Written with Pat Kuzyk
While the Seattle Seahawks boast the best NFL record this season with only 2 losses, and Philadelphia fans recount with pride the Flyers’ all-time NHL-record 35-game winning streak, the humble Palouse has hosted an athletic achievement that trumps those celebrated performances. On Tuesday night, December 17, 2013, the TerraGraphics Geezers, a local ice hockey team, won their last game of 2013, having dominated every challenger it faced since January. The unbeaten streak has straddled two seasons and includes winning the Puckapalousa tournament, which was held in March just before the Moscow rink closed for the summer.
You may scoff that the Geezers’ opponents were unworthy. How can one mention the NHL and the B-Division of the Palouse Elite League in the same sentence? Isn’t the team’s accomplishment vitiated by the amateur nature of its adversaries? NO - because this triumphant hockey team consists of a group of old men who - with the help of their young goalkeepers, Erika Rader and Ben Anderson – have consistently prevailed over players half their age.
Goalie: Erika Rader; Middle Row: Jim Parsons, David Rauk, Alan Brown,
and Bob Denner; Back Row: John Odowd, Paul Swetik,
Jerry Grzsbelski, Mark Kuzyk and Paul Gessler
The average skater on the Geezer team is 57 years old. By day they're carpenters, realtors, scientists, foresters, medical professionals, or retired; but by night (that is, one night a week) - and at heart, these men are devoted hockey players. Some limp into the arena, while others rub their backs and sigh as they ceremonially don their skates and pads. Creaking knees interrupt the locker room banter, but all eyes are bright in anticipation of the battle ahead.
The TerraGraphics Geezers may look comical in their retro yellow and brown jerseys, but on the ice, they're a force to be reckoned with. What they lack in speed they redress with cunning, dexterity, and seamless collaboration. The key is team play. Win or lose, they are a joyful bunch, doing what they love and developing a lifelong camaraderie.
Despite the dazzling success of their hometown team, sports fans of the Palouse remain oblivious to its existence – foregoing numerous opportunities for joyful bragging. It’s time to rescue the Geezers from obscurity and give them the kudos they deserve.