Middle Village hosts epic hockey reunion game with original league stars

middle village
A one-of-a-kind reunion for Alumni from the pioneering Middle Village Hockey League and the 104th Pct. Youth Roller Hockey came together for a trilling event on Sunday, April 28. The Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League hosted the Alumni game alongside a series of sponsors, including Senator Joseph P Addabbo, Jr.
Photo by Frank Carbonari

A reunion unlike any other brought hundreds of people together at the James Bohan Hockey Rink at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village for an alumni game featuring players from the original Middle Village Hockey League and the 104th Pct. Youth Roller Hockey on Sunday, Apr. 28. 

Spectators of the long-awaited Alumni game filled the nearby bleachers with nearly 400 visitors in attendance. The former hockey league members donned their gear and grasped their sticks once again in the Middle Village rink as they relived their childhood and paid homage to the leagues that paved the way for the next generation of hockey players. 

The Middle Village Players Roller Hockey League hosted the alumni game to show appreciation for the former hockey leagues and the players who helped revitalize the popular neighborhood sport, now under the leadership of league President Paul Pogozelski. 

MVP Hockey Alumni game
Middle Village Hockey League and the 104th Pct. Youth Roller Hockey players prep for the game. Photo by Frank Carbonari

Pogozelski said he knew the Alumni game meant a lot to the returning players who made lasting friendships through the sport. 

“This was not something that they took lightly,” said Pogozelski in a conversation with the Ridgewood Times. 

The intensity from returning players from both the MVH and 104 Hockey teams was reminiscent of their games as youths, proving that passion for the sport remained. Adding to the unified nostalgia was the appearance of Eileen Moloney, who first started the MVH team years ago.

Pogozelski expressed his enduring respect for Moloney and her family’s continuous efforts to engage with the community.

“I have to give her a lot of credit. She came in, and she’s still the godmother of roller hockey,” Pogozelski said.

MVP Hockey Alumni game
Middle Village Hockey League Alumni players. Photo by Frank Carbonari

The Alumni game also generated support from outside community figures. State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and the Cross County Savings Bank sponsored the afternoon event, providing the MVP Roller Hockey League with the funds to cover specialized team jerseys and logos. 

Additional sponsors also showed their support, with the Gotham Ambulance Corp standing by to provide on-hand medical aid to anyone in need. Doughboyz Pizza and Mario’s Meats also provided catered food for the event. 

Players from the distinct 104th Pct. Youth Hockey League took on the Middle Village Hockey League. Despite its name, the league operates independently of the precinct. The team practices and plays their games at Joseph F. Mafera Park, just blocks away from the NYPD 104th Precinct in Ridgewood.

MVP Hockey Alumni game
The 104th Pct. Youth Roller Hockey Alumni players. Photo by Frank Carbonari

Pogozelski highlighted that Pete Mastrandrea, a long-time head coach for the 104th Pct. Hockey League, has remained a supporter of the Middle Village league. He also played a key role in rallying former players for Saturday’s alumni game.

Clippings from the Ridgewood Times, and others shared on Facebook, display the team’s players and games dating back to 1987 in a dedicated sports section. Pogozelski notes that the league’s historical presence in the newspaper mirrors recent coverage of his league, highlighting the strong community support.

“It’s crazy going from power washing a rink to getting to that point,” Pogozelski says, bringing up the league’s front page feature for the opening day ceremony. He adds that the league could have failed by now if not for unified support from the community. 

Additionally, Pogozelski thanked the Doremus Family, the Moloney family, Council Member Bob Holden, Jim McLoughlin, Pete Mastrandrea, John Perricone, Vincent Perricone Jr., the Rizzo Family, Ken Sumsky and all the participants who have supported and were in attendance at the event.

The Middle Village Roller Hockey League continues its scheduled games as they reach mid-season. More information on the league can be found at mvproller.com.