The type of hockey that most of us are familiar with has few non-negotiable requirements. Ice, for one, and skates. And knowing how to skate is usually pretty helpful. However, a group of Trans States mechanics has discovered that you don’t have to know how to skate, or even own a pair of ice skates, to play hockey. They play floor hockey as part of a local St. Louis floor hockey league.
While floor hockey players use sticks to get a puck into a net guarded by a goalie, that’s where the similarity to ice hockey ends. There’s no ice in sight in floor hockey – teams typically play in gymnasiums – and floor hockey players simply wear shoes and run around, rather than using ice skates.
Heavy Check Supervisor Mark Hicks got the idea to start the team after seeing a video for St. Louis Floor Hockey on the internet. Our maintenance hangar is in St. Louis, home of the Blues professional hockey team, and Mark knew that a lot of mechanics were interested in hockey, even if they’d never played before. Mark first pitched the idea of a team to Line Lead Mechanic Levi Mcquery, who initially thought that he was too old for floor hockey. However, once he watched the video, which explained that most of the teams were comprised of college students or co-workers, and that some of the players had never even played hockey before, he was sold. Before long, Mark had rounded up a team of 10 mechanics, all from the St. Louis hangar.
Half of the team had never even touched a hockey stick before, let alone played on a team. “One mechanic had never played hockey before in his life,” says Mark, “and he still tried it out, and loved it.” But even with so many hockey newbies, Line Inspector Bill Reese is confident that their team is making progress, remarking, “I think we get better every game!”
“I would never bet on us, though,” chimes in Levi, laughing, “and I’m always making stupid bets on professional ice hockey, like having to shave ‘Red Wings’ in the back of my head.”
The league’s no checking rules means that floor hockey isn’t nearly as physical as ice hockey, which Mark points out is great for people who have day jobs. “We can’t exactly get too physical at a night game when we all have work the next day.”
The team has already experienced some memorable plays. “I got us our first ever penalty,” laughs Bill, “and I still don’t agree with it.
Other mechanics from the hangar don’t play, but still come out to watch. And if they want to try it for themselves before committing to a team, league rules make it easy for them to give it a shot and see how they like it – anyone can play a single game as a substitute for only $10.
Feel up to the challenge? Check out the St. Louis Floor Hockey website to get started.