Sunday, December 11, 2022
Phantoms 900h Game
vs. Gun Ru
Another milestone in the 20+ year history of West Michigan Phantom Hockey was reached on Sunday, December 11, 2022 at Walker Ice & Fitness. During the 5:05pm game against Gun Ru, the Phantoms played in the team's 900th game. Hard to believe that all of the memories that began in the Fall of 2002 continue to create additional moments and fun sixteen years later. A commemorative video was created for the event, which featured several people that have been apart of the Phantom history over the years. The Phantoms would play a great game against the league leading Gun Ru, however, Ryker Barber would net the lone Phantom goal in the team's 1-4 loss.
PHANTOM HOCKEY: 900 GAMES PLAYED
The West Michigan Phantoms have reached another monumental milestone in the team’s history. On Sunday, December 11, 2022, the Phantoms skated in the team’s 900th league game dating back to the founding in September of 2002. The Phantoms, for over two decades, have battled across the West Michigan landscape on three different rinks and have continued to form new friendships and connections along the way. Very few teams, if any, from the West Michigan adult circuit have been able to mark such a historic footprint and post the milestone achievements as the Phantoms have done. Walker Ice & Fitness has tallied the largest number of Phantom games played during this 900 game run with a total of 394 games played on Remembrance Drive, while Rivertown Sports has hosted 271 games and Cedar Rock Sports Plex a hefty 235 battles of Phantom Nation. For a team to be able to continue after two decades takes a committed roster of both
current and former players and the Phantoms thank everyone who has made this 900-game-played-mark possible. “It is hard to image that what started right after high school for me has continued down the road to what it is today…that’s basically half of my life,” said team goaltender Kevin Wootton. “We were once the youngest team playing on the rink and now we are one of the oldest,” Wootton added. The Phantoms, who have help cultivate and nurture other teams, such as the former Good Ole Boys of Rivertown Sports, Zombie Hockey of Walker Ice & Fitness and Lakeside Locomotives of Muskegon have been able to use a very solid network of players to keep multiple network or affiliates teams playing at the same take. “So many great friends and teammates not only have and continue to play one night of the week on the Phantoms, but their excitement for the game and sport have allowed them to play on multiple nights each week as full time players of multiple teams, several Phantom players playing alongside their fellow teammates multiple days each week,” Wootton said. While the 900 game mark only counts those games that are Phantom league games (not those of Zombies, Locomotives or other teams), the passion, heart and sole of this group remains solid and I can not thank them enough for their support both on and off the ice,” Wootton added. The Phantoms began their storied beginnings back in 2002 at Rivertown Sports playing inline hockey in the Cooper league at the Grandville rink. After a few league changes, the team shifted play to Cedar Rock Sports Plex near Cedar Springs in 2008 and continued their inline hockey playing. In 2012, following news that Cedar was going to convert to ice hockey, the team shifted back closer to the Grand Rapids area and started playing at Walker Ice & Fitness as an ice hockey team. Several players and those close to the team reflected on the 900 game accomplishment leading up to the historic game. “I just want to take a minute and congratulate the Phantoms on 900 career games played, that is quite the accomplishment,” said former Phantom Champion Kurt Boeske. “It was awesome playing alongside Brian Doctor, Matt Zehr, Brad Zehr, Mike Shaver, Kevin Wootton….it was so fun playing with those guys and it is so awesome to see you guys still going,” Boeske added. During the 900 game history, the Phantoms have captured eight league championship and skated in non-league games at Joe Louis Arena, All State Arena, Yost Ice Arena, Little Caesar’s Arena and others. “Congratulations on playing in our 900th career game,” said former Phantom and current Locomotive Zach Kinney. “It has truly been an honor to be a part of this storied franchise,” Kinney added. The Phantoms are currently in the middle of the 2022-2023 season at Walker Ice & Fitness and will travel out of the area for two more non-league games this season at Munn Ice Arena and the Chicago Blackhawk practice rink. The team would again like to say thank you to those players both past and present that have allowed the team to reach 900 games played.