Mic-macs, Strawberry Lakers renew Turkey Day rivalry

Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2000

The fourth annual Memorial Hall of Fame hockey game, which will be held at the Soldotna Sports Center Thursday at 7 p.m., is the perfect cure for the Thanksgiving void.

The game pits two area all-star teams -- the Peninsula Mic-macs and the Strawberry Lakers -- against each other, with the proceeds going to the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association.

"We've found this game works on Thanksgiving because everybody eats early, takes a nap, watches some football or whatever, then has nothing to do," said Michael Gabriel, the coach of the Peninsula Mic-macs.

Well, the game works on Thanksgiving for almost everybody.

"It's not the best for the players," said Mark Hall, one of the main organizers of the event. "They eat a bunch of turkey, then they have to go play hockey.

"But for the fans looking for something to do, it's the best show in town."

All kidding aside, the players have no problem getting up for the game.

"I just tell them to eat early and take a little nap, then jog to the rink instead of walking," said Gabriel, whose team notched a 7-5 victory last year.

Hall said the game also can be nice for those who are away from their family on Thanksgiving.

"For people without family, holidays are the toughest time," Hall said. "Rather than just sitting around alone all day and thinking about it, they can come and spend time with the hockey family."

As usual, the rosters for the game read like a who's who in veteran area skaters. A few of the names involved are Jeremy Love, Ben DeRaeve, various skaters in the Gabriel family, Johnny Bea, Leif Swanson, Tim McCarthy, Shawn Friendshuh and Quincy Bird.

"These are the type of players who have been all-state or all-region in the past," Hall said.

The game will be full contact.

"Last year was just an awesome game," Gabriel said. "There's no ill will on both sides. Just hard, clean hockey."

Hall said the money from the game goes to help kids stay involved in KPHA hockey. If a kid is having trouble coming up with the money to play because a parent has a job winding down, proceeds from the game will be used to make up the gap.

There also will be numerous prizes available at the game, including a jersey of Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Travis Hall. Travis is Mark's son.

The cost is $5 per person and $3 for children and senior citizens. A family can gain admission for $10.

Gabriel also mentioned the Mic-macs are trying to organize to become a full-time team that plays for charity next year. They are in the process of getting a board of directors together, and would like to start bringing teams down from Anchorage for games.

"There's definitely enough talented skaters around for it," Gabriel said. "The Mic-macs will be back."

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