Middle Village Roller Hockey League’s puck drop ceremony shows power of community support

The MVP Roller Hockey League inaugurated its season with a puck drop ceremony, expressing gratitude to those who made it happen. Eileen Maloney, the league’s founder, was honored alongside Margaret Bohan, the mother of James Bohan, at the event.
Photo by Anthony Medina

The efforts of one former Long Island man, who moved to the neighborhood of Middle Village after falling in love with the community, revitalized one of the neighborhood’s most treasured pastimes on Saturday, Sept. 9.

What took months of work by Paul Pogozelski, the president and the man responsible for bringing the Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League to the James Bohan Hockey Rink, amounted to the support of dozens of local businesses and families who were thrilled to have roller hockey come to their neighborhood once again.

The MVP Roller Hockey League held its first-ever official puck drop ceremony on a sweltering Saturday morning and managed to thank all those who made it possible to bring the league together, before the start of the first game.

Paul Pogozelski reads off the list of sponsors at the MVP Roller Hockey puck-drop ceremony, thanking each of them individually.Photo by Anthony Medina

Eileen Maloney, who first created the hockey league years prior, was recognized during the ceremony while standing alongside Margaret Bohan, the mother of James Bohan, the park’s namesake.

“You ran this with your three sons and now you’re passing the torch on to me and my three sons. And this is something that we don’t take lightly,” said Pogozelski. “We take this community very seriously. We take everything in this park very seriously. We want to keep this community what it is and that’s a place where you want to raise your families.”

Pogozelski also recognized the significance of having a member of the Bohan family present. The park is named in memory of James Bohan, an FDNY Firefighter who died fighting a fire on Dec. 18, 1998, trying to rescue a woman in Brooklyn. He was raised and resided in Middle Village.

Kids as part of the league managed to keep it together considering all the first-game jitters and the sweltering heat in their brand-new jerseys.Photo by Anthony Medina

“I never met this gentleman in person, but I kept reading the stories about him and the things that he would do for children and what he was doing. The day before he passed away he was at Brookdale Hospital, giving out toys to children in the ER in the hospital. And unfortunately the next day, he was no longer with us,” Pozelski said, before instructing the crowd to take a moment of silence.

Among the community leaders present were Congresswoman Grace Meng, Councilman Robert Holden and Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. The legislators received a small memorable desk decoration as thanks for their support.

“I have two boys and I am so happy that we have this kind of program here in Middle Village and in Queens for all of our families and especially for our young people. Anything we can do to get them off their screens,” Meng said, to a crowd of parents who agreed with the congresswoman’s words.

Councilman Robert Holden holding a token given by the MVP Roller Hockey League in thanks of his support.Photo by Anthony Medina

Holden also announced that he will make efforts to secure a dome for the rink, especially for use during the hotter-than-average temperatures in the city.

The High Flyers and the Jets face off.Photo by Anthony Medina

After the morning ceremony, the puck was dropped and the games commenced. The High Flyers took on the Jets in the first game, with the High Flyers soaring over the Jets in their first game 8-2. The second game had the Bears and the Hawks battle it out, with the Bears coming from behind to secure the win, 13-12.

The High Flyers and the Jets gave it their all out on the rink.Photo by Anthony Medina
Parents take the time to cool off their roller hockey star due to some extreme heat and humidity on Saturday.Photo by Anthony Medina

The next game will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16, with the Jets playing against the Hawks and the Bears vs. the High Flyers. More information on the league and a list of the sponsors can be found on mvproller.com. Follow the league on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on the latest events.