Hosers celebrate 30 years of history
Roller hockey organizer Steve Baldwin has begun writing a timeline narrative history of the San Diego Hosers – a team he refers to one of the most important in the annals of the sport.
The USA Roller Sports museum has already requested a copy of the finalized document to place in its holdings of inline history. As of June of 2015, Baldwin’s research project totaled 18,797 words – or 63 pages.
“There’s little doubt about the key role the Hosers played in transitioning the sport (of roller hockey) from an obscure quad skate-based sport to a popular high-speed inline skate-based sport,” Baldwin explained. “And by dominating the national roller hockey scene for eight years, the Hosers helped popularize the sport and made the inline skate the standard for roller hockey.”
Considered by many to be America’s oldest inline hockey team, the Hosers have certainly left their mark on the sport.
The team, which has had five players inducted into the Roller Sports Hall of Fame, won seven USAC/RS national championships in the 1980s and ‘90s, including five in the top-tier Gold division.
More than 80 Hoser alumni, including club founder Paul Chapey, gathered at a 30-year anniversary reunion in June at the Skate San Diego rink in El Cajon to celebrate the club’s illustrious history.
Chapey’s name should sound familiar. He founded the North American Roller Hockey Championship series (NARCh) in 1994 and also coached the first Team USA roller hockey squad in international competition.
Baldwin, a former Hoser and father of four roller hockey-playing sons – three of whom have played for Team USA – called the Hosers reunion party one of “the biggest roller hockey events in San Diego in decades.”
“We had many of the founders of the Hosers there, as well as guys who did lots of important things for the sport, like Stan Smith – the most decorated roller hockey player in history with nine national championships (in the quad skate era),” Baldwin said.
Joining Chapey at the reunion were first generation Hosers Fran Weidinger, Marco Thompson, Dave Moniz and Jim Huffman.
“Good times for sure,” noted current NARCh president Daryn Goodwin, who played on the Hosers when they were the team to beat. “The sport was so different then; the commitment level was much higher.”
Former NHL pro Joe Noris, who went on to serve as president of the San Diego Barracudas of Roller Hockey International (RHI) – a professional inline hockey league that existed from 1993-99, is still active at 63 years old in coaching the Hosers and playing in elite house leagues. He coached the Team USA inline hockey club to gold medals at the FIRS World Championships in both 2008 and ‘09.
Thirty-six Hosers played in RHI, and 17 have skated for Team USA over the last 20 years.
“We ate food, drank beer and fellowshipped,” Baldwin said of the reunion. “Everyone had a great time.”
The Hosers played in their first national championship tournament in 1987 in Detroit, placing fifth in the Bronze division. The team won the Bronze title in 1989 and won the Silver title in 1990 at its home rink in National City.
The Hosers captured coveted Gold division national championships in 1992, ‘93, ‘94, ‘96 and ‘98.
Additionally, between 1997 and 2004, the Hosers’ 35-and-older team won seven NARCh national championships at either NARCh Finals or Winternationals.
The Hosers are still making history today after their 21U team won two gold medals at the 2014 AAU Jr. Olympic Games.
“It was incredible talking to the guys who started the Hosers during the quad skate era and meeting the guys who played a key role in transitioning roller hockey (to inline skates),” said Baldwin – a dedicated history buff – on the opportunity to interview the distinguished collection of inline hockey pioneers at the reunion.
For more information on the narrative history of the Hosers, contact Baldwin at Scbaldwin7@gmail.com.
– Phillip Brents