Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Nick Leddy are playing in the most stacked summer rec league in the world.
The three Minnesota-based Islanders are playing in Da Beauty League, a rec league made up of 75 players from 16 NHL organizations, 14 minor league teams and seven NCAA teams (per NHL.com). It’s the world’s most premier summer league and needless to say, probably wouldn’t make a bad NHL team either.
“Da Beauty League is a lot of fun,” Lee said. “Summer skates are no speed, pretty relaxed and a lot of times guys are just taking it pretty easy. It’s nice to have a competitive league put together where guys can still have a lot of fun with it. Guys are skating hard and working on their game. Fans are coming in every night and the proceeds go to charity, so it’s a good thing.”
There are six teams and they play tripleheaders every Tuesday and Thursday at Braemar Arena in Edina, Minn. All games are 4-on-4 and feature two, 25-minute halves. Admission is $5 with proceeds going to charities, including the United Heroes League, which was formerly Defending the Blue Line.
The league was put together by agents Chris McAlpine and Ben Hankinson of Octagon Hockey and co-founders Terry Moore, Tony Michel and Josh Schaub. Lee credits them for spotting a need for up-tempo skates and for putting it together.
“He recognized the need that there’s 30-odd NHL players and probably another 50 guys in the minors who come here to Minneapolis in the summer to train,” Lee said. “There’s kind of a need to have something more organized to get together where we can all play against some high quality players all summer.”
Of course, there’s a good amount of messing around, and while the guys are skating hard, they recognize that the John Scott Cup – the league’s championship – isn’t the Stanley Cup.
“You've got a lot of Minnesota guys that come back every summer, and hockey is a very tight-knit group of guys in general," said Leddy, who is from Eden Prairie, Minn, told NHL.com. "It's fun coming back and getting with a lot of old buddies that you may not have played with for a long time or haven't seen the whole season or summer."
Playoffs are set to begin on August 9 and all three Islanders are going to the dance. Lee, Nelson and top-seeded RBC Wealth Management will play Nick Leddy and fourth-seeded Aspire Beverages with a trip to the final – on August 10 – on the line.
(Da Beauty League held a draft to decide teams, in case you were wondering why the three Islanders aren’t together.)
Nelson is one of the league’s top scorers, with 14 points (7G, 7A) in four games, while Lee has nine points (3G, 6A) in six games. Leddy has four points (2G, 2A) in four games, but in a league where goalies have joined the rush, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy (equivalent) isn’t the highest priority. (Or maybe it’s the highest priority because even the goalies want in on it. You decide.)
The fun wraps up on August 10 and at least one Islander will compete for the John Scott Cup. Win or lose, it’s been a beauty of a summer for Lee, Nelson and Leddy.