BROOKINGS – Former Brookings hockey players will now have a place to get back into the sport with the formation of a new adult hockey league, scheduled to officially start at the end of the month.
The Brookings Adult Hockey League (BAHL), organized by Garner Hansen, currently has over 60 players committed to playing, enough for six teams.
Games will be played Sunday nights starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Larson Ice Center and will run for about an hour.
“For years, everybody has talked about a league in Brookings, but nobody has ever done it,” Hansen said, citing that there had been “drop-in” hockey for a long time. “There’s just such a huge number of hockey players in the Brookings area, not only from the Brookings Ice Skating Association (BISA), but also from the college, people coming in. You also got people who played somewhere else but moved to Brookings because it’s such a great place to live. There’s a lot of former hockey players around.”
Hansen decided that he would take the figurative bull by the horns and start the league up, sending out hundreds of messages on Facebook to players and spending “solid days” on the phone finding people to commit to playing. The league is currently scheduled to start on Oct. 24 and run until the first week of March.
Hansen says he doesn’t expect to add more teams, but if enough people sign up before the start date, a couple more teams could be added.
Hansen says the league is open to everyone, both men and women over the age of 18, but says “you want to have some skating experience.”
“If you are a first-time skater, this is not the league for you,” Hansen said. “If you can get up and down the ice, stop and stick handle a little bit, by all means come out and check it out.”
Hansen says that on Oct. 17, there will be a pick-up game that will assess some of the skill level. Hansen says that for those who are interested in the league, this would be a great night to come out and do some skating.
“This is a fun league, and, yeah, it will be competitive. There will be some highly skilled guys with the puck who might get after it with other highly skilled guys, but when I played down in Sioux Falls and I was skating against guys who were just learning how to stick handle and shoot, I didn’t try and go steal the puck from them. I gave them time to make a pass and encourage them. You want to include those guys,” Hansen said. “This is a fun sport you can play your whole life. We got guys interested in this league that are in their 60s.”
Brookings native and former Ranger Cody Honkomp will play in the league, dusting off the gear after a few years away from organized hockey.
“I’m looking forward to getting out with some former teammates and also guys I grew up watching play,” Honkomp said. “It’s going to be fun and competitive.”
“I’m just hoping I don’t pull anything,” he added.
Hansen says the league will have referees, who will be paid, and scorekeepers for each game. It’s a “no-check” league, with icing and off-sides, along with a few “minor penalties,” being the primary rules. The league will see each team play each other twice throughout the course of the 10-week regular season, with a six-week round-robin playoff, concluding with championship and consolation games.
According to Hansen, the league is sponsored by Main Street Pub.
“I’m hoping we get to the point (of a big league), because the more ice we rent, the more it helps out the BISA,” Hansen said. “I’m really excited to see it grow.”
Those that are interested in playing or officiating in the league should contact Hansen at 605-395-1625 or visit the Brookings Adult Hockey League Facebook page. It will cost approximately $250 per player and will require a $50 deposit for jerseys, which will be provided by the league.
Contact Addison DeHaven at [email protected]