The Seattle Wolves are Howling for More!
|Thursday, December 7, 2017|
The Seattle Wolves have been around for quite a while and remain as close now as they ever were. Their lives as teammates extend way past hockey as you'll see below. We had the opportunity to speak with Brian Smith and ask him some questions about the team and the CARHA Hockey World Cup!
Tell us about the Seattle Wolves– when were they created and what are their values as a team?
Seattle Wolves Hockey and Social Club was established in 1992 by a group of friends looking to play some hockey and have some fun both on and off the ice.
As more players joined, the Wolves formed a second team to play in a different league. Eventually we had enough Wolves that we formed our own recreational league. Monday nights, 2 ice slots, 4 teams. We drafted teams, played a short 12-week season, one playoff game, then shuffled the deck and did it all again. 56 players of varied skill levels and ages. Always followed by beer and socializing. A great opportunity for friends of differing talent to still play together. Also allowed fathers and sons to play together and in one case father, mother, son and daughter.
From that group of 56 we also took the top 15 and placed as team in the local "A" league, the next 15 made up a team in the "B" division and the next 15 played in the "C" division. That allowed everyone to also play a more competitive brand of hockey once a week as well.
As time has gone on we've had some ebbs and flows but the core of the group that started in 1992 remains. Our 4 team Monday night league is still playing. We only field one competitive team now but still participate in a tournament or two every year. And most importantly we still socialize and are involved in each other’s lives.
Through it all we've shared weddings, births, graduations, deaths (unfortunately), and more social functions than you can count. Our 10th anniversary party had over 100 people in attendance (the local restaurant we were at ran out of booze) and featured a band made up of 6 Wolves including a dad on lead guitar and his son on the drums.
So the values the Wolves have - friendship, family, loyalty, and hockey.
One thing that we have created for our players is a wolf challenge coin. It honours our players that have passed on and founding members. It’s fun to be on the road at a bar to see who has their coin with them. It only takes 3 wolves to bring up a change. If you see a Wolf at a tourney ask if he has his coin, if he doesn’t he might buy ya a beer!
When and where was the first CARHA Hockey World Cup you attended, and what interested you about this event?
Our first World Cup was in Ottawa in 2004; we had a blast not only winning the cup but meeting some great people (a little shout out to Brian Harvey of the Quesnel Goldpanners who showed up at our championship game at 9:00am). We had enjoyed our other CARHA experiences and knew it would be a first class tournament. We enjoy travelling to play hockey and love meeting teams from other places. The World Cup meant expanding that experience even further and meeting teams not just from North America but from around the globe. One of our original Wolves is from Windsor, Ontario so going back would mean his brother could play with us as well. We really had fun in Windsor last year being able to hang out with his entire family.
We've played in tournaments in Ontario, Quebec, BC, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Hawaii, Australia and Amsterdam. The first CARHA tournaments were in BC. We've played in the Pacific Cup in Victoria for years. That was probably our first back in '94. We've won our division multiple times in each tournament and had our butts handed to us a few times as well. Win or lose, we've always had a great time playing hockey and socializing with friends old and new. It's always a great time to meet up again with the Slackhawks, Islander or Muggers. We've even had the Slackhawks come down our way for a couple exhibition games and a trip to see a Seattle Mariners baseball game.
We know some of the kids of players on your team were flag bearers in Quebec City – what did this experience mean to them?
They loved it. They've seen us play in CARHA tournaments for years so to have that on ice experience was a big deal for them. Much more fun than sitting in the stands watching dad play!
What NHL team do you cheer for until Seattle inevitably gets an NHL franchise?
Since we are from all over, you'd get a wide range of answers. Transplanted Canadians favor the Canucks, Leafs or Habs while some of the local Americans are Canucks fans. You'll find plenty of Wings and Bruins fans along with a few Hawks, Pens, Rangers, Islander and Flyer fans as well. And since he's from our area, was coached by one of the Wolves a Bantam, and his dad played with us for a time, you'll find fans of T.J. Oshie's team (Blues, Caps) too.
How do you plan on preparing for the 2020 CARHA Hockey World Cup?
We do the usual things like t-shirts, sweatshirts. We always hand out pins and hats to the teams we play and others that we meet at the drink ups. I always try to set our team apart with some kind of theme. In Windsor we did motorcycle vests. It was all fun until someone saw that I didn’t spell check Seattle. I will never hear the end of that.
As far as hockey, since it's less than 2 hours from us we're hoping to field a solid three line team as the travel will be less of an issue. We tend to have to carry a smaller roster when travelling for a week long tourney like the World Cup. At the same time our preparation will be trying to solidify our roster. When you have to fly for a tournament you need commitment early. I'm anticipating some of our guys won't feel the urgency to commit to a tourney so close. On the other hand, it will be popular so maybe we'll have the "if you don't sign up early, you may not have a spot" urgency on our side.