The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton D-Men. 2013 Dave Burke Memorial Champions of their division.
Names from left to right:
Top: Jeff Ames, Jamie Lovinger, Eric Jones, Mark Makowski, Carl Soprano, Pat McGlynn, Seth Mahaffey and Lenny Nardozzo.
Bottom: Ryan Pringle, Mike Zampetti, Sterry Mahaffey, Walter Letanski, Micah Cross and Russ Hryvnak.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton D-Men are the Champions of the 6th annual Dave Burke Memorial Hockey Tournament.
The D-Men took part in the tournament this year that took place at the Revolution Ice Center in Pittston, Pennsylvania. It started on Friday, August, 16th and ended on Sunday, the 18th.
The tournament is in honor of the late Dave Burke, a local goalie who lost his fight with Leukemia. Recently the tournament has been expanded to also include the likes of Gary Lukasiewicz another local goalie who lost his battle with the same disease. The benefits of the tournament, which includes team admissions, food, raffles, auctions and more, are donated to local charities.
Before the Memorial Game this year, the dedication of “Gary’s Locker” also took place. This is a set of goalie equipment available at the Revolution Ice Center for children who want to play goalie, but may not be able to afford the expensive equipment. The gear will be able to be used during games and practices held at the RIC.
The WBS D-Men saw this tournament as an opportunity to showcase not only their on-ice skills, but their work with charity as well.
Team Captain Sterry Mahaffey, 31 of Wilkes-Barre, says it’s an honor to captain a team of such great guys. “I can’t say enough good things about this group of guys,” Mahaffey said. “A few years ago when I started looking for guys interested in starting a tournament team I never thought it would grow in popularity so fast. I look forward to many more years with these guys.”
Mahaffey feels that charity is one of the biggest functions of the D-Men. “Or mission is simple, do what we can, when we can, for whoever we can. We all have jobs, we all have lives outside of the team but we are all willing to lend a hand when asked,” Mahaffey remarked.
Mahaffey says it best when it comes to what the tournament means to the teams that took part in it. “I think it gives everyone involved a great sense of pride knowing that they are doing something more than just playing hockey.”
D-Men Forward Lenny Nardozzo, 45 of Nanticoke, feels that the team does more than just play hockey and help local charities. “For me, at my age, it’s a chance to have made friends with guys of all ages that I probably would have never met,” Nardozzo said. “We all have one quirk that all the other guys feed off of and just make it great to be around each other.” Camaraderie is something that builds a strong team. This team from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was definitely one of the strongest at the tournament that weekend.
The D-Men played their first game on Friday night against the Deep Freeze. They took home a win that night beating the Freeze 6-3. On Saturday the D-Men split the day, losing their first game to the Dutch Mafia 7-1, and winning their second game in a nail biter. The D-Men went into the playoff rounds in third place.
On Sunday morning the team played their first playoff game against the Ice-aholics at the Coal Street Ice Rink. Squeaking out a win in overtime, 4-3, the D-Men advanced to the finals, where they would meet the Dutch Mafia team that shellacked them the previous day.
Baby Caitrin Mahaffey (Daughter of Sterry and Cass Mahaffey), sporting one of the team’s gold medals.
The D-Men played hard and with a revamped game plan took home the victory against the Dutch Mafia, beating the team from the Lehigh Valley 4-1. The D-Men received a trophy and gold medals in a ceremony following the game.
Team Alternate Captain Seth Mahaffey, 30 of Kingston and brother of the team captain, felt that there were an abundance of plays that led to the D-Men victory. “There were countless good plays from everybody,” Seth Mahaffey said. “Our boy Mark Makowski was pretty stand out, his skills are just simply awesome.”
Lennny Nardozzo recalls a specific play that propelled the team to victory. “I took a slap-shot in the head. Don’t remember much after that,” Nardozzo said. “All kidding aside, each guy does something in every game that helps.”
D-Men Captain Sterry Mahaffey gives credit to the team’s goalie, “I would have to give the most props to our goalie, Walt Letanski.” Mahaffey said. “There were two games where it seemed like no matter what we did, the other team had an answer. He never wavered; he stayed strong and focused even though he was just coming off of the flu.” Letanski, 28 of Wilkes-Barre, could not be reached for comment.
With the trophy now in their possession the D-Men are planning to each have a “week with the trophy”, where each player will get to take it home and share it with his family. This was the team’s first major tournament victory. Captain Mahaffey says it’s hard to put into words. “It is our first major victory, and the feeling is hard to describe. The D-Men have been around for a few years now and even though we haven’t had much success in tournament play it didn’t deter us from continuing,” Mahaffey said. “Our goal as a team is never just winning every tournament, sure that would be nice, but we all feel it is more important to have fun no matter what the score is and, in this particular case, help a charity we support whole heartedly.”
Despite taking home a trophy and medals this time, the D-Men wanted us to know that they took away much more than just accolades. Sterry Mahaffey insists the Dave Burke Memorial Tournament is more about fun and helping out the community. “Not only is the competition fair but you can’t put a price on the festivities and camaraderie that goes on off the ice. Every team gets hangs out around the food and beverage tent, has a few drinks, shares a few stories and has a great time.” Mahaffey said. “All while helping out a great cause.”
A video of the report done by WBRE can be found below: