 (that I recorded) overall. One time Mark rolled his own die by mistake, and it was invalidated, and Ian had to roll again. Once the reroll allowed Mark to beat Ian’s dad, Mark was a believer in the official die roller, introducing each roll with the slogan “This die roll is brought to you by tea - the official beverage of Slapshot”. (Yes, EACH roll.)
In the early going, it became evident that Craig had two bruisers, so was the team to play if you wanted to bruise yourself into a better team. At one point, Thomas asked Craig if he’d played yet, and Craig’s response was “Do you want two new cards?” Thomas decided against that and played Mark, lost, and Craig’s bruisers, feeling neglected, sought out Thomas on Craig’s next turn. Derek’s team looked pretty good at the start, getting to the fifth space while most players were still stuck on one win. Dalton’s team was eventually outed as the patsy and was played by everyone. The bruisers eventually found Derek’s team, decimating it, and leaving him with both Tiny Tim and Le Goon on the same team. Despite the obvious attraction of such a team, he drafted a new forward, kicking poor Tiny Tim back to the drafting deck.
Midway through the game, Derek and Thomas both had six wins, Dalton had two, and everyone else had four. In an effort to try to catch the leaders, Daron and Dalton played each other in a home and home series, but both games ended in ties. Not learning their lesson, the next time around the table, they played a home and home series again, this time splitting the wins. Meanwhile, Derek’s drafting and playing had gotten him two bruisers, two 6’s and a 7, and put him at eight wins. On the cusp of the playoffs, Mark realizes that his team is tied for fourth, and makes his first trade of the game (and, he claims, of his lifetime) against Thomas, and improves. Thomas, then needing to improve his team, decided to forego trading/drafting and instead impales his team on Derek’s two bruisers. Derek won the game to commence the playoffs.
Before the playoffs begin,the three bottom feeders had to resolve a three-way tie for fourth, with Craig emerging as the best of the worst. In the first semifinal series, Dalton played Thomas. Dalton won the battle but lost the war; losing his superstar in Game 1, his 6-rated defender in Game 2, and his 7 forward in Game 4. So his very strong team advanced to the Final as a shell of its former self.
In the other semifinal, Derek’s two bruisers played Craig’s one bruiser. The bruisings actually improved Craig’s team, allowing him to win a 5-game series—not bad for a bottom feeder.
After a quick 3-game series to decide third place (Derek won in three games), the Final was set. Craig had a bruiser and Dalton had his reserves limping into the deciding series.
- In Game 1, Craig won, bruising Dalton’s goalie.
- In Game 2, Craig won, bruising Dalton’s 4
- In Game 3, Craig won, bruising Dalton’s other 4. However, Dalton did draw the Superstar as a replacement. But it wasn’t enough, as Craig went on to win the fourth game, sweeping the Final and taking home the Superstar plaque while completing his late “Worst to First” transformation.
As the game was being put away, Ian was heard telling his father: “You won? I did not expect that.”
Here were the final teams of both players:
- Dalton: Forward: SS, 5, 2; Defense: 1, Le Goon; Goalie: 5
- Craig: Forward: 5, 3, 2; Defense: 6, 4*; Goalie: 3