As some of you may know the Clovers take a yearly pilgrimage to Strasbourg, France for a beer league hockey tournament but this year the host rink had an electrical issue forcing the event to be cancelled with very little notice. Thankfully the will to play hockey over came this obstacle and a combined effort from our friends in Strasbourg along with Coach Ger Duffy and club legend Ben Mareil they managed to turn what seemed like a non runner into a great weekend of hockey, food and beer 2 hours north in the beautiful city of Metz.
Clovers set off in the early hours of Thursday may 30th flying into Basel and then driving to Metz were the new hosts came out and gave us a game. Friday morning brought an intense couple of hours training on ice (which is unfortunately a rarity for us with no rink in Ireland). That night we made the most of the available ice with some of our new found friends from the Metz team joining us for a pick up game.
Saturday brought the arrival of the other teams from Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Montreal to kick off the tournament which didn’t take long to heat up with some really competitive games from all involved. Sunday had an early start and kicked off for us with a Clovers Vs Clovers game, needless to say neither side wanted to give an inch to the other. The rest of the day is a blur of hockey, BBQ and beer followed by the presentation of awards, Clovers regained their Beer Cup trophy in no small part by the addition of Adam Pepper.
On a side note, we had forgotten one essential item that has always traveled with us, our beloved tri-colour flag! This didn’t sit well with coach Duffy who promptly found what must have been the only Irish shop in all of Metz, but alas for all the Irish based tat that they did sell, they didn’t sell actual flags. This wasn’t going to deter him, he spent the next 20 minutes arguing with he shop owner about buying the one flag he had in the store which was hanging on the shop wall. Eventually the shop owner cracked (or just wanted this Irish mad man out of his shop) and agreed. The rest of the team had settled in for a nice meal in a local restaurant when we were met by Coach Duffy parading down the street sporting the flag as a cape!
Sunday night brought the Clover “family dinner” with our own award ceremony.
Mike Smith Award: Mike Smith
Most games played: Aaron Collins/PJ Cunningham
Most time spent offside: Bayleigh Duffy/Katarina Benova
Top scorer: Julien Brenier
Most Improved A Player: Derek O’Neill
Most Improved B Player: Bayleigh Duffy
Biggest moans: Julien Brenier/PJ Cunningham
Ger Bear Stare: Morgan Kan/Mark Costello
*Mike smith award goes to the person who said the least on the whole weekend.
*Ger Bear Stare award goes to the person who gave the most disapproving look when Ger would suggest something (usually ridiculous to everyone but Ger)
Clovers in attendance:
Coach Ger Duffy
Romans Piskurevs (A team captain)
Dermot McNally (B team captain)