Blackhawk alumni show their skills to Icecats

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Peter Scott had his chance. With a minute left in the game, the UA left wing and Arizona Icecats coach/Chicago Blackhawk Alumni team goalie Leo Golembiewski were about to go one-on-one. The only thing missing was an ESPN camera crew. And there were plenty of reporters whose faces could easily have been pressed against the glass.

Well, there were a few other things missing, too, like a relatively close game (it was 9-6 Chicago at the time) and, because the game was for charity, an air of energy and excitement. Who would have cared whether Scott missed the shot? Besides, it wasn't like he had a clear path to the goal the Blackhawk Alumni made sure of that.

As he started toward the crease, about a half dozen Chicago players threw their sticks onto the ice, breaking Scott's concentration and forcing him to send his shot wide which made Golembiewski look even better.

The announcer perhaps put it best when he said, "Peter Scott misses the penalty shot because of," he pauses, "a lot of debris on the ice."

The episode provided some comic relief in a game that saw plenty of great hockey, from both the Icecats and the Blackhawks. Proceeds from the game went to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which, combined with the 10th Annual Leo Golembiewski Celebrity Golf Tournament, made out quite well over the weekend, thanks to the Icecat coach.

"We haven't seen numbers yet," Golembiewski said. "With all the tickets out I think we had about 6,000 people here. We're very, very, very pleased. Holy crow, it was incredible."

The Icecats jumped ahead early with two goals in about two minutes the first was scored by right wing Tim Kersey, the second by center Kevin Oztekin. The third member of the front line, Scott, got into the action six minutes later with a goal of his own, making the score 3-0 Icecats with almost eight minutes remaining. Then the Blackhawks snapped out of it.

Forward Reg Kerr got the Alumni on the board with about six minutes remaining in the first. Then, with just under two minutes left, the fans were treated to some great puck-handling by Hall-of-Famer Stan Mikita, who proved he still has something left in him 14 years after retirement.

The Blackhawk forward took the puck down the right side, where an Icecat defender came to greet him. Mikita played keep-away with the defender while heading toward the crease, first showing goalie Dennis Hands the puck and then gently poking it around the right post and in, as if saying, "Now you see it, now you don't." 3-2 Icecats, but Chicago was far from done.

The "visitors" put up four more unanswered goals in the second, but it was a penalty that got the fans' attention more than the scoring.

About five minutes into the second period, Alumni goalie Murray Bannerman was called for tripping, prompting cheers of "Lee-oh! Lee-oh!" from the fans. And they got their wish. Coach er, Goalie Golem-biewski headed onto the ice to the delight of the thousands of fans that were packed into the Tucson Convention Center. Right wing Nate Soules drew first blood from the new Blackhawk goalkeeper, making the score 6-4 in favor of Chicago. Golembiewski started the third period as well, and the two sides traded goals for the rest of the game, which Chicago won, 9-6.

Alumni coach and Hall-of-Famer Glenn Hall had much praise for the event.

"It's been excellent," said Hall. "I just mentioned (to another reporter) that we have been treated like royalty, which we have. It was nice to see a good, big, vocal crowd. . I was quite impressed with the Icecats and the way they moved the puck."

When prompted about seeing his good friend Golembiewski on the ice, Hall chuckled.

"It was interesting. I thought he made some great saves," Hall said. "I told him, 'Leo, you were great. The recovery you could improve on,' which he agreed. . I thought he would really, absolutely, totally compete, which he did, and he didn't want those young buggers to score any goals on him."

Golembiewski also had praise for his friend and mentor.

"It (playing goalie) felt good," the Arizona coach said. "It's an honor to wear the crest (of the Blackhawks). It's the biggest honor of my life to wear Glenn Hall's number one."

And hockey in Arizona during the summer? Well, the opinions of a few very likely echoed the sentiments of the whole.

Said Glenn Hall: "It was warm in the building but the teams, they skated hard, they really did."

Others put it more bluntly.

Alumni assistant coach Reg Fleming: "It's hot."

Alumni defenseman Peter Marsh: "It's hot. Hot."

Overall, everyone came out a winner. Rumors abound that university bars are working on a new beverage ("Leo on Ice," anyone?), but all in all, Tucsonans showed Chicagoans that hockey is alive and well in Arizona.

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