Did you hear the one about two bucks fighting for the puck?The biggest problem with the deer costume was the viewing window in the neck, explained Joe Broneak. It got steamed up. And when you’re wearing a giant inflatable deer costume with a steamed up viewing window, it can be difficult to play a quality game of hockey.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
The biggest problem with the deer costume was the viewing window in the neck, explained Joe Broneak. It got steamed up. And when you’re wearing a giant inflatable deer costume with a steamed up viewing window, it can be difficult to play a quality game of hockey.
“Every now and then you couldn’t see where you were going,” said Broneak, who helped organize Saturday’s Robert Rodd Memorial Costume Hockey Game, revealing that he ordered the two inflatable costumes (complete with battery operated fans) for himself and son, Joey, on the “Legendary Whitetails” website.
Legendary is right.
Like two stags during rut, father and son battled for the puck during the game, sometimes against one another, other times against hunter Josh Berndt, dressed in blaze orange. At times the hunter became the hunted, whether it was the deer who chased him, a nun, a blue M&M, Waldo (of “Where’s Waldo?” fame) or some other costumed character on skates.
The costume hockey game is a northern Minnesota version of the Ice Capades, with a lot less plot and a lot more humor. Saturday’s game featured 17 skaters and two goalies, all in costume for the third period, playing hockey their way. All the players are either Carlton alumni or local VIPs.
“I think [Rodd] would have liked it – the costumes,” Broneak said. “He would have enjoyed that. But he was a pretty modest guy, so he probably wouldn’t have liked the attention [of having a tournament named after him].”
Robert Rodd’s widow, Leola, said it is a fitting tribute to her late husband – also known as Zamboni Bob – who passed away in December 2007.
“He spent a lot of time at the hockey shelter,” said the former Carlton mayor and current city councilor. “He ran the concession stand and the Zamboni, but he also volunteered a lot of his time. He would go in early and leave late, just to make sure the ice was ready for the kids.”
Broneak knew Zamboni Bob from the days when his oldest daughter and Joey were little and he coached youth hockey.
“I spent a lot of time with Bob,” he said. “The kids loved him. He was very stern about stuff, but then the kids would come in and he’d flip them a piece of candy and smile.”
This was the fourth year for the costume hockey game – something the entire Broneak family helps organize – and the third year that the event honored Zamboni Bob. The first year the group only raised about $100.
“Then we got Leola involved, and that kind of kick-started getting people coming to the game,” Joe Broneak said, explaining that he got the idea after playing in a similar tournament in Hibbing several years ago.
Rodd said Saturday’s event raised $1,000 for the Robert Rodd scholarship fund, which awarded two $500 scholarships to Carlton students last year.
Robert Rodd was a firm believer in the value of a good education, his wife said, supporting her through five years of college even though he just had a high school diploma.
“He always encouraged kids to go on in school,” she said.
The Broneak family and Leola are already fine tuning plans for next year’s game. They’re thinking of one period of “glow in the dark” hockey and a possible repeat of this year’s fan costume contest.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a good cause,” Broneak said, expressing his thanks to everyone who donated prizes, food and drink for Saturday’s game. “I’d like to see more people show up. When people come, they have a lot of fun.”