The first official* game of leaf blower was played in Toronto, Canada on November 10th, 2007, when the "Wind-Breakers" faced off against the "The Fallen Leafs" to raise money for the ALS Society of Canada. It was a chaotic game of speed, power and waffles (the official breakfast). After three 10- minute periods, The Fallen Leafs blew past the Wind Breakers to a 5-2 victory. (See the full game report below.)
Leaf Blower hockey isn't a "real" sport, there is no league. Teams of drooling backpack blowing warriors will not be invading anyone's neighbourhood. The inaugural game was played under the heading of "waggery," just to see if a nutty idea would work---and to raise some money for ALS. Each player paid a $25 fee that was matched by the organizers. The official LBH season is short, one day in the Fall. Eight guys playing for half and hour or so use up 2 litres (one gallon approx.) of high octane, clean burning gas in low emission, quiet blowers. Leaf Blower hockey is a not for profit organization with all proceeds going to the ALS Society of Canada.
Leaf Blower Hockey is silly and ridiculous, but it isn't "the end of the world as we know it", as some of its detractors say. (That happened with "America's Next Top Model".) Critics are simply not aware of the huge advances in leaf blower technology. Today's models for example, have reduced hydrocarbon emissions by 90% vs. a few years ago. In fact, compared to automobiles, a week's worth of driving vs. a week of leaf blower use is 30 times worse for the environment, and when it comes to greenhouse gasses, it's 230 times worse. Noise levels are also now quieter than a city bus.
For full details go to: http://members.cox.net/leafblower/
November 10, 2007, Toronto: 8:30 am: It's ugly-early Saturday morning, hangovers hung in the air. A box of fresh Belgium waffles from Goed Eten in the Kensington Market had been raided; the Tim Horton's coffee was pumped back, the back-pack blowers were fired up and the wiffle ball was dropped shortly after 9am by official referee, Gary Rusak. The perforated plastic ball began bounding joyously in the clash of air. The game had begun.
The awkwardness and trepidation of the players didn't last long. Some players had spent days circling Toronto's exclusive areas: Rosedale, Forest Hill and the Bridal Path studying the leaf blower landscapers of giant green lawns for secret strategies of air flow.
With short ten-minute periods, a wily ball and a slippery, wet surface, the game seemed destined to be a low scoring affair. However, The Fallen Leafs opened the flood gates with a couple of breakout passes when their two defensemen combined their open-throttle streams to blast the ball past the attacking Wind Breakers, giving their waiting forwards all day to find the net. Not getting paid by the hour like most leaf blower operators, they quickly found their mark.
The Wind Breakers, playing a more strategic game, were soon down 3-0, but then they pierced the Fallen Leafs defense like a summer breeze through your grandfather's sandals to make it a 3-1 game. The Leafs' Jordan Howard quickly retaliated with a wobbly wiffle pass to Chasen Gillies who scored through a haze of spray.
Then the rangy Wind Breaker's forward Adam Foley rallied hard-charging Darryl Vaz and feisty Michael Marques to roar back with some brilliant passing and a couple of agonizing oh-so-close shots off the post. But alas, they were enable to crack the Leafs' defense, which was sparked by their cry, "Put up the wall, boys!"
Windbreakers' Josh Reynolds and Sean Bobbato came on strong to try to even the match, but scrawny Leaf Johan Maes held them off fiercely. Just then, Leaf forward " Ten Gallon" Johnston went sliding into the boards after a missed breakaway pass, his 6' 3'' body crumpling to the rink and losing its blower, which spun wildly in circles like an unmanned fire hose.
The players knew this was no donkey baseball.
The final was a 5 - 2 blowout for The Fallen Leafs, the early game winner being a massive scramble that had them singing that ancient Stompin' Tom Connors verse, "They storm the crease like bumble bees." While Wind Breaker Adam Beveridge threw himself across the net, three Leafs were buzzing at full throttle around the ball and it just squeaked through. It was the goal that proved the game was a sport.
As the Leafs basked in hurricane force winds being pushed under their jerseys in celebration, they knew they had the inaugural locked up tight. Victory, they say, was like Heaven on a Saturday night, only without Elvis.
The inaugural game was held in Toronto, Ontario, where go-karting, a Formula One race and an Air Show are popular, but due to misunderstandings about the amount of ongoing play, 'diesel' fuel (not used) and the fact that it was really just a gag, leaf blower hockey was seen by many environmentally conscious folks, whom we respect and admire, as slightly worse than a nerf ball bonfire.
But if your community has (a) sense of humour, (b) access to Belgian Waffles, (c) a Tim Horton's, Leaf Blower Hockey makes a great "fun-raiser". For any organization looking for a fund-raising event (hopefully for ALS) that's a little "different," we can provide you with a free Leaf Blower Hockey "Kit "made up of official rules and tips, logos and promotional posters. Just contact us.
*Games using leaf blowers and balls have been played since 1974 on football fields and green spaces. This is the first game played in a hockey cushion using strict rules, regulation equipment and a referee.