Gentlemen of a different league

Hockey league for students and Kingstonians

The League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen offers organized hockey to Queen’s students and Kingston residents.
The League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen offers organized hockey to Queen’s students and Kingston residents.

Small crowds of guys gather around piles of hockey bags, staring absentmindedly onto the ice at the 50-somethings finishing their evening games. In baseball caps, sweats and many sporting Movember-inspired moustaches, the group casually prepares for their game scheduled at the Invista Centre by taping their sticks and checking their equipment before heading into the locker rooms.

They’re members of a young recreational hockey league, the League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen or the LUG, and they’re proving The Queen’s Gaels are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hockey in Kingston. With leagues from the Ontario Hockey League to minor hockey associations and scattered beer leagues all taking up occupancy in the town, a group of Queen’s students picked up on this passion for the national game and created a sophisticated shinny league now in its second year of operation.

A description on the league’s Facebook page offers an accurate look at the LUG’s primary functions, a league for hockey enthusiasts looking for casual but competitive hockey.

It says, “The good times we sought on frozen water [are] no longer frustrated by the overly policed and under enjoyed intramurals program. A league had finally arrived that proved player cards, unwarranted suspensions and a lackluster level of play obsolete.”

The League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen was born out of an interest in more playing time and need for a higher level of competition. Ethan Wright, one of the three managers running the LUG, said the name was more of a joking reference to their amateur hockey status.

“It was just a play on the fact that everyone realizes that hockey is not a career for any of these people,” he said. “But it doesn’t change the fact that everyone loves hockey and really wants to continue to play.”

Wright said the league acts as a channelling body for hockey rather than a ruling one.

“[There are] two ways of describing the LUG,” he said. “In a legal sense [it’s] a channelling body for organized hockey in Kingston. I’d also describe the LUG as an amateur men’s hockey league that runs out of Kingston using Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College as the base.”

Wright and his fellow organizers Stephen McGlade and Justin Koifman have stepped up in their organization of the league, after inheriting it from creators Chris Corneil and Cam Mason.

“[Mason and Corneil] wanted to play ... an additional night of hockey, with better competition than what intramurals offered,” Wright said. “They pretty much threw it together on the spot. It was just kind of like let’s put it together as we go, let’s brainstorm ideas ... Everyone just bought right into the idea.”

This isn’t your average rec league. The organizers and players alike have committed themselves to developing the league past a simple recreational league. Based on a simple shinny mentality, the model has created a professional appearance with jerseys, referees and updated stats from the week’s game posted on their Facebook page to name a few additions to the easy-going vibe.

“It’s just a grassroots [idea], just like the weekly shinny game,” Wright said. “The difference is that we went out and got jerseys so you could tell what team you’re on and you’re not just throwing on mix-and-match. [It’s still just] hockey boys getting together ... with a little bit more organization.”

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