Mekong Cup 2010
The TSHA finally got it together and after 7 years of procrastination made it back to the Mekong Cup in 2010. And this time, in force. 12 players made the trip: Ted Hunter, John “Mr. Hockey” LaCara, Paul “The Chairman” Robertson, “Buffalo” Ed Parsons, Sean “Little Sean” MacDonald, Richard Fogarty, Michel “The Effect” van Acker, Chris “Smoochie” Colucci, Christian Tetrault, Yudai Tadaki, Marek Butas, and our goalie, Eric “Slider” Chho.
Just as we had in 2003, we checked into the beautiful Hotel Amari on Patpong Beach on Phuket Island at night after a 40 minute drive in from the Phuket airport. The hotel Amari, and it’s beach setting, were even more beautiful than we remembered.
Anxious to get a look at our surroundings, and hungry after our travels from Japan, Chris, Paul and Ted headed out into the humid South-East Asian Night. Chris, Paul and Ted managed to find a small solid local place for delicious and cheap Thai food for three. With empty bellies and heads still thinking in yen the boys managed to order too much of the delicious Thai food, including a very large whole fish. Feeling well sated, even, it must be said, somewhat stuffed, the boys wandered further into Patpong city to see if anything at all happened there at night.
Much to their surprise it turned out that there were indeed things to keep foreign hockey players amused through the evening hours. Taking instantly to the seemingly inumarble watering holes that dotted the big main, and tiny side, streets the boys dived in wholeheartedly taking advantage of their lack of common sense to lose an entire tournament and more worth of games to the The Goddesses of Connect 4 at famed Crazy Horse bar. As if losing 83 straight games of Connect 4 was not humiliating enough, shot after shot of lighter fluid with lime had our TSHA heros doubled over for the short stumble back to the comforts of the Amari in the early morning hours.
The next night the TSHA had our team dinner watching the "German Elvis" show on the Patong Beach. It was a great evening, enjoyed by all the players, with fresh coconut juice, many many draft beers and the crooning of the unsurpassed (if somewhat Bavarian accented) German Elvis himself!
Well rested (or at least better rested than the previous morning) the TSHA headed out to the courts for the start of the actual 2010 Mekong Cup tournament games.
The first game for the TSHA pitted them against the eventual 2nd place team in the tournament, the Singapore Chili Crabs. It was a hard fought see-saw game that saw the TSHA losing by a single goal, 5 to 4, against a red tide of Chili Crabs and their overheated, shirtless, and masked goalie (who looked just like the Humongous in Mad Max).
The second TSHA game pitted our heros against their old nemisis, those Islanders from Hong Kong. The TSHA got out to a great start taking a 3 to 0 lead before finally falling to those hated Islanders 7 to 4 for their second loss!
The third game for the TSHA was with the eventual tournament winners, the Slovakian team. There were more than a couple of Slovakian National Ball-Hockey Team players on the team...and their quality was evident to that point in the tournament as they had won all their games without anyone even scoring on them. The TSHA would therefore be the first team to score on the Slovaks despite losing 4 to 1.
In the fourth game, the TSHA fought very hard to earn their first win of the tourny. A gritty 1 to 0 win over the Bangkok Bully's. This important first win was enough to eliminate the Bully's and send the TSHA through to the playoff elimination rounds!
In the semi-final, the TSHA took on the Slovaks again. This time the younger, faster (and quite honestly just plain better) Slovak team walked all over the TSHA who were exhausted from the heat and their punishing previous win over Bangkok (not to mention the all night drinking of the previous two days). The final score was a 13 to 1 shellacking that our tired TSHA heros had no choice except to walk off...
The TSHA assembled for one last team picture before loading into the buses to head back to the beautiful Amari hotel.
Once back at the hotel, it was everyone into the pool to cool off from the insane heat, to soothe aching muscles, to down chilled beers, and to talk about what could, and should, have been.
The Awards Ceremony at the Amari was, as these things always are, when you don't win, somewhat long and overly focused on the actual Champions. On the other hand, we did participate with gusto in the charity auction for a worthy cause and also laughed our collective asses of at the pornographic "Lady Ting" award!
With a day or so left in Phuket we went for Thai massages and saw the disturbing lizard guys of Patpong! Even more disturbing were the Bridal Shower Invasion and Ed and Scott the Lady Boyz!
Somehow our participation medals (as well as more than a few Championship, second and third place medals) ended up around the necks of bar girls who, in turn ended up up around floor to ceiling poles...
But the night was still young (or at least the morning was not so early)...so there was still time to catch ACDC(?) & The Nurses of Doom live and for an overly exuberant TSHA winger to drop a rather surprised (but fortunately not hurt) bar girl on her head.
Our last day saw us trying out Fish-o (very very tickly on the feet) as well as riding Thai elephants and experiencing the Nazi Thai food restaurant waitress who we thought was about to call in the police on us over our "shake vs. smoothie" ordering confusion.
One thing that surprised us about Phuket was the complete lack of revolution in the air given the fact the Red Shirts had about taken over Bangkok. But even more surprising, we found out that John has a girlfriend!..
The finals results were as follows:
Bangkok 0 - Slovakia 8
Singapore 5 - TSHA 4
Hong Kong 3 - Bangkok 1
Slovakia 4 - Singapore 0
Tokyo 4 - Hong Kong 7
Bangkok 3 - Singapore 4
Slovakia 4 - TSHA 1
Singapore 1 - Hong Kong 0
Tokyo 1 - Bangkok 0
Hong Kong 1 - Slovakia 3
Slovakia 13 - Tokyo 1 (Semi Final)
Singapore 3 - Hong Kong 1 (Semi Final)
Slovakia 3 - Singapore 0 (Final)