After last season saw two South Boston teams compete for the coveted Kitchen Kup, and take it home to Southie, this year many in Charlestown hoped to reclaim the coveted piece of summer hardware, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Kup remained in the hands of Southie this season.
The champions – Michael Carr, Liam Coughlin, Sean McDonough, Anthony Flaherty and Goalie Peter Needham – were the runners-up last season, and they were not going to let it slip out of their hands again.
“It was a pretty powerful performance by them,” Kup founder Joe Brennan said. “They were just too strong, too fast, too quick. They went undefeated the entire tournament, and … they basically dominated the entire time during the tournament.”
The South Boston team was met in the finals by a highly anticipated Charlestown team led by Brendan Collier, who plays for the Jacksonville Icemen in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
“It was kind of a blowout,” Brennan said. “It wasn’t that close.”
Now in its 15th year, the double-elimination roller hockey tournament held at Edwards Playground (knowns as The Kitchen) gathered a sizeable crowd around the rink, indicative of Charlestown’s love for hockey of any kind.
“It’s kind of the heart and soul of the town,” said Quinlan Locke. “Every year, this cup means a lot to people who play hockey here, and hockey’s definitely a very rich part of Charlestown.”
For a hockey-driven community like Charlestown, the Kitchen Kup is an opportunity for glory, Brennan said. “Making it to the professional level is like hitting the lottery,” Brennan said, “but 95 percent of the hockey players have never achieved those levels. What are you gonna do? This is probably the next best thing.”
The Kup is also a chance for younger players to claim their place in Charlestown hockey.
“It means a lot to us, for a lot of the younger kids,” said Charlestown’s Nolan Carrier, of the People’s Team. “Some of these guys are still playing – some of them in their 30s who have won it before and don’t want to give it up. We’ve got the younger kids who want a shot at it. … It’s a battle.”
This year, the youngsters stepped up in coordinating the tournament as well, Brennan said. On Sunday, games were held at the Bryan McGonagle Rink to make up for Saturday’s postponements during the driving rainstorm, and those were overseen by the younger generation.
“They had a very effective role in coordinating some of the stuff that we were doing,” Brennan said. “They’ve taken a more effective and responsible role, and helped orchestrate everything. This is going to be in their hands more effectively moving forward.”
This year’s tournament featured 22 teams, including those from Charlestown, Medford and even New Hampshire. The inclement weather was trouble—two rain delays on Saturday, and more than 90 degrees all day on Sunday—but with the effort of the community, this year marked yet another successful Kitchen Kup.
“We were able to do that with a lot of help from everyone involved,” Brennan said.