Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League celebrates second year triumph with its opening day ceremony

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The second annual opening day of the Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League sets the rink ablaze with exciting matches and fresh team debuts.
Photo by Anthony Medina

The Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League kicked off its opening day on Saturday, Apr. 6, for the second time in its history with a series of intense games and new teams. 

President Paul Pogozelski revitalized the program last year with the help of his family, fellow community members, and the players as part of a previously existing hockey league many years ago. 

The Middle Village hockey league has only continued to grow in numbers and community support since its inception. The James Bohan Hockey Rink, located within Juniper Valley Park, is thriving with young hockey stars looking to make their names known and supportive parents who watch their kids play every week. 

Pogozelski, first referred to as Coach Pogo by the Ridgewood Times in July 2023, remains humble in his achievements as he shared his thanks with opening day participants.

“Honestly, it’s very humbling to be a part of their childhood. I know in like 20 years from now that they will remember these moments and it means a lot to us to be a part of this. So thank you for trusting in us,” Pogozelskis said to a mixed crowd of parents, supporters, and players. 

Sponsors of the league, who remained supportive of Pogozelski’s efforts since the start, were also thanked for their continued contributions. 

Special thanks were given to Rudy’s Bakery, located at 905 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood, which provided sweet treats for the opening day — similar to what the bakery has done in games prior — and Crifasi Real Estate, with the firm’s owner Salvatore Crifasi attended the opening day ceremony. 

Other standout sponsors appreciated at opening day included Eileen Moloney, the first Middle Village hockey league founder, in addition to several young residents who contributed to maintaining the hockey rink. 

The New York City Parks Department, VFW Post 551, and the offices of Congresswoman Grace Meng, Council Member Robert Holden, and Senator Joesph P. Addabbo, Jr, were also recognized for their help in supporting the league. 

The Tigers give the Thunder Trucks tough competition on the opening day of the Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League. Photo by Anthony Medina

A last honorable mention from the league president included his wife, Giedre, and his sister for their unwavering support. 

“If we don’t have people looking out for us, who knows where we’re going,” Pogozelski added. 

As the opening day ceremony came to an end, the hockey league teams took to their positions in a series of thrilling games. New teams featured this year, the Tigers, and the Thunder Trucks, took to the rink with the Dolphins and the Cardinals also playing to secure their spots for the rest of the year. 

The Thunder Trucks and Tigers face off in the first game of the season for the Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League. Photo by Anthony Medina

In the first game, the Tigers triumphed 9- 6 over the Thunder Trucks. Hat-tricks from Simon Steskal and Alex Posylkin scored 3 points each from the Tigers, in addition to 26 saves from Tigers’ Alex Sliwa.

Paul and Jack Pogozelski both netted 2 goals each for the Thunder Trucks but faced defeat overall.

The second game featured the Dolphins and the Cardinals in a game that didn’t hold back some top-tier plays. With a score of 8-1, the Dolphins secured their place moving into the season. 

Dolphins player Quinn Tashiro kept the Cardinals from gaining momentum, and Dolphins Net Tender Oliver Falandysz Stopped 14 of his 15 shots made toward him, ultimately securing the victory. 

Although defeated, Mathew Koenig scored The Cardinals only goal of the day. Veteran Net Tender Gino Campo stood on his head and saved 41 shots, earning him the Star of the week with this outstanding performance that included several glove saves. 

The next set of games takes place on Saturday, Apr. 13, from 3-7 p.m. 

Full scores and standings can be found at mvproller.com.

Additional information was provided by Paul Pogozelski.