Friday, January 31, 2014

What Just Happened?

My faith in disbelief has been shaken. 

I would not consider myself a "believer". I pooh pooh most religion. My understanding and experience of the world is that there are laws of the universe, as inviolate as the law of gravity that determine how things go. I'd say karma is one of those laws.  

These laws may or may not have been created and governed by a supreme being. I suspect there is some greater unknowable force at work that has resulted in this miraculous reality we all exist within. 

God, in my view, is not watching me, judging me, punishing or rewarding me for my choices, thoughts or actions.  Any of that, I say, comes from my own internal conversation, my awareness of right and wrong and my own ability to live a responsible, conscious life. 

Given this mindset I lie here shaking in my existential boots. 

It's 2 am. What just happened?  How do I reconcile this.  What should I tell myself?  

People experience tragedy and horrific loss every day. I don't.  Rarely has misfortune and loss touched me.   Well, perhaps except for the fact that I live in constant chronic and debilitating pain, the result of seven spinal surgeries and a lifetime of pounding from sports, mostly football and ice hockey. 

I recently experienced the loss of a parent, so that is fresh in my experience.   But that's about it for loss; my health, my dad and grandparents , oh and a few pets along the way. 

Tonight I nearly experienced the ultimate loss.  I came within a very few inches of being maimed or possibly instantly killed.  I can't be more serious. 

I'm not sure how to be about something so terribly awful that nearly happened but didn't. I will start by being grateful. 

Today is my youngest child, my daughter's 21 birthday.  She's been waiting for this day for years. It's a really big deal for her, like it is for most.  To celebrate, she has been planning a trip to San Francisco. She left today with her two friends and her mom, my wife. By the way, my wife is cool and a blast and there is no one my daughter would rather spend the weekend with than her mom.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about this, but it's nice they have this great relationship. 

I'm home alone for the weekend. It's Thursday night. I planned to watch the LA Kings host the Penguins on tv.  I considered going to the game with a friend but tickets were going for $175. I'll stay home and watch from the comfort of my couch. 

Around 6:00 pm or so I decided to head down the street to El Indio Mexican restaurant to order some takeout nachos. I got there, placed my order and paid.   It takes 5 or 10 minutes so I walked to the end of the block, crossed the busy intersection at Washington Street and went to buy a bottle of beer at the corner liquor store. 

I just missed the light so It cost me nearly five more minutes until it was my turn to cross again. These traffic signals include a countdown timer. I think it may give you 30 seconds or so to get across the 4 lane intersection. I'm a very slow walker.  When the timer hits zero the light turns red for the oncoming traffic. The walk sign flashes white and I can go. 

I patiently waited, then with the benefit of the full 30 seconds I crossed and entered the liquor store. I went to the section that has the individual large bottles of Mexican beer and I was undecided but finally chose a Pacifico over a Corona. I paid and left. Holding a large beer bottle in a brown bag I set out to retrace my route back to the restaurant where my hot melted cheese should be waiting atop my order of nachos. 

I approach the corner just as the street light was counting down from about 10 seconds.  Damn!  I'd never make it. Now I would have to wait another 3 or 4 minutes until I could walk. 

I waited. My mind wandered. I next noticed the timer showing 15 seconds until the light would change and I could finally cross. 

10, 9, 8....3 seconds to go. I ready myself to begin my crossing.  Right then I hear something that jolts me out of my wandering thoughts.  I don't recall if it was a car horn, someone yelling or the screech of tires but my focus instantly shifted left and up the hill to the intersection.  There, a large black SUV was barreling at full speed through the intersection. The driver hit the brakes...hard. It barely slowed him down. It was just that now instead of his wheels rolling, they were locked. The vehicle was skidding, swerving, out of control coming directly at me. 

My brain was trying to process what was happening but my body didn't move.  As the car headed right at me all I could think is "this is not happening". 

My feet barely budged. I found myself leaning back as the black vehicle's mirror brushed against my son's red Junior Cyclones warmup jacket that I had on. I watched the car as it flew by me, hit the fairly high curb and bounced off the telephone pole, slammed into the parked car before coming to rest back in the middle of the street. 

How did that miss me?  My body had gone numb , bracing for full impact.  

Broken glass, plastic, metal car parts were still sliding down the street as the offending vehicle came to a sudden stop. 

People came running out of the liquor store, the bar and the restaurant to check out the commotion.  The driver jumped out of the car. Someone rolled the back window down to survey the damage while two pit bulls also poked their heads out of the car. 

I slumped back and sat down, fading into the crowd of onlookers. I was shaken and shaking, wondering how in the world that I was untouched. 

I sat there and watched the ensuing chaos as people ran around asking what happened.  The police were on the scene in minutes.  I waited there assuming the cops would want a statement from witnesses.  They only talked to the driver and another driver who the offending driver claimed cut him off and caused the whole thing.  

I waited.  Then I left. My nachos would be cold. They were. But they were really good. So was the beer. 

My life could have been irreparably altered in that instant.  But I was fine.  No one would ever know how close I came.

By the way.  It's a miracle I was alone.  I don't know why but I decided to leave Roo, my golden retriever at home.  I normally take her everywhere.  Had she been with me she would have certainly been already in the street wanting to go.  It was a wonder I was able to avoid contact, there is no way I would have been able to get her out of the way.

I immediately went into asking myself questions. What just happened? Was this a direct message to me from a god I basically don't believe in?  Was there a lesson?  Was this random? 

I called my wife and told her what happened. I talked to my son.  I finished my dinner, watched the Kings lose, again and I went to bed still trying to understand, appreciate and make sense of what just happened. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chapter 46: Sleepy Time Down South

Sleepy Time Down South

Well, kiss my grits!  What do Spanish moss, boiled peanuts, bugs the size of small house pets and southern cooking have to do with ice hockey?  Not much, other than me, I suppose.  I have to be the only hockey player to ever come out of the small town of Bonifay, Florida, a tiny hamlet located in the middle of the Florida panhandle.  It was a great place to grow up.  We were the only Jewish family in this small, admittedly, red-neck town.  People found us a curiosity and were most kind and friendly.  

I mentioned this earlier, but after moving to Connecticut and discovering the great game of hockey in my early teen years, I became a big fan of our local minor pro team, the Eastern Hockey League(EHL)’s New Haven Blades.  Old time hockey at it’s best.  Blake Ball, Gunner Garrett, Dave Hainsworth, John Brophy, Murray Kuntz.  These were real men.  Giants upon which to idolize and to devote my every waking moment.  They were gods to us. I ate, slept and dreamed about the fights, the goals, the hits…such a colorful sport with blood and ice, tape, pucks, splintered sticks.  Silver blades and brown leather boots.  There was a sense of watching true gladiators fighting till the death.  My neighbors, Mike McDermott or Mark Steinberg and I would go to games whenever we got the chance.  The next day when skating on the lake, I would always have an extra jump in my step.  Some of the excitement and energy from the previous night's game got into my blood and made me better than I was.  I loved it.

What does this have to do with Florida?  Not much.  Here I was a Bonifay boy who had recently managed to get rid of the northern Florida, southern drawl I’d learned from birth.  I was able to eliminate; y’all, I reckon and ain’t, from my vocabulary.  At the same time I was able to avoid taking on the lingo of my new environs.  I never said, “youse guys!”, even though my new junior high school had a name that sounded more like an Italian restaurant than an educational institution.  Gianotti Junior High…Proudly in our hearts you lie!.  They made great ravioli for lunch.  Every Friday meant fish sticks in honor of the large Italian and Irish Catholic student body and local populace.  Zuppardi’s Apizza was two blocks away.  

I had quickly found and fallen in love with hockey.  As a player and a fan.  To me, this was an entire new world.  I had been deeply and profoundly angry with my father for ripping me from the bosom of my childhood. I was forced to leave all my friends behind.  I lost my place in the world.  It was a wonderful and comfortable place.  Now, I was dealing with acne, shaving and all the awkwardness of adolescence.  Hockey was my salvation.

I never gave it much thought, but I just assumed hockey existed only where there was cold weather and ice…Connecticut, New England, Canada, Minnesota…Russia and Scandanavia.  It wasn’t until years later that I learned that there was indeed pro, or at least semi-pro hockey in the south as well.

One night skating, as an adult in San Diego at my Thursday night pick group, the old pro's, I found myself sitting next to one of my childhood heroes.  I heard the name Rouleau.  I wrote about this encounter in a previous chapter.  Michel Rouleau was one of my favorite pure hockey players for the Blades. I hadn’t heard nor thought of him in many years.  Yet there he was one of my childhood heroes sitting next to me on the bench at the San Diego Ice Arena in Mira Mesa.  Bald, pudgy, nowhere near the player I once considered a deity.  But there we were.  Nearly equal.  He was 50, I was 39.  He had been slowed down by age, me by injury.  We chatted.  I asked and he went on to rattle off four or five NHL teams he said he’d played for.  I checked and learned he never played in the NHL.  The WHA...yes but, not the NHL.  Once your idol becomes human, what harm can a small fib cause?

I went home and dug out my box of hockey memorabilia.  I had all my old articles and pictures from my playing days at West Haven High and Uconn.  I had professional programs I’d collected from NY Rangers, Hartford Whalers and New Haven Blades games I had attended.  In the box was an old Blade's program.  It was ripped and torn. but mostly intact.  On it was Michel Rouleau’s autograph.  Pretty cool.  I flipped it over and on the back was a listing of the league standings.  There, were the Blades, the Clinton Comets and the Long Island Ducks, along with the New Jersey Devils, Syracuse Blazers and Johnstown Jets.  But then there was a southern division.  I’d never noticed this.  There were teams in Knoxville, Roanoke, Charlotte, Nashville and even St. Petersberg, Fla.  The one that surprised me the most however was the Jacksonville Rockets.  Ice hockey in the Florida Panhandle…in the 1960s? Who knew?

Of course with the NHL expansion hockey found its way all over the USA and then with the huge trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles the sport exploded all across the sunbelt.  

Having had my second life with hockey as a player, dad, coach, ref and fan, all as a resident of Southern California, I’ve enjoyed watching the quality, quantity and level of play increase. It's to a point where it is not uncommon to see Cali kids playing in the NHL as well as through all levels of college, junior hockey and prep schools.  They are right there along with the Canadians, New Englanders, Minnesotans as well as with the Czechs, Swedes, Russians and Fins.  

I’m most proud of having watched and been a part of the development of many of these Socal kids.  But the same thing was happening in Phoenix, Vegas, Texas and Florida, all through the south.

One such player we knew had just moved to San Diego from Florida.  In an earlier chapter I told the story of our miracle peewee year with the La Jolla Jaguars.  One of the best players on that team was a youngster named Rory Hansen. This was a solid team, with the likes of Chad Ruhwedel(now with the Rochester Amerks and Buffalo Sabres) and Jon Parker, also with Rochester.  My son was on this team along with many other fine young players.  Greg Park recently became the all time scoring leader for Northern Arizona University.  There were only twelve skaters.  Coach Joe Noris liked it that way.  

The fact that my son, and Rory Hansen, ended up on the Jaguars was a fluke.  Both were destined to sign with the San Diego Jr. Gulls but as fate had it, the tryouts there went awry and I decided to take my son over to the Jaguars.  I encouraged Rory’s dad, Dan, to come with me and both of our sons ended up playing for and helping the Jags overcome all odds and win the California State Peewee championship that season.

The Hansens were transplants to San Diego, from Florida.  Dan was in the Coast Guard and had been transferred to San Diego.  Midway through the season the Hansen’s had to miss an important weekend with the Jaguars.  Unfortunately, one of Rory’s grandparents passed away and they had to go back to Florida for the funeral.

We lost an important game that weekend.  

CAHA, the governing body for California youth hockey had some very strict rules.  Violating any of these regulations could result in suspension of an offending player or even disqualification of the team.  I mention this because some time later I learned that Rory had actually skipped out to go back to Atlanta for a tournament with his old Florida team.  No death in the family.  How many fake grandpa deaths have occurred in the name of weekend hockey tournaments? How many more have to die?

Today, hockey players coming out of the south is no big deal.  However, I'm pretty sure I'm still the one and only to ever hail from Bonifay, Fla.  I checked and the closest rink to Bonifay is in Tallahassee.  That's only about an hour and a half away.  Easily in range for a devoted player and hockey dad.  But I suspect they are still focused on football, baseball and basketball. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chapter 45: The Iceman Cometh

It's been an eventful week here in Connecticut. I finally got to my parents home at 3am. The funeral went smoothly.  It was humbling and enlightening to see how loved my dad was; by his friends, family, neighbors, fishing buddies and fellow musicians. I prepared a speech. I was not particularly sad or emotional about losing my father.  He was not very happy being ill and I know he wanted to go. So I was in pretty good shape knowing he was no longer suffering.  

That was until I stood up to deliver my talk right after my mother spoke. I was a blubbering fool. I had no idea where that came from. My speech include jokes and some funny stories so I had people laughing and crying.  

This story was relayed via email by one of my dad’s fishing friends.  I included it in my talk.  People were doubling over in their seats picturing this:
Red Balaban-Old Man and the Sea
 I always enjoyed fishing with " Red " when he was in Florida. He once hooked into a large Cobia and fought it so hard that his pants fell off . He continued to fight the large fish in his underwear until he finally landed it. By that time his underwear were around his knees and all enjoyed watching his bare ass as he got his prized fish into the boat. I laughed until I was blue in the face. He was a great man who I will truly miss.
If you happen to be fan of jazz, dixieland or otherwise, here are a few links about my dad and his impact on the genre:


It was great to see some of my high school hockey buddies and even my high school sweetheart at the service. My cousin, Bob Balaban was there as well as Ted Kennedy Jr. I rented a car for my son and he drove eight hours each way to get to say farewell to his Papa. 

Max and Bob Balaban
Ice on Phipps setting up for a perfect freeze
The day of the funeral the ice and snow on the lake was wet and melting.  We'd just had the big snow storm that covered the northeast. Now the temperature shot up to the high 40s with rain. 

We are not a religious family, but my mom wanted to “sit shiva” so we did that.  I was talking to one of our guests at this occasion.  A fellow named Joel Schiavone.  In one of my very early chapters of this saga I mentioned my introduction to the game of hockey started with my next door neighbor who played for a peewee team at the New Haven Arena named the Schiavone Scrappers.  Joel Schiavone is a dixieland jazz musician, associate and long time friend of my father’s.  I’d known of him for nearly 50 years.  I never knew he was involved with hockey.  At the Shiva I asked him if he was related to the Schiavone’s scrap business which sponsored the peewee team way back when.  He said he was.  He then told me my father had told him my story.

Schiavone Scrappers 1967
I thought I was talking to a nice older jazz man who may have had some familiarity with hockey.  He then told me he’d owned the AHL New Haven Nighthawks.  I couldn’t believe I’d known of this man for all those years and my dad never mentioned he owned a pro hockey team.  The things you learn!  I showed Joel this picture and he got a big kick out of it.

By Monday the “Polar Vortex” came blasting in.  I could tell the lake was setting up for perfect black ice on the lake. I predicted the ice would be ready by morning.
As good as it gets

I, however, would miss out on it because I had a 7:00 am flight up to Buffalo to watch my son's team play Fredonia for their first game after the winter break. I was excited to see Max play defense. 

My original plan was to fly to Buffalo, catch the game and then hang out there until Friday when they would be back to play Buffalo State. Then I would hop on the team bus back to Elmira where the would face Geneseo on Saturday. I would then fly back to San Diego on Sunday out of Elmira. 

I started thinking about what I would do in Buffalo for three days by myself.  I decided to ask my mother if she would like me to come back on Wednesday so I could help her get some affairs in order. She thought it was a great idea.  So I kept my Tuesday flight to Buffalo and my Sunday flight to San Diego and I added a round trip flight back to New Haven on Wednesday and back again to Buffalo on Friday morning. 

I've mentioned before but I have one messed up spine, so all this travel is a killer. 

To recap: New Haven to Buffalo. Buffalo to New Haven. New Haven to Buffalo.  Bus trip from Buffalo to Elmira. Fly from Elmira to San Diego. Every flight includes a stop in Philly. 

I wake up at 5:30 Tuesday to drive myself in my dad's car to the airport in New Haven. I was planning on leaving the car at long term parking and picking it up the next day when I returned. 

Did I mention it was cold. Below zero with nasty winds. Did I mention my dad’s 1995 Dodge neon is a death trap?  I got to the airport and parked.  I had to walk about 1/4 mile in the the bitter cold to the tiny terminal at Tweed-New Haven.  When I was about 50 yards from the door I had to break into a what I generously call a run because my face was killing me…(I know, it was killing you too). Actually what I call a run is really more of a shuffle. It was way too cold for any animal life.

Once I checked in for my flight I got a call from USair telling me my connecting flight from Philly to Buffalo was cancelled.  Damn.  What now? I needed to get out of Connecticut.  I’d had enough.  I was not going to miss my son’s game.  My mind raced. I’m a pretty good problem solver, especially when it comes to travel problems.  I will find a way.

Hmm.  I had my dad’s rolling wheels of death.  I could chance it and drive it to Buffalo.  How far would that be?  7 hours.  A. That would kill my back.  B. That’s a long freaking drive.  But hey, I was determined to see Max play.  I was going to go for it.  I spent an hour on the phone trying to get refunded for my travel.  That was a mess, but I finally got it done.  Then I headed back to the parking lot to retrieve the car.  Again, through the bitter cold, I made my way.  I got to the lot only to see a sign that said to pay for parking inside…so I turn around and fought the biting wind once more.  There was no one at the terminal to take my payment.  The vending machines were out of order.  I found a time stamp machine behind the counter and helped myself to it.  Success?  Back again to the lot, I got in my car and pulled up to the exit.  I inserted my ticket in the machine where it was promptly eaten.  OK, let’s go! But that didn’t happen.  The arm did not raise, so I couldn’t get out.  I scouted the area and thought the Neon should be able to squeeze through the small gap between the post and a fense, which it did…so I was on my way.

Great, seven hours in a car that probably hadn’t had an oil change in quite a while in sub-zero weather.  Then I realized that the wiper fluid was empty…On my last visit I discovered this and I bought a jug of the stuff.  After I poured it into the washer fluid reservoir cap I watched every last drop leak out from under the vehicle. A hole in the reservoir.  

I started thinking this drive might not be such a good idea.  I searched for a car rental office on my phone and realized my hands were almost numb.  The car had no heat.  I surely would have died.  So I headed for the nearest Alamo office.  I got there and started the rental process but I texted Max and his coach to make sure the game was still happening.  

I also put out a request on the forum for anyone to let me know if they knew anything.

No one got back to me, so I proceeded.  I had not quite completed the transaction when the agent went out to warm up the car for me.  By the time he returned the coach had gotten back to me to let me know the game had indeed been called off.  Later I got a nice phone call from "joecct" from the USCHO forum also letting me know the game had been canceled and not to take the drive.

Back to West Haven.  Back to my parent’s home on the lake where I’d grown up, where I first skated and fell in love with hockey. The ice was amazing..I don’t think I’d ever seen it more perfect.  Again, my back prevents me from doing what I love the most.  I can barely even reach my feet to tie my skates…but the ice was so beautiful.  I knew I would pay for it, but I had to give it a whirl.  I headed to Whitie Bensen’s.  The oldest and arguably best hockey store in Connecticut, maybe New England and possibly the universe is about 3 minutes from the house.
Take your pick

I walked in and Kyle Bensen said to have at it…take whatever I needed.  I grabbed a pair of 8 1/2 Bauer Vapor XXs, some gloves, he let me use a West Haven High hockey beanie, gave me the longest heaviest Sherwood wooden stick I’ve ever lifted and 4 pucks.  He also gave me a pair of skate guards so I could put the skates on in my living room and walk across the stone patio down to the lake.  
Brother and sister

What I lived for as a kid

No words
Painful, and stupid, but worth it.  I was in heaven.  I skated alone.  Then with my sister.  Then my old high school buddy, Dave Hansen and his two sons, Austin and Ryan.  There was Conor Crouse, grandson of my high school hockey coach, the legendary Art Crouse.  The ice was spectacular.  Never better.  We skated to the far end of the lake watching and listening the scary but harmless freezing cracks beneath our feet.
I even inserted myself into the shinny game.  I was horrible. The stick was too heavy to be able to control the puck. My feet did very little of what my ego thought I should be able to do.  I was out there with college kids who could skate circles around me.  It was quite humbling.  I wanted so badly to tell them how good I used to be, what a legend(at least in my own mind) I am in West Haven hockey lore.  They wouldn’t care.  I was just some old fart who could barely skate as far as they were concerned but they were very kind to me.
Conor Crouse, Ryan Hansen and Dave Hansen

It took only minutes for me to realize that this was a bad idea.  I haven’t, can’t and shouldn’t partake in this kind of activity.  But I would not be denied. Even though I’m paying for it.  If there is such a thing as painful bliss, I just experienced it.  

Did I mention it was cold?

So, for three days there was this winter perfection.  The kind of ice we used to live for as kids.  And for the most part there was no one out there but me.  I went out each day a few times for a few minutes at a time.  I found it hard to fathom that no one was taking advantage of the beautiful, amazing  and rare phenomenon.  On the other hand, I would skate around thinking, this is all, just for me.  What a gift.  The people I mentioned only showed up for the last day or so of these three days.

Today I got up at 5:00 am, once more to catch a cab to the airport, to once again try to make my way back to Buffalo to watch my son play tonight.  Problem!  It was snowing. Crap.  Would my flight be canceled again.  Would I be stuck in West Haven again?  And now the great ice would now be covered with snow, so there goes that.  Besides, I’d returned my skates and gear back to Whitie Bensen’s last night.

Other than paying the price for my indiscretion by skating, with the ensuing pain, and the delays due to de-icing the planes in both New Haven and Philadelphia, I got to Buffalo without much of a hitch.  I landed, took a cab to Buff State, found a cute little coffee shop and bakery where I am hanging out until the game at 7pm tonight.  Did I mention pain?  I need a bed!

In the meantime, after all this, I get a text from my son telling me he’s not in the lineup tonight.  Great…sheesh.  I was obviously very sad about my father’s passing and the funeral, but this…this is hard to take.  I’m a hockey guy, what can I say?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chapter 44: Dear Old Dad

Well, that was quick. I left Connecticut after taking care of my dad for two weeks, on the Sunday before Christmas day.  By the following Sunday morning he had passed away.  It wasn’t a surprise, but it was still something of a shock.  He was 84.  He’d been ailing for much of the year and ill for the past month.  I was with him at his weakest and most vulnerable.  It was a rare opportunity to spend such an intimate time with someone who I had not really been all that close with for much of my life.  

The past week has been filled with all of the details of wrapping up a life; funeral arrangements, sorting out affairs, contacting friends.  

I’m on a flight back from San Diego to Connecticut once again.   This is my sixth such trip in less than ten months.  Getting out of San Diego has been a grind.  A big snow storm has put a crimp in travel across the country.  My flight was originally scheduled for 6:30 am out of San Diego to Philadelphia with a stop in Phoenix and then a commuter flight up to New Haven.  I got to the airport only to wait until my flight was cancelled.  I was told that I would not be able to get to Connecticut until tomorrow.  I then pulled out the “my dad died and I’m trying to get to the funeral” card.  I told the lady I’m sure she hears lots of stories, but if there is anything she could do I’d appreciate it.  Eight hours later and I'm in first class on a direct flight to Philadelphia where I will have to then go to Hartford instead of New Haven.  Oh yeah, and a $200 limo ride down to West Haven at 2:00 am. 

I'm finally about to land in Hartford at about 1:30 am. Johnny "football" Manziel is on my flight. 

Tomorrow will involve dealing with the caterer and wrapping up details for Sunday's funeral. I'm sure my dad would be irked for scheduling his funeral right in the middle of the first round of the NFL playoffs. Go Chargers. 

I'm to give a talk at the service. I'm prepared.  We'll see if I hold up OK but I think I will. 

I rented my son a car. He's driving 8 hours each way.  He will miss practice on Sunday but be back to school in time for the Monday skate. It looks like he's stepped up for his team.  They've lost a few defenseman to injuries and his coaches have tried him out and apparently are pleased. 

I managed to turn my dad's funeral into an opportunity to get to watch my kid play hockey this next week. Tuesday I'll be flying up to Buffalo to catch a game against Fredonia.  Then I'll be there again on Friday to watch them play Buff State.  I'll be heading back to Elmira to watch the game against Geneseo before flying back to San Diego on Sunday. 

My dad was a fairly well known musician and band leader among the jazz crowd of the northeast.  We will be holding a more elaborate musical celebration of life event in Mid-February to honor him and have a good excuse for a party. And yes it will be another chance for me to get back to catch three or four more games. Elmira travels to Manhattenville for a pair of games that same weekend. M'ville normally plays their home games at play land Parkway in Rye, New York but due to damage from last year's hurricane Sandy they currently play in Stamford, CT, about a half hour from our home in West Haven. 

I will be back with an update after the funeral.