Diamonds and Ice


How about RoughRiders-Waterloo play outside at Memorial Stadium?

Just came across an online story about the Omaha Lancers of the USHL moving back to Omaha’s Municipal Auditorium next season. The team had been playing in a new arena across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs. The story also mentioned how Omaha and the rival Lincoln Stars might talk about playing a game outdoors in the next couple of years, borrowing a successful page from the NHL’s book.

The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks played at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day, which was a smashing success. Last season, the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

So how about the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Waterloo Black Hawks agreeing to play a game or two outside? Maybe play one game here at Memorial Stadium next season and one at Waterloo’s Municipal Stadium the following season?

It would take a lot of work, but you would think it would generate tremendous buzz in both communities, help the sport of hockey and the USHL. You could donate most of the ticket proceeds from the game to flood relief in C.R. and Waterloo.

What do you all think? Good idea or pipedream? The possibilities have me kind of excited.

Winter Classic Hockey

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Here’s RoughRiders brawl video

Just came across this on YouTube. It’s taken from a cell phone and not all that great, but you kind of get the idea about how Saturday night’s brawl between the RoughRiders and Lincoln played out.

Make that Lincoln-instigated brawl. It’s kind of tough to tell how bloody defenseman Doug Leaverton’s face is, but it was a mess – trust me. Bumped into him after Sunday night’s game and he’s got a large cut above his left eye and below it. There are a couple of stitches involved.

Asked him if he was hit by a stick, as someone told me. His simple reply: “Nope, a fist.”

Told him that it was OK because chicks dig scars, to which he replied smiling: “Oh, yeah. Absolutely.”

By the way, I’ve read a lot of feedback from locals about how the decrease in fighting has left them less interesting in the RoughRiders and USHL. The league is much more developmental than it used to be.

What do you all think? Answer the below poll.

Do in-game fights enhance your enjoyment of hockey?
( surveys)



Got video of Saturday’s brawl?

Go ahead and send it to me here and we’ll post it. That was an ugly situation initiated by Lincoln and the wrong reason to fight. Yet most of the fans in attendance loved it.

RoughRiders defenseman Doug Leaverton came out the worst for wear, with significant cuts above and below his left eye that required a couple of stitches.

I was told after the game that Leaverton had been hit in the eye by a high stick, but Leaverton denied that.

“Nope, a fist,” Leaverton said.

Then it was pointed out to Leaverton that chicks do indeed love scars, which brought a smile to the nicked-up defenseman’s face.

Anyway, if you’ve got any video (phone or whatever) and you want to share, send it to me at here or at jeff.johnson@gazcomm.com

Thanks.



Quotes from last night’s RoughRiders brawl

OK, what was that?
The line brawl early in the third period of Saturday night’s 2-1 RoughRiders victory over Lincoln had many of the 3,000-plus in attendance at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena asking that question.
In a scene straight out of “Slap Shot,” a line brawl erupted that resulted in 108 minutes in penalties, 69 by Lincoln. The second the puck was dropped for a faceoff in the Lincoln zone, Stars forward Jon Puskar dropped his gloves and skated over to RoughRiders forward Cody Murphy.
Murphy had no choice but to oblige, as hell broke loose all over the ice. Riders defenseman Matt Tennyson fought with a Lincoln opponent, defenseman Doug Leaverton went back and forth with Lincoln’s Michael Sdao, with the two fighting so long they ended up at center ice after originally engaging deep in the Lincoln zone. Sdao’s jersey and pads were completely ripped off, and Leaverton was bleeding heavily from his eye and forehead.
Forward Kyle Flanagan was pinned along the boards by two Lincoln players. Five Lincoln players were given fighting majors to three for Cedar Rapids, though Flanagan and Mike Seidel (both of whom decided not to fight) were awarded roughing minors. Six players were given game misconducts. Quite a Goon Fest!!
“It’s a part of hockey,” Murphy said. “I don’t know how to explain it. Everybody was fighting each other. You’ve got to stick up for your teammates.”
“Just a part of hockey, that’s all it was,” concurred Flanagan. “Personally, I didn’t see it coming. Not at all. But it happens in the game sometimes. They were down 2-0, they didn’t have a lot of momentum, it was in our barn.”
Lincoln’s strategy throughout the game was to play physical against the USHL’s least-penalized team, trying to throw the RoughRiders off their game. Cedar Rapids players consistently stayed disciplined, however, unwilling to retaliate or get into any significant rough stuff.
But the Stars apparently wouldn’t take no for an answer. Coach Jimmy McGroarty sent out his toughest line (6-foot-4 Sdao, Puskar and Garrett Peterson) against one of the Riders’ smallest, with what appeared to be one goal in mind.
Not a goal, but an altercation. And, just think, SpongeBob SquarePants was in the house and witnessed all this!!
“Right before that big scrap happened, they were (yelling) ‘Let’s go, let’s go,’” Murphy said. “I was like, you know what, I want to play hockey.
“They were antagonizing me, trying to get me to fight. I was trying to keep my cool. It all happened so fast.”
RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson would not comment on the brawl, even when prodded, though he was clearly not pleased. He could be seen shaking his head in disgust on the bench after things were finally calmed down and the players involved were either sent to the penalty box or off the ice.
Carlson did not look at McGroarty as he shook his hand postgame near the team benches. Lincoln players were booed lustily by the Ice Arena crowd as they left the ice.
“It is dirty hockey,” Murphy said. “It’s not like my type of hockey. I don’t go into games thinking I’m going to get into a fight. I want to play hockey.
“But it is a part of the sport. It happens. So you’ve got to be ready and be there for your team.”