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Chelsea Challenge 2009Starting tonight I take part in the New York City Gay Hockey Association’s Chelsea Challenge for the eighth time! My first time was June 2002. I’d played maybe a half-dozen games by the time the Challenge rolled around and I was scared playing that year. I was on a team where I didn’t know many people and, clearly, I was not a good player.

Things change fast though and the next year I was a better player and the team I played on won bronze in the developmental division. In ’04 I jumped into the captain’s chair and that fantastic team took gold in the division. Over the years I’ve picked up two gold, two silver and the bronze medal and captained a Challenge team four times.

This year I’m jumping out of the developmental division comfort zone and trying out the recreational division. Gregg, a friend and teammate from the Tigers, invited me to join his Hartford Whalers team for the weekend. We’re playing in the Rec B division, safely out of the way of Rec A’s New York Lions and Montreal Dragons who tend to dominate that division. I think we’re going to have a great weekend. The competition looks good on paper and it looks to be a great time. We play one game Friday night (at 9:20), two games Saturday afternoon (1:40 and 4:40) and Sunday morning (9:10). We’re looking to end up in the finals too, Sunday morning at 11:40.

Beyond all the hockey playing, there’s a lot of fun catching up with players who come in from outside NYC. The tournament draws people in from across North America as well as a few who come from Europe to play.

It’s going to be a great weekend. Think GO WHALERS! all weekend long. Come back late Sunday to see how we did (you can also keep up via Facebook and Twitter because I’ll keep the updates going there). Or, if you’re in NYC, come cheer in person!