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Hockey offers lawyers camaraderie and stress relief

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Richard Blaiklock admits he gets the occasional raised eyebrow or sideways glance when clients or colleagues learn he plays hockey.

“They generally think I’m an idiot,” quipped Blaiklock, an attorney at Lewis Wagner LLP in Indianapolis. “They think we get hurt, fight, etc. They have a misperception of what happens in our league.”

JeffFecht-8-15col.jpg Indianapolis attorney Jeff Fecht waits to take the ice during an adult amateur hockey league match at the Carmel Ice Skadium. Fecht is among a small number of attorneys who play the game. (IL Photo/Eric Learned)

Blaiklock is one of a group of attorneys who play organized team hockey. He and other Indianapolis-area lawyers participate in adult leagues at the Carmel Ice Skadium. “I try to protect that one evening each week. There’s great camaraderie with the players, and I have been fortunate to develop some great relationships with a lot of people.”

Like many hockey-playing lawyers, Blaiklock played youth hockey – he played from age 10 to 13 – then left the game behind only to pick it up again years later.

That’s the same path that Steve Krohne took. “I started playing at like, 5, then started playing again as an adult,” said Krohne, a partner at Hackman Hulett & Cracraft LLP in Indianapolis. He dropped the game in law school, but picked it up again when his son, Ethan, started playing about 10 years ago at age 4.

“It’s kind of like riding a bicycle. You never really forget how to skate,” Krohne said.

Like Blaiklock, he acknowledges some folks don’t seem to understand. “I do get the head shake, and people say, ‘Are you crazy?’”

While many people equate hockey with violent behavior, the league the attorneys play in forbids checking and slapshots. Teams include not just lawyers but doctors as well as other professionals and people from all walks of life.

“It’s the same as any exercise, although it’s just for me more fun,” Krohne said. “It’s definitely a stress-reliever, and probably the thing I value most is the friends I’ve met.”

Another Indianapolis lawyer who’s gotten into the game is Jeff Fecht, a partner at Riley Bennett & Egloff LLP. “We work in stressful jobs, and when I get on the ice I always forget what’s stressing me,” he said.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Fecht was a hockey fan, but he didn’t take up the game until later in life at the encouragement of his older brother.

Fecht said there’s a special bond among fellow hockey players.

“Part of it is, in Indy, hockey is kind of a fringe sport,” he said. “You’ve got the camaraderie of playing a sport a lot of people don’t follow, and it’s a unique sport because you’re playing a sport on ice.

“For me, it’s been a great experience. I’ve made a lot of friends and business connections, and I think it’s just a really good group of guys,” he said.

Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman P.C. attorney Zachary Jacob, who also plays in the Carmel adult league, said putting a stick on the ice is a tremendous release.

“I’m a transactional lawyer, so I don’t get a lot of confrontation,” Jacob said. Hockey “is something that really scratches that competitive itch.

“This has always been something I do for me, and I just love it,” he said. “You’re there to have a good time with it and enjoy a little intensity.”

The lawyers and others who play have been able to turn their amateur sports pursuit into charitable efforts. Last year, some of the league members set up a weekend tournament to support the Leukemia Man of the Year Campaign of one of the league players, a leukemia survivor. Both Blaiklock and Krohne played on teams and provided other support for the event. 

pond_hockey-15col.jpg Indianapolis attorneys Steve Krohne (second left) and Richard Blaiklock (far right) pose for a photo at a pond hockey tournament in Wisconsin where teams played outdoors in temperatures as low as minus 17 degrees. (submitted photo)

With team entry fees, sponsorships and an auction, more than $14,000 was raised during the Light the Lamp Against Cancer 2013 charity hockey tournament. Blaiklock said it looks like this will become an annual event; this year’s tourney is scheduled for May. Other charitable events coincide with the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays.

Blaiklock and Krohne also competed in a pond hockey tournament this year in Eagle River, Wis., where they played in temperatures as low as minus 17 degrees.

It’s not just Indianapolis attorneys who gear up and hit the ice.

“There’s something to be said about putting on all the equipment … you’re not giving up the dream. There’s the locker room and the banter and all the stuff that ended abruptly before,” said Bloomington solo practitioner Will Spalding.

Spalding plays in leagues at the Frank Southern Ice Arena, as does Mike Scarton, an attorney at the Shean Law Offices in Bloomington.

“We’re just some old guys who said, ‘We can still do that,’” Scarton said. He took up the game in law school, and Spalding started playing even later. Both now have 8-year-old sons who play.

“The kids love it, and it’s been wonderful for us,” said Spalding, who didn’t begin playing until about age 38.

“To start a new sport like that at that stage in life, it’s tough,” he said. “But I ice skated a lot when I was younger.”

Scarton said the amateur teams in Bloomington have gotten a big assist from former Fort Wayne Komets and Indianapolis Ice player Kevin Schmidt, who helps beginning and novice players understand and improve their games.

“He plays with us, and he kind of dumbs it down a little bit,” Spalding said.

“As far as skill level goes, we’ve got everything,” Scarton said, from those just learning the game to players who’ve honed their game for years.

“It’s a love of the sport, plus it gives you some physical fitness along the way,” he said.•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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