Late on Saturday night, a group of men in bright white hockey jerseys posed with a beer keg at center ice in CONSOL Energy Center.
For the third year in a row, Team Labatt had captured the championship title in the highest division at the fourth annual Penguins Adult Hockey Classic presented by Labatt Blue.
“It was fun. It’s good to get together,” said Rico Day of Team Labatt. “A lot of us have been playing hockey for a long time, so it’s always good to get back together and play some competitive hockey.”
That day, Team Labatt – along with five others – competed in their respective divisions for the chance to hoist the “Labatt Barrel.”
In the Chinstrap Division (Lower C), it was Deke and Destroy who captured the title by beating the Mudcats 4-2. The score was 2-2 going into the final frame, and Deke and Destroy scored midway through the third period and added an empty netter to seal the win.
In the King Division (Upper C), it was Jonnet Real Estate Management who beat Team PGH in a shootout. The score going into the third period was 3-2 and Team PGH scored with three minutes left to even it up. JRM scored the winning shootout goal in the sixth round.
Creepy Neighbors won in the Royal Division (B), beating Bar 31 3-2. The score was tied 1-1 well into the third period when CR scored two goals in rapid succession. Bar 31 scored a power-play goal in the final minutes and pulled their goalie, but could not get the tying goal.
Finally, Team Labatt was victorious in the Emperor Division (A), defeating Smiling Moose 6-2. The score was tied at the end of the first period, but Team Labatt took a 3-0 lead in the second and went up 5-0 in the third. After Smiling Moose netted a pair, Labatt scored its sixth goal.
All of the winning teams will have their names etched on the coveted barrel.
They got the chance to watch the Penguins-Coyotes game earlier in the day from a party suite at the arena, and then starting at 5 o’ clock in the afternoon, the playing surface was turned over to the adult league teams.
“Even though these guys are adults, they’re still kind of like big kids when it comes to the chance to play on CONSOL ice,” said Mark Shuttleworth, who is the Penguins Director of Youth Hockey Programs and coordinated the event. “It’s a pretty meaningful thing and I think everybody appreciates the opportunity.”
“The facility’s great, the ice is good, the boards are live,” agreed Lou Garritan, captain of Team Labatt. “We’re not really used to playing on an ice surface with boards that are that live and smooth.”
The tournament brought out the competitor in all of the players, but for most it’s about getting out and having a good time with the boys.
“Maybe 10 years ago it was more about winning but now it’s more about having a good time with the boys,” Day said. “Just getting together, throwing some jabs around in the locker room and having some fun on the ice. When you win, it’s the icing on the cake.”
“We don’t get to do that much,” Garritan added. “A lot of guys are married and things like that, so they don’t get a hall pass too much. It’s fun to get together on the weekend and hang out, and it’s even better to celebrate a win.”
The four winning teams:
Deke and Destroy