Around the nation in our sport – Article 2
He’s known as the ‘Commish’ for a reason: Wayne Barrett has been organizing hockey games since he was a kid. Not long after moving to Northern Virginia in the 1980s, he graduated to even bigger things, helping to start a league that rapidly expanded in just a few years.
Today, that league — DC Street Hockey, or DCSH as it is known by many league veterans — is widely regarded as the most competitive ball hockey organization in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Based out of Alexandria, Virginia, Barrett’s DCSH is set to begin its 17th year in March, when 18 Sunday teams and 8 Wednesday evening teams face off for the latest season.
DCSH offers two Sunday Leagues, including an upper and lower division. Division 1 is its most competitive offering, and mostly includes tournament players and those who have at least several years of ball hockey experience. Division 2 includes players with mixed levels of experience and skill — players who are both new to the game, or who are looking to have a hockey life longer than the ageless Jaromir Jagr.
Each league has two seasons annually, consisting of 10 regular season games and up to 3 playoff games; the Sunday seasons generally run between March and early November, with games beginning at 1:30 and running all the way through 10:30 pm.
The Wednesday league, which features a mixture of D1 and D2 level players, follows a different format — it’s a draft league, where 8 different captains select their respective teams from scratch each season. That set-up allows players to have different teammates from season to season; it also creates a unique league-wide sense of camaraderie (frequent DCSH happy hours also serve to heighten the bond). The draft itself has become a social occasion as league players follow each pick and comment online — nearly always hilariously.
In addition to its leagues, DCSH organizes several day-long ball hockey tournaments throughout the year — among them a mini-Winter Classic in January, a Labor Day Exhibition Tournament in September, and the Co-ed Turkey Shootout in November.
But the highlight of every year is the league’s signature event — the City of Origins tournament, held annually in early October.
Coming up on its 8th year, the COO tournament allows players to join a squad according to their birth location or their favorite National Hockey League team. Participants from the 2016 tournament included teams representing Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, the Midwest, Buffalo, New York/New Jersey, Canada, and Philadelphia, the 4-time champion.
The day-long event is more festival than tournament. Teams set up tents, grill out and compete to create the best exhibit of their city’s sports memorabilia, food and beer. The event also features a hardest slap shot competition, a breakaway contest, and a Women’s Travel Team exhibition game, featuring some of the nation’s top women players.
In between COO and everything else, DCSH members also play in tournaments across the country ranging from the Nationals to the North American Championships. In recent years, league teams have traveled to a variety of places including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Sea Isle City (New Jersey), Ocean City (Maryland), and Las Vegas.
Barrett isn’t just the league commissioner, he also serves as a player/coach for various DCSH tournament teams. He‘s come a long way from the kid who used to organize neighborhood games — he was also a member of the initial Team USA/DC Masters ball hockey team.