Coach Bobby Farrelly’s East Coast Gutter Snipes men’s hockey team for 11 years has brought to Sun Valley a full roster of players loaded with college and professional ice hockey experience. They play the Sun Valley Suns and give hockey enthusiasts a thrill.
Farrelly’s Gutter Snipes are returning for two games against the host Suns at Hailey’s Campion Ice House on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19-20. But the Snipes are also bringing heavy hearts due to the tragic death of one of their players two months ago.
Peter Smith, a 33-year-old Boston bond analyst who played hockey at Bowdoin College, was one of two people who died in an early morning three-alarm fire in a five-story North End brick apartment building Nov. 22, 2017, the day before Thanksgiving.
Smith visited Idaho four times playing for the Gutter Snipes, the last time in 2015. Snipes co-captain Scott Shaunessy said about the aftermath of the tragic fire, “Sad day for all of us. We are retiring the No. 7 jersey in honor of Peter Smith this weekend.”
Gutter Snipes organizer Shaunessy, of Boston University and pro hockey notoriety, has pieced together an impressive roster of 21 players, their average age 35.8, their combined college and pro hockey background in the gazillions.
Not returning is two-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Gomez, who dazzled the crowds with six assists last year. And this will be the second year that crowd favorite and 797-game NHL pro Jeff Norton won’t be here to taunt the Suns and have fun with the crowd.
Yet it will be a treat to watch the skills of 39-year-old Mike Mottau, the record-setting Boston College defenseman and two-time All-American who won college hockey’s prestigious Hobey Baker Award as a senior in 2000. Mottau played 235 games for the NHL New Jersey Devils from 2007-10.
Also returning is forward Hugh Jessiman, 33, a 6-6, 231-pound from the Big Apple who scored 40 goals in 80 games for Dartmouth College from 2002-05 and finished his 10-season pro career in Europe for Zagreb and Vienna in 2015.
Eight Snipes who skated here last year aren’t on the roster, but there are eight newcomers who have played collegiately for Mercyhurst College, Harvard, Niagara, Univ. of Vermont and the Univ. of Alabama-Huntsville.
Last year, the Suns sliced the Gutter Snipes advantage to 12-10-0 in the 11-season, 22-game senior men’s hockey series. They also reduced East Coast’s total goals advantage to 128-124 over the 22 games.
In 2016, the Suns swept the Gutter Snipes 9-3 and 4-2—the first Suns sweep over the Farrelly’s travel team in 10 years.
Last January, the Suns won the Friday opener 9-8 in overtime on a game-winning goal by Sean O’Grady. It was the fourth consecutive Suns win over the Snipes. But the Snipes prevailed 6-2 Saturday with Harvard’s Rob Flynn scoring twice and the East Coast boys outshooting the Suns 35-19.
Accordingly, the Snipes won the 5B Schooner Shot Ski championship for 2017 based on the 14-11 goal differential.
The East Coast Gutter Snipes now lead the 12-season, 24-game rivalry 13-11-0 and have a 142-135 total goals advantage in those games.
Coach John Burke’s Suns (7-3) have won four of their last five games entering the series.
Pre-sale of tickets for the Jan. 19-20 two-game home series between the Suns and Gutter Snipes will occur in Hailey Friday, Jan. 19 from 12 noon-5 p.m. at Campion Ice House.
In Ketchum, there will be advance ticket sales at Paul Kenny’s Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 12 noon to closing, on Thursday, Jan. 18 from 8 a.m. until closing, and on Friday, Jan. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets will also be sold at the door. Cost is $10 adults, $5 children, free for kids under 10 accompanied by an adult.
Weekend benefit for the Suns-Snipes is the City of Ketchum Parks and Recreation Park Penguins youth hockey.
NOTES—The New York St. Nicks senior men invaded Snow King Center last weekend and escaped with 4-3 and 6-3 wins over the host Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Moose (10-6 overall, 6-4 Black Diamond Hockey League). St. Nicks held Moose leading scorers A.J. Sanders (15 goals, 20 assists), Tom Hartnett (12-14 for 26 points) and Kyle Krauss (11-9 for 20 points) to a combined two goals and two assists for the series, no goals by Sanders. St. Nicks is due to play the Suns at Hailey’s Campion Ice House Feb. 16-17.
East Coast Gutter Snipes roster
With jersey numbers
Captains—Bill Kelleher and Scott Shaunessy.
Braintrust—Coach Bobby Farrelly, assistant coach Dave Maimaron, off-ice captain Jack Smith.
In memory of Peter Smith—This weekend, the Gutter Snipes are retiring the No. 7 jersey of Peter Smith, who died tragically in a North End 3-alarm fire Nov. 22, 2017 in Boston, Mass. Smith, 33, from South Hamilton, Mass., played hockey for Bowdoin College from 2003-07 and visited Sun Valley with the Gutter Snipes 4 times, the last time in 2015.
#1—Goalie James Novak.
#2—Defenseman Chris Nelson, 48, 6-2, 220 lbs. from Philadelphia, Pa., Univ. of Wisconsin 1988-92 (143 games, 11 goals, 31 assists), drafted by N.J. Devils in 1988, 7 pro years with 9 teams in AHL, IHL, ECHL, WCHL 1992-2000.
#3—Forward Ryan Thornton, 43, 6-1, 200 lbs. from Dorchester, Mass., Notre Dame 1993-96.
#4—Forward/defenseman Denis Kirstein, 35, 6-0, 200 lbs. from Bethel Park, Pa., Mercyhurst College 2003-07 (102 games).
#5—Defenseman Dave Cavanagh, 31, 6-1, 205 lbs. from Warwick, R.I., Providence College 2006-10, one of nine children of 1994 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Joe Cavanagh, three-time Harvard University All-American.
#6—Defenseman Mike Mottau, 39, 6-0, 195 lbs. from Quincy, Mass., Boston College 1996-2000, 2000 Hobey Baker award winner, 9 NHL seasons and 321 games with N.Y. Rangers, Calgary Flames, N.J. Devils (2007-10, 235 games, 124 points for the N.J. Devils).
#8—Defenseman Chris Huxley, 30, 5-11, 202 lbs. from Weymouth, Mass., Harvard University 2007-11 (129 games, 42 points), minor league Ontario (Ca.) Reign 2011-13 (110 games, 60 points, 140 PM).
#10—Forward Bill Kelleher, 44, 5-11, 185 lbs. from North Reading, Mass., Dartmouth College 1992-97 (115 games, 29 goals, 77 assists).
#11—Forward Matt Schwartz, 31, 5-11, 185 lbs. from Venetia, Pa., Bentley College 2004-06.
#14—Forward Hugh Jessiman, 33, 6-6, 231 lbs. from New York, N.Y., Dartmouth College 2002-05 (80 games, 40 goals, 42 assists), 9 pro years with 8 teams in AHL, ECHL highlighted by 2 seasons with Milwaukee Admirals 2008-10 (141 games, 69 points, 211 PM), skated for Zagreb and Vienna from 2013-15.
#17—Forward Chris Sebastian, 39, 5-10, 185 lbs. from Burlington, Ont., Canada, Niagara University 1999-2003 (141 games, 31 goals, 78 points).
#19—Forward Brandon Rubeo, 33, 5-8, 160 lbs. from McMurray, Pa., Markham Waxers of Ontario Junior Hockey 2004-05 (13 goals, 40 points).
#20—Forward/defenseman Joe Federoff, 33, 6-2, 205 lbs. from Pittsburgh, Pa., Robert Morris Univ. and Univ. of Alabama-Huntsville 2004-09 (113 games, 19 goals, 33 assists, 52 points).
#22—Forward Rob Flynn, 35, 6-2, 220 lbs. from Canton, Mass., Harvard University 2001-05 (106 games, 22 points).
#26—Forward/defenseman Jim Roach, 32, 5-11, 190 lbs. from Mars, Pa., Youngstown Phantoms of North American Hockey League 2003-05.
#27—Forward Mark Murphy, 41, 5-11, 205 lbs. from Duxbury, Mass., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1995-99 (138 games, 29 goals, 105 points), 4 teams in AHL/ECHL 1999-2006, Switzerland and Germany 2005-11 (67 goals in 260 games).
#33—Goalie Andrew Clark.
#44—Defenseman Scott Shaunessy, 53, 6-4, 235 lbs. from Newport, R.I., Boston University 1983-87 (152 games, 19 goals, 72 assists, 266 PM), cup of coffee with NHL Quebec Nordiques, finish minor league career with WPHL Fort Worth Brahmas 1999.
#46—Forward Pierce Norton, 32, 6-2, 200 lbs. from South Boston, Mass., Providence College 2005-09 (135 games, 29 goals, 30 assists).
#67—Forward Christian Hanson, 31, 6-4, 230 lbs. from Glens Falls, N.Y., Notre Dame 2005-09 (140 games, 36 goals, 28 assists), NHL Toronto Maple Leafs 2008-11, AHL Hershey, Providence, Chicago 2011-14.
#72—Forward Jack Downing, 28, 6-3, 210 lbs. from New Canaan, Ct., Univ. of Vermont 2007-11 (144 games, 35 goals, 28 assists), 8 teams in AHL and ECHL 2011-16, Germany in 2016-17 (46 games, 22 goals, 42 points).