By: Scott Spooner
After taking a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Golf Course Hockey Challenge was back for the 27th time in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This annual tradition pits professionals from the turfgrass industry against each other in hockey for the right to hoist the “McCormick Cup” (named after Peter McCormick, one of the founders of TurfNet and a long-time manager/coach for the TurfNet team in Niagara.) For over 20 years, a group of Michigan Golf Course Superintendent, suppliers and other turf professionals has attended this tournament, with 2023 marking the ninth time that Team Michigan was able to win the competitive division of the tournament.
With four games over two short days, this tournament is always a test of stamina, but this year, with only eight skaters, Team Michigan faced an uphill battle. We faced the University of Guelph in the first game of the tourney. The 8AM face-off, along with the youth of our adversaries proved to be a tough test. Guelph also had twice as many skaters and used this to force a 3 to 3 tie.
Due to the scoring system of the tournament, Michigan was in a hole and had to come out firing against Toronto. A quick four-goal first period set us up to prevail and tournament MVP Andrew Doppke was able to back-stop the team to a shutout victory.
The next day saw Michigan face-off in another early morning tilt against London, Ont. Several of the London team members were missing from the game, since London was assured of being in the Championship game and the “Attitude Adjustment Party, sponsored by ClubCar” went until the early morning hours. Michigan was able to clinch a spot with a, relatively easy win, to set up a rematch in the final game.
This match was fully attended and London was looking for revenge, but stellar goaltending and stifling defense allowed Michigan to come out on top with a final score of 5 -2. Team Michigan will be back to defend the Cup next year. If you would like to join us, contact Rob Adam (email@example.com) or Scott Spooner (firstname.lastname@example.org) We also hope to put together an over-40 team for next year.
Team Michigan would like to thank our sponsors. Landscape Services, Harrell’s and Syngenta.
(Left to Right)Andrew Doppke, Shawn Adam, Tommy Guzzardo, Shawn Rotundi, Josh Somers, Rob Adam, Tom Robbins, Scott Spooner Billy Mihelich