Gordon Cup – A long Line of History
For over 20 years, the Gordon Cup Tournament that takes place at Timber Lake each summer has left an imprint on the minds of hundreds of current and former campers. This is true for players who wore the Timber Lake jersey, as well as players from other camps. These memories from a tournament that takes place once a year in late July, are memories that will last a lifetime.
The Gordon Cup wasn’t always the spectacle it is today.
Given Timber Lake’s growing hockey program, in September of 1985, Jay wanted to start a competitive roller hockey tournament. But, at that time hockey was considered potentially too violent to be played in an intercamp tournament. Jay pitched the idea to Mike Gordon, the Director of Camp Wah-Nee, who agreed to come to the tournament and brought along Camp Pontiac. Soon after, Camp Summit signed on and the tournament was born. Sadly, Mike Gordon died suddenly later in December of that year. Jay decided to name the hockey tournament after Mike.
The first tournament scheduled in the summer of 1986 was rained out (The Timber Dome was not built until 10 years later) and so the first drop of the puck was in 1987. Appropriately, Mike Gordon’s Camp Wah-Nee was the Gordon Cup’s first victor.
As we look forward to the Gordon Cup in 2015 taking place on July 22nd, we took notice of a team that plays year-round in the Manhattan Roller Hockey League (MRHL) on 96th street and 1st avenue in NYC. While many think that the Gordon Cup feeling ends once you graduate as a camper and become a counselor at camp (or move on to something else), this team we are about to discuss has been able to keep Gordon Cup magic alive for over 15 years.
They call themselves the Mighty Mouses – a team name that was chosen after the late David “Mighty Mouse” Glass. David was known as one of, if not, THE best Gordon Cup players of all time from 1995-1999 (Captain in 1999). Glass started every year that he made the team, beginning as a Junior (12 years old) and going all the way through his 2nd year Teen summer. Glass was known as a speedy scoring winger, and although he was a little guy at the time, he always played with a big heart among the giants around him.
The idea to enter this team into the league was that of former Associate Director of Timber Lake now turned Director of Hampton Country Day Camp, Dave Skolnik, along with his best buddy and former bunk-mate, Matt Segal. Skolnik was on the Gordon Cup for 3 years (97-99) and was an Assistant captain in his final season wearing green and white (1999). Segal was also on the squad for 3 years and joined Skolnik as the captain in 1999. They formed this idea to create a roller hockey team in Manhattan and immediately contacted Justin Buchel (known for the everlasting “BU SHELL, CLAP CLAP” chant that is ingrained in Timber Lake fan’s memories from the late 90s). Buchel was the starting goalie for 3 seasons from 97-99, winning an MVP award in 1998. Soon after Buchel joined forces with Skolnik and Segal and the Mighty Mouses were born.
The first season began in 2009, 10 years after their last Gordon Cup together back in 1999. With 3 seasons per year in the MRHL, no one on the team was sure if they’d be able to last. The first team was made up of almost entirely TLC Gordon Cup Champions from the 1998 and 1999 teams. Included on the team were Buchel, Skolnik, Segal, Matt Schwartz (96-98), Andrew Bernstein (96-98), Jordan Klein (97-98), Zach Rechler (96) Kyle Newman (97), and Danny Glaser (98). They even had a cameo from Gordon Cup great Jon Sawitz. Let’s not forget that these ’97-’99 teams played against some of the toughest competition ever, even going up against Eric Nystrom from camp Summit, son of NHL great Bobby Nystrom, who was a 1st round NHL draft pick and is currently playing in his 8th NHL season.
It is safe to say that the common bond that you have with your camp friends is unlike any friendships you have in your lifetime. You can go without seeing your camp friends for months – or years – and the moment you see them, it’s like you were with them every day leading up to that moment. The Mighty Mouses have captured this feeling once a week for the last 5 years.
Over the years in the league, the Mighty Mouses added more Gordon Cup TLC players such as Jared Feigenbaum (Captain ’98), Geoff Gottlieb, and Jeff Goldberg (Co-Captains of the ’02 team). Former coach and current Timber Lake employee Damon DeBicarri even attended some games in NYC to see how the players he coached more than 10 years ago were still playing today.
The team went through some changes, like any other team. In the Fall of 2010, the youth movement began. Jason Aaron (captain of the 2004 Gordon Cup Champs) was added to the team. Jason instantly became one of the Mighty Mouse’s best players and was soon voted Captain along with Justin Buchel and Jared Feigenbaum.
After more than 4 years of playing together, in the Fall of 2013, most of the original team had moved on due to age. Buchel and Jason Aaron are the captains now as they began to add some other TLC players of the past. Jason soon added his older brother David (’00-02 and Asst. Capt ’02) who soon became the team’s best forward. The team now consists of 7 TLC alumni – Buchel, The Aaron Brothers, Geoff Gottlieb, Brett Carmen (’01-’03 and Capt 03), Jeff Kahn (’01-’03 and Asst Captain in 03), and Keith Fisher (’04-05). They did have to add some players from other camps to round out the team and each of those additions played in the Gordon Cup at one point as well.
With a new team and fresh blood, the Mighty Mouses went undefeated in the summer of 2014, but lost in the championship game. But, that didn’t stop this team. In the Fall of 2014, the team went 9-1 and won the championship by sweeping a best of 3 series. This was the first championship for the Mighty Mouses in the MRHL, but hopefully not the last.
After interviewing former Gordon Cup great Justin Buchel for this article – he wanted me to focus on one major point: The players that have been a part of the Mighty Mouses are not just former teammates and Gordon Cup players, rather, they are all close camp friends that have turned into best friends. After all, the one thing everyone that went Timber Lake knows, is that camp friends are the BEST FRIENDS.
The Mighty Mouses look forward to defending their title in 2015 – we will be sure to update you with the results!