THE WORLD CUP OF BALL HOCKEY
An overview of this historic tournament
May 20 1999
The Greco-Roman/Asian team won the first annual World Cup of Ball
Hockey by defeating the powerhouse British Isles team 3-1 in the
championship game. Jimmy The Goalie, the only Greek on the
Greco-Roman team, stifled the high scoring Brits, who did not
manage to put one by him until late in the game. It was one of
the best goaltending performance you’ll ever see.
The Greco-Romans jumped out to a quick 3-0 first period lead and
never looked back. They played sound defensive hockey and made few
giveaways. "Les Têtes Carrées" (no flames please - I'm half
English myself) were limited to perimeter slapshots
that Garoufalis was quick to smother. The rest was academic.
Winning the Word Cup of Ball Hockey was especially satisfying
for the 3 Renegades on the Greco-Roman/Asian roster (Joe Lazzara,
Angelo D’Agostino and Paul Iacurto), who finally defeated those
pesky Bluedogs after losing 4 straight games to them, including
the 1999 CASC final. Some of you may be wondering what the Bluedogs
have to do with the British Isles team. (joke) I thought that one
of the objectives of this tournament was to separate the players
from their respective CASC teams. I guess not.
So there you have it: 8 Bluedogs suiting up for the British Isles,
including their 4 best players (K.Nethersole, M.Callaghan,
K.Myers and D.Roberts - Regent excluded) Are you guys really of
British descent or is this a hoax? To clear up the "Bluedog-gate"
mystery, an irate Theo Michael has recently hired a genealogist to
determine where the Bluedog ancestors really come from, so this
situation doesn’t repeat itself for World Cup 2000.
"It’s a crock of shit" says Mr Michael.
"I know that they’re all heavy drinkers but there’s no way in hell
that they are all of British descent"
The British Isles team tried to cover up their traces by singing
"God save the Queen" before each game.
Just throw in Sean Marcellin, the CASC’s leading scorer, who also
happens to be of British descent, and there you have it: an upraised
and upholstered version of the Bluedogs, a British Isles national
team dripping and oozing with talent. Following their 8-4 Round
Robin slaughter over the Greco-Romans, I was convinced that they
would pillage and ransack through every team. Winning the World
Cup of Ball Hockey would be a mere formality for "Les Anglais".
Mais non. Les évènements se sont pas déroulés comme on l’avait
The British Isles followed their 8-4 victory over the Greco-Romans
with an 8-6 Round Robin loss to the French Canadian team. In playoff
action, the barely squeaked by Europa in a shootout and lost to the
Greco-Romans in the World Cup final.
So what went wrong for the British Isles? Once some of their players
managed to fit their heads through the gymnasium door and that play
began, their goal scoring, defensive play and team cohesiveness were
all top notch during the tournament. But in hindsight, one question
still remains unanswered: is Regent Proulx the real MVP of the CASC?
I would have told you No before the tournament but I’ve changed
my mind since.
So, Mr Nethersole, are the Bluedogs really as good as their record
would indicate? You were the first one to spam our e-mail In boxes
following the Bluedogs second consecutive CASC championship. You
were proud of your team (I guess I would be too) and you were happy
to dismiss the 13 people (including myself) who thought that the
Bluedogs were not as good as their record would indicate (9 people
answered yes BTW). Uppish attitude will always come back to haunt
you, especially in the world of hockey. The CASC is no exception
to the rule. So let’s put forward a new question: "Where would the
Bluedogs be without Regent Proulx?" Can you spell the word
At the conclusion of the World Cup final, Kim Nethersole slapped on
his walkman to the sound of "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve.
By the way, are the Bluedogs/British Isles the worst dressed hockey
team in history or what? They all look like they rooted through
garbage cans for their sports apparel, or is it just part of the
Bluedogs mystique to look tacky? Torn, discolored black shirts
that looked like they’ve been washed about 3000 times, torn sweat
pants, eyesore tartan shorts, Uncle Sam athletic trousers, cheap
diner sponsor logos and super 1970’s tight shorts are the norm for
the Dogs. It’s time for a team trip to Sports Experts guys. These
guys make John Wong look like the Giorgio Armani of hockey.
In terms of pure talent, this British Isles squad is reminiscent of
the 85-86 Edmonton Oilers, a team loaded with talent, who were the
runaway favorites to win their 3rd consecutive Stanley Cup. But the
Oilers did not win the Stanley Cup that year and the British Isles
didn’t win the World Cup of Ball Hockey either. I realize full well
that comparing the 85-86 Oilers to the 98-99 British Bluedogs is
totally bush and very corny, but it’s the meaning of the comparison
that matters. Oh whatever.
The Brits ran into a Greco-Roman team that played intelligent hockey
and that played within their means. They also ran into Jimmy The
Goalie in the World Cup final. Good playoff goaltending always plays
a major role in any team’s fortunes. Jimmy Garoufalis was absolutely
brilliant in the World Cup final, limiting "Les Têtes Carrées" to 1
goal. This is the same team that came into the final averaging
over 7 goals per game . This is also the same goaltender that was
downright awful in the second period of the Round Robin game between
these same 2 opponents; Garoufalis was slightly more effective than
a fire hydrant would have been and was slightly more agile than a
sloth. Everything was going in except the kitchen sink. A medicine
ball would have gone in. He lived up to his "Red Light" nickname as
he had never done before.
Following his World Cup final performance, the nickname "Red Light"
Garoufalis has been officially retired until opening night of the
1999-2000 CASC season or until his first Swiss cheese performance,
whichever comes first. Just kidding. We couldn’t have won the big
prize without you Jimmy. We are the champions.
The other runner up teams were the French Canadians and team Europa.
The French Canadians, (I guess it’s politically incorrect to call
them Team Canada. It’s little things like that that make me realize
that Canada will never function to it’s fullest, but nothing is good
enough to warrant sovereignty) who gathered players from many teams,
had a decent World Cup but came up short in a 3-2 Semi final defeat
versus the Greco-Romans. Some of you French Canadian team members
can cry, sob and weep all you want about some of the calls that were
made but the bottom line is that you guys couldn’t put the puck in
the net when you had to. Ten goals in 3 games is pretty lame,
especially if you consider that 8 of those goals were scored in one
game. Leave some for the other games. And by the way, in the final
seconds of the Semi final game, it was more than obvious that the
whistle blew before the puck went in.
Lack of discipline and composure also hurt the French Canadian
team, that racked up the most penalty minutes in the tournament.
You cannot afford to be penalized so much in such a short tournament.
It’s gonna kill you sooner or later. It would have been a lot more
painful had Regent Proulx not been so solid in nets. The end
result was a Semi final exit.
The underdog Europa team was a pleasant surprise. All the CASC
prognosticators had Europa penciled in for the cellar. The reason:
lack of goal scoring. What a mistake that was. The veteran Europans
were the surprise team of the World Cup. Renegade forwards Peter
Knapp and Gary Cohen had a solid tournament. Steve "my last name
isn't spelled BLOW" Bleau added fire, intensity and leadership and
Leonard Luedee (pronounced Lu-Dee) was solid in nets. Chris Nadeau’s
last minute addition was a solid bonus and defenseman Victor Pajor
is one of the most underrated players in the CASC.
Hey Chris, you should have committed to the World Cup from the
start. See how much fun you had!! And you’ll be able to tell your
grandchildren that you were involved in the greatest ball hockey
game ever played. Just skip the part about your turn< in the shootout.
Europa came within one shootout goal from going to the World Cup
final. Everyone in the spectators gallery was rooting for you guys.
If only you had put the British Bluedogs away. Actually, it didn’t
matter after all; the Greco-Romans took care of them
Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the I Files.