Every year when the Warped Tour comes to Indianapolis, fans will stand in the blistering summer heat to see some of their favorite bands play for a mere 30 minutes. This year, several miles away from the festivities, two teams of hockey enthusiasts got together in the chilly Carmel Ice Skadium to play a game of pick-up hockey. Amongst the players are several musicians, members of two of this year’s Warped Tour bands: Matt Carroll from Boston hardcore act Make Do And Mend and Chris “#2” Barker from the punk group Anti-Flag.
Barker and Carroll, along with a few local musicians and several adult hockey leaguers from the Carmel Ice Skadium were brought together by the efforts of Peter Evans, frontman of local punk band Iafrate and co-host of the Up The Pucks podcast. In his podcast, Evans explores the connections between hockey and punk rock on a weekly basis.
“One thing I’ve always noticed [at punks shows] is there’s always a guy in a hockey jersey or shirt, so I started to wonder if there was a connection between these two things” said Evans. “[After we started the podcast, we realized] a lot of guys in punk bands play hockey or are interested in playing hockey.”
Barker also noticed the same connections in interests when he started playing hockey again after performing with Anti-Flag for several years.
“I found that for the most part, a lot of people that like punk rock also play hockey,” said Barker. “I got back into hockey about four years ago, and when I started playing at my local rink, I met lots of kids who were aware I was in the band. And so I wondered if other people who were into the band liked hockey, too.”
While Evans, who works at and regularly plays hockey at the Carmel Ice Skadium, set up interviews with Barker and Carroll, Barker announced online he was looking to set up ice time for pick-up hockey games with fans during Anti-Flag’s stops on the Warped Tour. A few Twitter messages and emails to local players later, along with the late addition of Carroll, the game was ready to go.
“Everyone said 'yes.’ There was not a single 'no’ in the bunch,” said Evans, who invited members of his adult hockey league and members of local bands, including Matt Wilson from It’s All Happening and Damon Lyden from The Involuntarys.
The casual game of ice hockey was fairly evenly matched, ending in a score of 13-16 in favor of Barker and Carroll’s team. According to Evans, Barker was the MVP of the game, having made seven goals, three assists, and ten points total for his team. Carroll played well given that he had not played for some time and borrowed someone else’s equipment for the game.
“This is one of the best games I’ve been a part of,” said Baker. “It’s always the best when everyone comes with a good attitude. Sometimes I go to pick up, and people will be like 'What is this weirdo doing here?’ but this has been great!”
Barker, who has been playing hockey games with his fans for three years, plans to continue doing so this fall when Anti-Flag goes on tour with NOFX, with NOFX guitarist Eric Melvin joining him for the games. Even though that stretch of the tour won’t come through Indianapolis, Evans plans to continue arranging casual pick-up games of hockey on a monthly basis at the Ice Stadium, complete with PBR and punk music playing over the loud speakers. Everyone interested is invited to join.
Evans hopes a result of this will be the eventual formation of his own punk rock hockey team, much like the San Francisco Ruins, a punk hockey team Melvin plays for.
“It was probably the most fun I’ve had playing hockey in the last two years,” said Evans. “And I know that feeling was reciprocated by a lot of the guys I talked to at the game.”