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Scuttlebutt News:
The other side of Newport's finest

- Part 1 - Part 2 -

Ken Read - photo courtesy of Team DC
Ken Read
(Feb 24, 2007) Outside of Newport, RI, the names Brad and Ken Read are known for their College Sailor of the Year awards, J/24 class titles, etc. However, inside the town of Newport, they are known as much for their sailing prowess as their… ability on the hockey rink. Ken explains the double life of these two dominant sailors.

SBUTT: Where did the interest in hockey come from?
Ken Read: My father played hockey at Brown University, so Brad and I were born into it. It was a great era around the northeast US for hockey. Bobby Orr played for the Bruins and they were winning Stanley Cups. Youth hockey was huge and for a young kid it was a great way to get out and legally be able to smash someone into the boards and not get in trouble for it. My brother Brad and I were called "rink rats" as kids and with all the teams we played on we were in a rink just about every day during the winter in our childhood. My poor parents! But I think they loved it as much as we did. In fact, they both helped run the youth hockey leagues. My mother wrote a weekly article for the town's newspaper under the pen name "Zelda Zamboni".

SBUTT: Is there a time of year when hockey is played in Newport, or is it year round?
Ken Read: For the most part it is a cold month sport. There are a couple rinks open in the summer, but those of us still playing have at it from October through March. A bunch of us play in a couple leagues. We play a Sunday night league that is a real league. Then a bunch of us play on Monday or Thursday night "pick up" league that is simply for fun and a good workout. But, for some reason I was never able to really get excited about playing in the summer. Hence our two sport addictions. Sailing in the summer, hockey in the winter. Which is the reason we still play with a bunch of sailors around here even today.

SBUTT: Any details on some of the sailors still lacing it up right now?
Ken Read: There are actually a ton of sailors that play. Here are some from our Sunday night team that you might recognize:

Brad Read - Never grew very tall. He’s really quite short. but makes up for his lack of size by diving in front of every shot he can get near. This is maybe one of the reasons he is so short.

Jerry Kirby - Even at the age of 78 (not quite), he still has the best "wheels" on the ice. Actually, he has toned down his knack for beating people into submission. Our games are not quite as entertaining to watch, but it is probably for the best.

Matt Kirby - Natural goal scorer, and clearly plays better when he hasn't been surfing all morning, and then snow boarding at the local mountain before showing up at our 10pm game.

Scott Ferguson - Ferg and I played on the same teams when we were 8 years old. When he isn't designing masts for Prada, Laser frostbiting on Sunday afternoons, or playing paddle tennis, he is actively mowing down the competition on the ice and helping our team win. Ferg is still as talented as any we play with or against.

The Monday night league is more casual. Actually there is a ton more sailors on Monday nights. Many are boat captains on race boats who work as little as they can get away with, and clearly have been playing a lot of pond hockey. No names mentioned here as I don’t want to jeopardize their employment, and give them any extra ice time.

SBUTT: Any truth to the rumor that North Sails had to change their medical insurance carrier due to too many claims?
Ken Read: Well, last year was particularly bad for me, as I blew out my shoulder early in the year and missed two months. Then there was a high ankle sprain in the last game of the championship series that almost forced me to miss my stint in the Volvo Ocean Race. One guy on our team had heart trouble but was back the next week. I played through a partially torn groin earlier this year. Hockey players typically suck it up though, as the games are too much fun to miss.

SBUTT: Do the leagues have any special rules to keep you guys from killing yourselves?
Ken Read: The Sunday night league for us is over 40 years old. All rules apply, except no blatant checking. That is typically how every game starts and by the end of the game it is pretty much full on. It is a great work out, though it can get a bit feisty from time to time. There was a bit of a spat at the end of last year that involved 4 players on the ice and a couple members of one player’s family off the ice--including the guy’s wife! I watched Kirby dive into the other team's box once and take on their entire squad!

Best thing about this game is that for some reason (like sailing), people choose to do it their entire lives. There are 5 sailors on our league team, yet the other guys in the locker room are guys we would never have met in a million years if it weren’t for hockey. Great group of guys, great locker room atmosphere, and we are competitive still. We won our league two years ago and lost in the final game last year. Seeing the sailors on the list above, my guess is that it is no shock to anyone that we still want to be competitive.

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