Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bobby’s Bay Staters are back, with Legends

Ice hockey games for the ages, this weekend

Express Staff Writer

Goalie Bobby Farrelly (middle, in goalie gear) gathers with his 2013 team of Northeast Moose Knucklers during last January’s visit to Sun Valley Skating Center.
Courtesy photo

     Bobby Farrelly’s hostel for hockey players on holiday will be jam-packed with 27 New England-area college and pro hockey legends this weekend when Farrelly’s East Coast Snipers invade Sun Valley for two games of Oscar-worthy entertainment against the Sun Valley Suns senior men.

     The Suns and Snipers face off Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25 at 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Skating Center to benefit the Atkinson Park Penguins skating program. For the first time there will be “Legends Game,” on Saturday from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

     Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Farrelly and brother Peter made their first feature film “Dumb and Dumber” in 1994. Just as it’s hard to believe that hockey enthusiast Farrelly has been bringing teams from New England out to play hockey in Sun Valley for eight years, going on nine.

     Noted film producer and director Bobby Farrelly, 55, has a home north of Ketchum. There, the Bay Staters shack up, tell stories, share a few laughs and play two hockey games against the Suns, usually to packed houses.

     They’ve been called Boston ReMax Rangers, Boston Bulldogs, East Coast Gutter Snipes, South Shore Stumpgrinders and Northeast Moose Knuckles. They haven’t been called “Dumb and Dumber,” because the visitors boast a wealth of college and pro hockey experience.

     One Sniper, defenseman Scott Shaunessy of Boston University hockey fame, will celebrate his 50th birthday today, Wednesday when he jets into Hailey for the fun weekend.

     Father of two hockey-playing daughters, Shaunessy is a 6-4, 240-pounder from Reading, Mass. who played 152 games for the BU Terriers from 1983-87 with 19 goals and 72 assists then added nine years of professional hockey, including a cup of coffee with the NHL Quebec Nordiques.

     “It’s a little road trip away from the rest of our lives, a great experience for all of us in a great town,” said Shaunessy about the group’s visit. “No families. We’re all hockey players and still love the game. We stay at Bobby’s, sleep on blow-up mattresses on the floor and pitch in and help.”

     Last week, the Farrelly brothers officially wrapped shooting on their sequel “Dumb and Dumber To.”  Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their memorable roles as geniuses Lloyd and Harry and even drive a Zamboni down a street in Marietta, Ga.

     Peter Farrelly has jokingly referred to it as the best movie of all time. NHLer Cam Neely is back as feared trucker Sea Bass. A long list of cameos includes Jennifer Lawrence.

     Hockey player “cameos” this weekend include the chief “villain,” 797-game NHLer Jeff Norton; the chief playmaker, Dartmouth captain Bill Kelleher; the brothers McCarthy, Greg and Mike from Medfield, Ma.; and Bobby’s relief pitcher, Providence College goalie Ryan Simpson.

     Newcomers to help Shaunessy on the blueline are 6-1, 200-pound Kevin Schaeffer, 29, who played 152 games for BU from 2003-07 plus four years of minor league pro hockey, and 6-3, 220-pound Mike Hartwick, 30, from Dartmouth (2003-07) with four pro years also in the ECHL and in Britain at Cardiff, Wales.

     One Sniper who loves skiing is Mike Sylvia, 37, a right wing from Newton, Mass. who played 153 games with 54 goals and 68 assists for BU from 1994-98. He came off championship teams at prep powerhouse Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury to win an NCAA championship with BU as a freshman in 1995.

     Farrelly’s teams and the Suns have played 16 games over eight seasons. The Suns won the first three and have a 7-9-0 record after falling 7-6, 3-2 and 8-1 in the last three games.

     Eight of the 16 games have been decided by a single goal, and five went to overtime including two shootouts. The Suns are 3-2-0 in overtime and the shootouts are even. Farrelly’s teams have pulled ahead 106-98 in total goals scored.

     Most memorable meeting took place March 10, 2007, when former RIP goalie Farrelly from Cumberland, R.I. backstopped the Bulldogs to a 7-6 overtime shootout shocker that ended the Suns (23-1-0) bid for an unbeaten season. Norton scored the game winner in that one.

     Due to skate for the Legend Suns in Saturday’s preliminary just-for-fun game will be John “Cub” Burke, Frank Salvoni, Charles Friedman, Sean O'Connell, Rian Timmons, Jamie Ellison, Vilnis Nikolaisons, Scotty Winkler, Caleb Baukol, Steve McCoy, Glenn Hunter, Mike Punnett, Dick Nelson, Brad Dredge, Dave Hutchinson, and goalie Dave Stone.

     On the Snipers roster for this weekend’s games are:

     Goalies: Bobby Farrelly, Cumberland, R.I. and Ketchum (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); and Ryan Simpson, Bow, N.H. (Providence College).

     Defensemen: Scott Shaunessy, Reading, Ma. (Boston University, NHL, AHL); Kevin Schaeffer, Huntington, N.Y. (Boston University, AHL, ECHL); Rylan Burns, Mill Bay, B.C. (Amherst College); Mike Hartwick, Bedford, N.H. (Dartmouth College, ECHL, Cardiff); and F/D Jeff Norton, Acton, Ma. (University of Michigan, 15 years NHL) and Tim Morrison, Hollis, N.H. (Quinnipiac University).

     Forwards: Bill Kelleher, North Reading, Ma. (Dartmouth College, Europe); Greg McCarthy, Medfield, Ma. (Tufts University, Europe); Mike McCarthy, Medfield, Ma. (Hobart College, Europe); Mike Sylvia, Weston, Ma. (Boston University, AHL, ECHL, Europe); Mark Murphy, Duxbury, Ma. (RPI, AHL, Europe); Tom Bardis, Alpharetta, Ga. (University of Wisconsin); Ted Brzek, Duxbury, Ma. (Hobart College); Jared Melillo, Medford, Ma. (Tufts University); and Rob Flynn, Canton, Ma. (Harvard University, ECHL).

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