Photo via Harry Schull Jr./Buffalo News
Buffalo News - This isn't the hockey Jason Pominville envisioned he would be playing this season. Less than 12 months removed from playing in the NHL, he's starring in a local hockey league and prioritizing his children's athletic success.
...Over three 15-minute periods, Pominville reminded his opponents that he is less than 12 months removed from playing in the National Hockey League. The 37-year-old weaved around defenders to score four goals despite spending most of the night deferring to his teammates.
This isn't the hockey Pominville envisioned he would be playing this season. He showed he can still make an impact at the highest level when he scored 16 goals to rank fourth on the Buffalo Sabres in 2018-19. Pominville prioritized watching his children's athletic success over uprooting his family to sign a one-year contract far away from their home.
I'd imagine this beer league is just about the same as every other beer league in North America. Typically the way these work is that you have a group of the same 6-8 teams who have all played in the same league for years. Each season you play against the same team at least 5 times and then playoffs start and you play against them even more. You know these guys probably better than you know your own grandparents. And more times than not, there's one team that is just so much filthier than everybody else and they're winning the championship every season. It's infuriating, but such is life. Not much you can do about it, ya know? You still have a good time playing with the boys and you've just resolved to the fact that you're playing for 2nd place every season.
The reason why that is all important context is because I need to know how loaded this beer league team was before they added Jason fucking Pominville to the lineup. The same Jason Pominville who was a 2nd round pick in 2001 and played over 1000 games in the NHL. Because if Pominville is jumping into the lineup of the squad that was constantly winning the championship already in this league? Well then this is as greasy as it gets.
52 goals and 97 points in 18 games. I'm not much of a math guy but the calculator on my phone is. And according that that, Pominville is putting up over 5 points per game. Looks like he's the only guy on his team in the top 10 points here, so maybe there's a chance he joined a dog shit squad and is pretty much the Adam Banks to their District 5 Ducks. If that's the case then Jason Pominville is a beer league legend. Nothing like bringing in a newcomer to completely shift the entire dynamic of a league that's probably had the same standings since before YouTube was created. Imagine if he hopped on the squad who has come in dead last for the past 5 years and now all of a sudden they're shit pumping teams every night because they have a guy who had 16 goals and 31 points in the NHL just last year? Big time beauty move.
But again, if Pominville hopped right onto the team which has been running train on this league for a while and this is a "rich get richer" scenario, I simply cannot condone it. Beer League Hockey is for the washed up. Beer League Hockey is for the wasted potential. Beer League Hockey isn't just some playground for a guy who was in the show last year to come in and absolutely dominate while everyone else is paying $300-500 in league fees just to get their shit kicked in. So really I just need a little more information on this Buffalo men's league before I have a final assessment on the situation.
Either way--I'm sure the rest of the boys love being able to tell everybody they know that they play in a league with an NHLer. Doubt they've had more than 3 conversations over the last few months where they didn't bring that up within the first couple minutes.