Another year gone and another successful Zebra Cup in the books. Once again officials from the large cities and small towns of northeast America gathered in the south hills of Pittsburgh for what has quickly become the closing highlight of the season. Years past have seen strangers become teammates, teammates become friends, and good times had by all. The 2013 Zebra Cup was no different.
This year’s tournament saw eight teams from Dayton, West Virginia, Erie, Virginia, and Pittsburgh compete over three days. While WPHOA claimed to field four separate teams, players often skated with multiple squads to fill out the benches. Team Dayton emerged victorious, defeating WPHOA Red in the Sunday afternoon final. The teams were the focus, but special thanks must be extended to the brave souls that were willing to put on the stripes to officiate the tournament games. It is no secret that the Zebra Cup is the most “challenging” skate of the season (which might explain one ref skating his entire game with a cold brew in hand).
The highlight of the weekend was the traditional Saturday picnic in the park, and Tim Morgret’s suspenders. As has become customary at the Zebra Cup, the mid day break brings with it plenty of food and beer. Officials spread across all teams have the opportunity to share stories, tell a few jokes, and relax before the evening games. Though one team captain lured his friends to Pittsburgh with the promise of the best barbeque from the bald guy with the big smoker, Jack Hayes was unable to cater this year’s event. Both the local officials, and the out of town guests who look forward to his culinary genius sorely missed him.
The seventh installment of the Zebra Cup brought another fun filled weekend in mid May. The long season can wear the down the most veteran officials. It is easy to forget the shared passion for the game of hockey when your being yelled at by and Father-of-the-Year candidate in snowy February. Officiating is about dedication, enjoyment, and brotherhood. The Zebra Cup ensures the long season ends with that in mind.