By Anthony Sabatini, HOHI Supervisor
On May 16, 2016 the Ice Hockey Officials of the Hawaiian Islands (HOHI) put on their inaugural Zebra Cup hockey game at Ice Palace Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. (Yes, we do play ice hockey here in Hawaii.) What was conceived on a whim only a couple weeks prior between 2 referees and some beer after an IPHAHL game became reality.
HOHI referees put away their stripes and whistles, dug deep in their garage, called mom on the mainland for her to send out their hockey gear (true story) and proceeded to dust off their hockey sticks and went head-to-head: Team White vs. Team Red.
The game started out slow but picked up momentum with Team White getting tallies from three different players and outscoring Team Red 3-1 after one. For some reason, the scorekeeper shortened the second period by five minutes; she later told me, “You guys looked like you needed a longer rest after the first period.”
It became clear in the 2nd that she was right – or that Team Red had the better team. I would like to believe they had a better team, being able to close the gap to 4-3 while outshooting Team White 32-16. Only the outstanding goaltending of “Tournament” Tommy kept Team White in the game, making great save after great save.
The 3rd period was when fatigue, age, or just bad hockey came into play as Team Red was able to tie the game early on a goal by “The Plumber”. The tie did not last long as Team White was able to reel off three unanswered goals, two by Sabatini and one by Sinn. Then the flood gates opened and Team Red went on an onslaught, scoring five straight goals – two by Scheuring – all coming in a span of 7 minutes, putting them up 9-7 with under three minutes to play.
Team White closed to within one on on a breakaway goal by Sinn, giving him a hat trick, only to see Scheuring score 16 seconds later giving him his own hat trick with one minute to play.
That is where things went a little gray, as the game clock “malfunctioned” and stopped running briefly, per Team Red, that is. Team White was able to take advantage of this “malfunction” and saw Sinn receive a perfect pass from “The Comedian” and walk in from the blue line all alone and bury the puck with 15 seconds to play. Team White was able to pull their goalie for Sinn who received a pass from Carreras and pushed the puck up the ice and deep into the corner. Team Red could do little but watch as Sabatini got to the loose puck, walked out from the left boards to the top of the slot and ring a shot off the post and in to tie the game at 10-10 with eight seconds remaining.
It was only fitting that HOHI’s inaugural Zebra Cup hockey game went to a shoot-out. Unfortunate for Team Red though, as Team White shined brightest in the shoot-out. Per the request of Team Red’s alternate captain Emery, every player was given the opportunity to shoot.
Team Red’s hopes were high as Team White’s first attempt by Greenie was stopped, those hopes were soon dashed as Team White went on a tear after that netting 6 of 10 shots while Team Red was only able to tally 1 of 10, allowing “Tournament” Tommy to best Duguay in the end.
Final score, for those of you wondering, was 16-11, Team White only came out ahead due to the unbelievable play of “Tournament” Tommy stopping 59 of 75 shots.
On a side note, there was not a single penalty called in the game.
Not a bad night of hockey for something that was conceived only two weeks prior. With some advanced planning, next year’s Zebra Cup should be epic. It will be hard to top this very first HOHI Zebra Cup hockey game.
“I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that participated in our first Zebra Cup and in doing so making it one of the best nights of hockey. Also a big thanks to all HOHI officials that have put in the time, effort and commitment to making this first year of HOHI a huge success. We can and will only grow from here.” – Anthony Sabatini, HOHI Supervisor
“Leave it to a bunch of refs to stop the clock for :30 while only :15 remained to catch up. As I always tell players asking for ridiculous calls; if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin.” – Mike T.
“After taking an eight year hiatus from officiating ice hockey it was nice to come back into the fold by joining the HOHI program. What an amazing way to finish off the season with a Zebra Cup emphasizing the comradery and fellowship offered by these officials which reminded me why I love this sport and how much fun it really is!” – Ben H.
“When you play hockey with respect for the game, the fun comes naturally. We can all learn a lesson from what a great event the Zebra Cup created.” – Joe S.
“After 3 short years, coming from 1 Official to all these great new Officials our Hawaiian sector is leading the way and having fun doing so. This is outstanding!! It appears you have made great in roads throughout the hockey community and have the interest of many as shown by the large list of volunteers.” -Steve Stevens, Pacific District Referee-in-Chief
Learn more about HOHI at hihockeyrefs.com