I grew up playing hockey, but after trading in my skates for office life, I never thought I’d play a meaningful game again. Turns out, I was wrong.
I emerged from hockey retirement and laced up my skates to support Team STAHLS’ as we faced off against the Detroit Red Wings Alumni team for a charity game. It was arguably the biggest game during the Frozen Fish Fiasco weekend benefiting Clark Park, the home of the only regulation-sized outdoor ice hockey rink in metro Detroit.
STAHLS’ is the leading international manufacturer, distributor and direct supplier of garment decoration equipment and materials – from small businesses and entrepreneurs to pro sports leagues, including the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB – so it wasn’t a surprise that they enlisted Mark Wells, gold medal winner from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team as head coach for Team STAHLS’.
If anyone could coach us to a win against the heavily-favored Red Wings, it was him. We held four team practices, where Coach Wells channeled his inner Herb Brooks to help get us in shape and ready for the game, but none of us could prepare for playing outdoors on a sunny 50 degree day with the Ambassador Bridge in the background. The 50-minute game went by quickly and all of us savored every minute playing against retired professionals that we grew up watching in the big leagues – Darren McCarty, Mickey Redmond and Peter Klima to name a few.
It was truly a surreal experience and the STAHLS’ team hung in there with the pros. We lost 9-8, but it was a close game throughout. I scored a goal and an assist, and I may or may not have been the reason why Darren McCarty decided to “fight” the Team STAHLS’ bench.
And if you are feeling generous, donations can be made to support Clark Park at http://frozenfishfiasco.com/.
Joe Ferlito is an account director and director of operations.