Down East Hockey

In February 1932 an entirely different brand of hockey was played at the R.I. Auditorium when the Bucksport Pointers and the Skowhegan Yokels showed fans how "Down East Hockey" was played.  The game, similar to "shinny", was best characterized as a "free-for-all".  The players had no skates, uniforms or penalties and rules to encumber themselves with.  This version of hockey had a puck in play from the moment it was dropped on the ice until it was shot into the net.  The players were clad in the most approved lumberjack fashion (players carried home-made hickory sticks and carpet bags and wore hip boots instead of skates).  Four 20-minute periods were staged providing enough action for a Roman holiday.  The teams brought their own officials and their own band with them.  They took their places on the team and in the band with nonchalance.  Sometimes instead of a puck the Maine brigade used a painted golf ball loaded with lead to prevent it from from taking wings and souring up into the audience.  While the scoring was freer than in regulation hockey, a team rarely tallied more than eight or nine times.  There was no penalties, no rules, no off-sides, no out-of-bounds and no time outs.  The official was not permitted to interrupt the game.  His only function seemed to be being pushed around by the players when he got in their way.  It was a proud boast of the "Down Easters" that nobody paid attention to the referee.   Six men played on a side during hostilities with the play so rough and rugged that it was necessary for each team to carry 15 or more substitutes at all times.