18th annual battle for the Commandant’s Cup

Commandant's Cup final

BOSTON - Team members from the Revenue Cutter Service team and the Air Station Puerto Rico team pose for a final picture as the Commandant's Cup hockey tournament wrapped up on Cape Cod April 14, 2012.

Written by Seaman Adam Stanton

BOSTON – It was the last game of the tournament; warm breath filled the cool-mist air as 10 pairs of skates slid to the middle of the frozen slab. As two members crouched down, staring eye-to-eye, they tightened their grip on wooden sticks. In a blink of an eye a single black puck fell to the icy floor between them.

Coast Guard active, reserve and retired members gathered in central Cape Cod at the Barnstable Youth and Community Center in Hyannis, Mass., for the 18th annual Commandant’s Cup ice hockey tournament.

The Commandant’s Cup is a two-day exhibition hockey tournament in which ten Coast Guard teams from all over the United States come together for fun-spirited competition, said Paul Deary, the tournament organizer and Coast Guard retiree.

The Commandant’s Cup is intended to develop team play, exhibit positive sportsmanship, fair play, instill competitive spirit in all players, showcase athletic talent, create publicity for a great sport and generate awareness for a unique element of Coast Guard history, said Deary.

Each team, made up of players ranging from Puerto Rico to Boston and anywhere in between, played three games the first day, followed by one game the second day. After the third set of games the bracket was narrowed down to a remaining four teams.

“It’s a fast pace tournament,” said Petty officer 1st class Jeff Sickoria, an intelligence specialist stationed in Baltimore, playing on the Clippers team. “Four games in two days and if you win you go on.

“

Every year, past and new players come back to play in the tournament, and this year enough players for 11 teams showed up, said Deary.

”The 11th team had to be divided up and dispersed to make an even ten-team spread for bracketing purposes,” said Deary.

In two days, ten teams thin out into a final two-on-two match up.

The championship game started like a fire staged over ice with the orange suited Revenue Cutter Service team and the deep red-and-white suited team from Air Station Puerto Rico facing off. In the end, the Revenue Cutter Service team took the title for 2012.

Each member of the two championship teams were awarded unique 2012 Commandant’s Cup apparel for their participation, said Deary. “The winners also get to have their names added to the Commandant’s Cup along with all the other past winners,” said Deary.

Commandant's Cup

BOSTON - Coast Guard active, reserve and retired members gathered in central Cape Cod at the Barnstable Youth and Community Center in Hyannis, Mass., for the 18th annual Commandant's Cup ice hockey tournament April 13 and 14, 2012.