Ice Box Invitational Handball Doubles
January 9-10 2015
St. Anthony AC, Minneapolis
The 21st annual and likely the last Ice Box Doubles Invitational at the St. Anthony Athletic Club featured the best handball players in the state with Matt Hiber and Andy Nett leading the charge. True to it’s name, the temperature stayed below zero most of the weekend creating a true Ice Box feel. Of course this played havock with the humidity on the courts and more than one point was won or lost due to a slider. As usual, the closed circuit TV action was a hit as the gallery swelled to three deep for many of the matches. The usual non-stop, great hospitality enhanced by the unique atmosphere of the St. Anthony AC kept everyone satisfied and noisy. Usually a tournament full of closely contested matches and many tie-breakers, once again almost a third of the matches went to tie-breakers.
Open doubles Finalists
John Nett, Andy Nett, Marc Tobin, Matt Hiber
Andy Nett and John Nett could not quite five-peat in a thrilling 11-10 final against Matt Hiber and Marc Tobin in the Open division. Hiber showed his uncanny abilities as almost almost single-handedly defeating Andy as Tobin and John Nett were mostly spectators in this world-class competition. But ii was Marc Tobin with some incredible play at 10-10 in the tie-breaker that made the difference. Unfortunately, the last point was gained on a slider down the slick right wall after four serve attempts ended in hinders. Hiber and Tobin struggled a bit as they went to tie-breakers in every one of their matches as they learned to play with each other. The gallery was treated to some great action watching some very good teams trying to take advantage of wily father John while Andy mostly had his way. It was great to see Ryan Maloney and Pete Crouser playing great defeating Ryan Pesch and his father Bruce. But they were no match for the Netts in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Tim Kappes and Brian Burke played some great handball to defeat Mike Gustafson and Ray miller before falling to the eventual champs in a tie-breaker. Pesch and Pesch went on to claim the $20 consolation prize in a lengthy match against Gustafson and Miller.
Open Consolation finalists
Mike Gustafson, Ray Miller, Ryan Pesch, Bruce Pesch
A Doubles Finalists
Jay Spooner, Dan Passolt, John Miller, Emil Weiler
The A division saw a changing of the guard as frequent winners (four of the last eight years) Emil Weiler and John Miller came up a bit short against the Fargo Boys, Jay Spooner and Dan Passolt. It looked like it might go to a tie-breaker but the hard fists down the left wall by Passolt turned the tide. Weiler and Miller had a bit of a scare against new-comer Dave Schiller and veteran Michael Burke in the first round. Look out for that Schiller guy as he converts his one-wall game to four wall. They moved through the semifinal against Brett Broxey and Brian Mahaffy relatively easily. Passolt and Spooner had a tough match against Steve Tamminga and Hank Ulrich, but the outcome was never really in question. Mike Kloos and Brian Coonce had a war against Phil Kleineschay and John Nakasone to take consolation honors in a tie-breaker.
A Doubles Consolation finalists
John Nakasone, Phil Kleineschay, Mike Kloos, Brian Coonce
B Doubles finalists
Jim Van Horn, Dave Abramson, Alex Meyer, John Laliberte
John Laliberte dumped his dad for youngster Alex Meyer but could not repeat as the B division champion as Jim Van Horn and a very strong Dave Abramson had enough shots to win in a tie-breaker final on a very slick court. Van Horn and Abramson seemed to like tie-breakers as they struggled a bit in the first round against a one-handed (broken fingers on his right hand) Dave Swanson (filing in for ankle injured Bailey Chandler) and Kristina Rude. They had another entertaining match against Mike Leiter and Ken Toering but were able to win in two in the semifinals. Laliberte and Meyer also had trouble, playing tie-breakers in all their matches – good lessons for Meyer! The consolation round ended in an entertaining and slippery final as Tom Bordenave and Ed Simoet were victorious against Jack Leveille and Al Baumgarten.
B doubles consolation Finalists
Al Baumgarten, Jack Leveille, Ed Simonet, Tom Bordenave
Thanks to the St. Anthony AC and the tournament committee of Sheldon Silberman, Emil Weiler, Brian Mahaffy, and Steve Tamminga for making this one of the best tournaments in the Twin Cities. Sadly, this is likely the last Ice Box tournament at the St. Anthony club as the club is scheduled to be sold sometime this year to make room for a high-rise residential development. Stay tuned to see if the tournament shows up somewhere else in the future.
The Lounge proves a popular place – live handball on the TV and beer!
Folks having fun in the gallery