The Rule of Longboard Hockey is … artifacts, drafts etc

Originally appeared in Heads Magazine (now defunct) in the XX, 200? issue with photos by Kris Krug

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Podcast – Choogle on with Uncle Weed

Photo set by Kris Krug

The Rule of Longboard Hockey is …

Driving into the forested far reaches of the University of British Columbia campus I really wasn’t sure what to expect – the note told me to show up saturday, midnight at a secret parking garage location – wondering should i have left a note with someone?

With mild trepidation, I followed the echoing noise to the basement as a chain of longboarders cruise past me, carving wide turns before dropping into the “rink” with a game of longboard hockey in full swing sprawling beyond the nets: Burnaby Blood vs. Chilliwack Methheads. Gotta learn quick to stay alert as the game action intersects with the de facto tailgate party of longboarders and boards of every shape – hi end drop decks downhill racing boards to decks homemade from old wooden water skiis.

This is no slop fest, this games has rules. You gotta have one foot on the board to play the puck, (exception goalies whose board becomes part shield, part deadly cricket bat), and you gotta play for the city you live in – you move, you’re traded, that’s it. The game is tough and full contact like they were taught by “The Jacks” an outlaw California skateboard gang who brought the game north (for the record, the Canadians now routinely quash their yankee mentors).

The puck is a beer can but your standard aluminum container would quickly disintegrate so you must use a heartily constructed Sapporo can imported from Japan – though I spy a few odd Polynesian guava tin juice can on the sidelines as practice pucks. After each goal, the teams line up along the goalline, the puck/can is placed in the middle and a metal coil is rung to signal the teams to maniacally trade ends, including the goalie who charges fullbrunt atop a longboard in full battle gear into the gauntlet of opposing players.

The Methheads are up 2-1 thanks to a wiry dude sans helmet who snakes through defenders – hard sliding to the left while shooting off the right, one foot flying behind. Just when it looks easy, he takes a hit goes Bobby-Orr-flying through the air onto the pavement, then leaps back up before being run down. Turns out this savant is “King” Brian who skates for the 9-0 Chilliwack team. He’s also the Longboard Hockey League’s defending scoring champ and frequent curator of the Chanley Cup, the beaten trophy (bought at a Flea Market for $5 and clever negotiation) which is tossed onto the pavement each night and ‘seasoned’ with the game play and hauled home by the vanquishing team each night. In May, the top two teams from the year battle for ultimate supremecy as part of a four-day longboard fiesta at the appropriatedly-named Danger Bay.

On the stuffed elevator ride to the 6th floor, before I can pull the fattie of Chocolate Jack Herer from behind my ear, a smiling chick in blond pigtails and a Team Canada jersey sparks a beauty doobie. This is the Blood’s goalie Natasha getting in another run before playing her former team, the North Shore Slashers after they finish off the Shitmix. She doesn’t seem insane yet she eagerly faces wildmen firing beer cans at her head, “It’s nuts out there, there are no rules, everyone should try it.”

She was auto-traded to Burnaby when she moved across the 2nd Narrows bridge so her old mates are stuck with a scrub in goal. With the game underway, she’s clearly not intimidated – batting cans out of midair and hurling the beerpuck back at Wolfman and his Slashers teammates. I also notice a skinny, curly-haired teammate who is skating like the wind and taking a serious beating … elbows to the ribs, cans to the face, sticks to the shins … but he keeps rolling. A husky dude with blue hair exclaims, “I’ve never seen anyone take that kind of abuse in the LHL!” He’d know since Striker’s is a 5 year veteran and his consortium “Coast Longboarding” are the ringleaders of grassroots longboarding events around the wet coast and bearer of the wisdom from the Jack’s gang.

At the end of the game, Natasha yanks off her helmet with a grin and I wave her over for another fat cone rolled by another Methhead. “There’s only one joint going here?!” She’s appaled.

“Yeah, but it’s a big one,” someone answers through the cloud of smoke but she’s already grabbing another. “Hash plant, with hash too.” It’s coming on 4:20AM and she passing a heavy indica around! Beer can slapshots to the face is one thing but this is really tough! She nonchalantly says they leave, “around 5 or 6 when they kick us out and then come back next Saturday, every Saturday.”

A few cones later, I look over to see Striker, playing for the Downtown Eastside Dirty Dogs, charge into a loose can from the left wing, twisting his fireplug frame to rip a shot top shelf short side on the sprawling goalie and I realized the community and the game are equal co-conspirators to this strangley perfect recreation. No wonder they keep the secret.

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The Rule of Longboard Hockey is …

by Dave Thorvald Olson

Driving into the forested far reaches of Vancouver to the University campus, I really wasn’t sure what to expect – the cryptic note said to show up Saturday, midnight in the basement of parking garage for full contact longboard hockey. Maybe I should’ve left a note with someone?

I followed the echoing noise as a chain of longboarders cruised past me, swooping wide turns before dropping into the “rink” where a game versus the Blood Thirsty Bastards and Methheads. Gotta stay alert as the game sprawls beyond the nets with frantic skaters on boards of every shape – hi-end dropdeck downhill racing boards to homemade rides crafted from old wooden water skiis – charge vigorously at a beer can. No regular beer can though, must be a burly Japanese import Sapporo can.

This is no slop fest, there are rules and serious skills required. The rules: You gotta have one foot on the board to play the puck, (exception goalies whose board becomes part shield, part deadly cricket bat); and you gotta play for the city you live in – you move, you’re traded, that’s it. The game is tough like they were taught by “The Jacks,” an outlaw California skateboard gang who brought the game north (but are now routinely beaten by their Canadian understudies).

After each goal, the teams line up along the goal-line, the puck/can is placed in the middle and a metal coil bell signals the squads to maniacally change ends – including the goalie charging fullbrunt in full battle gear atop a board to defend the net.

The Methheads are up 2-1 thanks to a wiry dude who effortlessly snakes through defenders, sliding hard to the left while shooting off the right foot, the other foot flying behind. Just when it looks easy, he takes a hit and goes Bobby-Orr-flying through the air onto the cold pavement but leaps up quick avoiding errant boards crushing his bare noggin.

This savant is “King” Brian who skates for the 9-0 Chilliwack team and is Longboard Hockey League’s defending scoring champ and frequent curator of the Chanley Cup. The battered trophy (bought at a Flea Market for $5 and clever negotiation) is tossed into the rink and ‘seasoned’ with the gameplay and hauled home by the vanquishing team each Saturday.

A skinny, curly-haired teammate is skating like the wind and taking a serious beating … elbows to the ribs, can to the face, sticks to the shins … but he keeps rolling on as a husky green-haired boarder exclaims, “I’ve never seen anyone take that kind of abuse in my five years in the LHL!” Beside playing for the Downtown Dirty Dogs, this boarder named Striker is the ringleader of Coast Longboarding and organizes these grassroots longboard events including the LHL championship at the appropriately-named Danger Bay.

After the game, Natasha, The Bloods’ goalie, yanks off her helmet with a grin as I wave her over for a Chocolate Jack Herer cone. “There’s only one joint going around here?!” She’s appalled and grabs another. “Hash plant, with hash mixed too. It’s almost 4:20AM as she passes the heavy indica around.

Glancing over, Striker charges at a loose can, twisting his fireplug frame to rip a shot top shelf, short side on the sprawling goalie as Natasha nonchalantly tells me they leave, “when they kick us out around 5 or 6AM and then we come back next Saturday, every Saturday.”

Seeing the community vibe like a chilled out tailgate party co-existing with the intense blood sport, I realize it’s probably a good thing they keep this strangely perfect recreation a secret.

http://coastlongboarding.com/hockey.cfm

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Hopping the parking garage elevator with a overstuffed crowd heading to run another circuit down the five levels, i reach for the thick cone in raw paper with transit pass filter Cousin Herb rolled up for the mission but, .

skill level all over the place, some pro quality riders while others are patiently learning and taking bruises along the way – no sausage fest, at least a dozen hockey playing skater girls too. Everyone says, this is a light turnout. “But it’s secret,” i say. Maybe they just don’t want short boarders to show up? Anyhow, May long weekend is when the real fun goes down, the 4 day Danger Bay long board fest – the two top team show down for one epic game and everyone speaks of Danger Bay hippies talking about a Dead show. downhill longboard races on the sunshine coast with bands and buds? hmmmm pencil that one in.

I ask another Methhead called Tyson what possesses them to drive out from the farthest burb of Chilliwack – a town i remember mostly for grow houses and cow shit – “it’s about the community” he says rolling up a huge cone from my ample first aid kit of magik bud. his buddy XXX adds, “something else about the positive vibe.”

Sounds good to me, pulling a hoot with my head fogged and face grinning. “good stuff” he says, as i dodge a bearded dude on a six wheel skateboard barrelling down the garage ramp, “I grow some outdoor, its just do easy to put a few here and there.” i ask him what he does the rest of the week, both reply “skate and smoke.” one frames houses sometimes – that’s it, the rest is skating and toking – but they don’t talk like burned out losers, it’s just they don’t care to work, they live is a cheap place and save their time. sign me up.

On a stuffed elevator ride to the 6th floor, before I can pull the fattie of Chocolate Jack Herer from behind my ear, a smiling chick in blond pigtails and a Team Canada jersey sparks a beauty doobie. This is the Blood’s goalie Natasha getting in another run before playing her former team, the North Shore Slashers, after they finish off the Shitmix. She was auto-traded after moving and here old mates are stuck with a scrub in goal despite their high-powered offense led by Wolfman. I question the sanity of taking Sapporo cans to the face but undeterred she explains, “It’s nuts out there, there are no rules, everyone should try it.”

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At the end of the game, Natasha yanks off her helmet with a grin and i wave her over as i gather up a few more Methheads and and a few hangers-on for another fatty. “there only one joint going here?” she asks “it’s a big one someone answers but she’s already grabbing another. “hash plant’ she says giving it a light, “with hash in it too.” it’s coming on 4:20AM and she passing a heavy indica around – beer can slapshots to the face is one thing but this is really tough but nonchalantly says they leave “around 5 or 6 when they kick us out.”

Whatcha think?