The New York City Gay Hockey Association (NYCGHA) is New York’s first official gay hockey organization. We provide an environment free of harassment and discrimination for members and friends of the LGBT community to play ice hockey and fulfill their athletic aspirations. All members must follow our Code of Conduct.
Currently we organize seven teams in various divisions of Chelsea Piers’ adult recreational hockey program, an annual 14+ team tournament on Memorial Day Weekend, clinics throughout the summertime, holiday scrimmages, and off-ice social events through the year.
The NYCGHA is a member of Gay Hockey International and is a Nonprofit Organization under IRS code 501(c)(3).
History of the NYCGHA (click to expand)
July 1997: Jeff Kagan enters the key words “gay” and “hockey” into Yahoo Search Engine and discovers the Toronto Gay Hockey Association. He contacts the TGHA and enters their upcoming Friendship 1997 Tournament. Upon his return to New York, Jeff is asked by the tournament organizers to write a short essay on the topic “What Gay Hockey Means To Me”.
October 1997: Jeff Kagan’s essay, What Gay Hockey Means to Me, is published on the TGHA website, and a short time after, Jeff receives an e-mail from Jeff Minck,a former teammate at Sky Rink in NY who played on one of Jeff’s teams at Sky Rink. Neither Kagan nor Minck knew the other was gay.
February 1998: Jeff Kagan organizes the Ugly Americans (now called the Tigers) to play in Sky Rink‘s Division 5 Adult Hockey League Spring 1998 Season. Jeff Minck, as well as a number of other “Uglies” will move on to play with the soon to be created NYCGHA.
October 1998: Jeff competes in the 1998 Friendship Tournament with Jeff Minck in Toronto. Kagan is encouraged to form a gay hockey organization in New York City by Toronto Gay Hockey Association President, Paul O’Kane.
July 29, 1999: Jeff Kagan and Jeff Minck co-found the New York City Gay Hockey Association affiliated with Gay Hockey International. Four people show up at the first organizational meeting, but by the fall, twenty-five players have signed on.
October 1999: NYCGHA’s Ugly Americans enter the Sky Rink Developmental League and becomes the first “official” gay team participating in the Sky Rink Adult Hockey Leagues in New York City.
November 1999: NYCGHA’s website is launched by Co-founder and Webmaster Jeff Minck. Michael Moy, who also created the NYCGHA Crest and NY Lions logo, creates the original site design. The NYCGHA website continues to be our greatest resource for finding new members.
June 2000: NYCGHA participates in the Heritage of Pride Parade in New York City, starting an annual tradition for the hockey league, proudly carrying their banner and handing out postcards to thousands of parade spectators each year.
March 2001: NYCGHA expands, adding a competitive team, the NY Lions. The NY Lions join in Sky Rink‘s Adult Hockey League Division 6. They win their first game on May 11, 2001 against the Blue Bombers.
June 2001: NYCGHA hosts the first “Chelsea Challenge” at Sky Rink in New York City. Six recreational-level teams compete with players from New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C., Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
September 2001: NYCGHA expands, adding a third team, the Rockets, to compete against the re-named Tigers. The “Ugly Americans” name is retired.
September 9, 2001: The NY Lions compete in the Sky Rink 4×4 Tournament and take the Division 6 Championship.
April 2002: NYCGHA expands, adding its fourth team, the Hotshots, starting in the Spring ’02 season. Jeff Minck takes the helm as Captain.
May 2002: The New York City Gay Hockey Association is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization, allowing donors to claim charitable contributions as provided by law.
May 2002: NYCGHA raises over $2000 for Gay Men’s Health Crisis in AIDS Walk New York, organized by NY Lions goaltender, Chris Brand. This effort will be repeated the following year.
June 2002: History repeats itself when Chuck Jacobson competes in the Second Annual Chelsea Challenge, and is encouraged by Jeff Kagan to form a gay hockey organization in his city. Less than six months later, the Chicago Gay Hockey Association is born.
September 22, 2002: The NY Lions once again compete in the Sky Rink 4×4 Tournament, however this year they set their goals higher and take the Division 5 Championship.
October 14, 2002: The NY Lions win the gold in the recreational division at Toronto’s Friendship Tournament.
November 9, 2002: The NY Lions win the bronze medal in the recreational division at the Gay Games in Sydney, Australia.
January 8, 2003: NYCGHA is featured on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in a segment called “Puck Buddies,” a “mockumentary” news piece on about a straight hockey player on a gay hockey team. This show earns a 0.8 in the Nielsen ratings, meaning it was viewed by approximately 727,000 people across North America, and then again one week later on their weekly global re-cap broadcast, by an estimated 1.6 million viewers world-wide.
March 3, 2003: The NY Lions are the divisional champions in Sky Rink‘s Fall 2002 Division 6 Adult Hockey League.
March 7, 2003: NYCGHA expands, creating its second competitive team, the Hurricanes.
October 4, 2003: NYCGHA expands, adding its fourth recreational team, the Polar Bears, starting in the Fall ’03 season. NYCGHA is now the largest Gay Hockey Organization in the United States.
October 7, 2003: Jeff Kagan is elected as the Commissioner of the International Gay and Lesbian Ice Hockey Association (IGLIHA).
September 27, 2003: The Rockets win the divisional championship in Sky Rink‘s Spring 2003 Division 7B Hockey League.
November 26, 2003: The New York City Gay Hockey Association releases the HOCKEY BOYS 2004 CALENDAR with hopes to raise awareness of the organization and raise funds to continue to grow.
January 27, 2004: NYCGHA skaters shoot the opening sequence of an episode of NY Graham Norton. During a blizzard, twelve skaters from all of our teams welcomed Graham Norton to New York for their American Tour. Graham mentions us on the air to his BBC audience!
February 11, 2004: The NY Lions win the divisional championship in Sky Rink’s Fall 2003 Division 6 Hockey League.
March 4, 2004: The Tigers capture the divisional championship in Sky Rink’s Fall 2003 Division 8 adult hockey league.
March 20, 2004: NYCGHA expands again, creating the division 7 team, the Wizards, bringing the number of NYCGHA teams to seven.
March 12, 2004: Vinny Cericola, Captain of the NY Lions sets an NYCGHA Record by scoring six goals and one assist in a single game against the Marlins, a team matched in skill with the NY Lions. Steve Ryan also scores seven points in this game, with a hat-trick and four assists.
May 24, 2004: The NY Lions take the Recreation Division Gold Medal in Montreal’s défi international Tournament, beating Washington, D.C. in the finals.
June 18, 2004: The Chelsea Challenge 2004 welcomes 135 skaters from all over the United States and Canada. Players from Sweden and Mozambique also participate in the tournament. Vancouver beats the Orphans 2-1 in the Recreational Finals; the Red Devils beat the Blue Bandits 2-0 in the Developmental Finals
July 8, 2004: The NY Lions are the divisional champions in Sky Rink’s Spring 2004 Division 6 Adult Hockey League.
September 11, 2004: The Polar Bears capture the divisional championship in Sky Rink’s Spring 2004 Division 8 adult hockey league.
April 30, 2005: The Hotshots win the divisional championship in Sky Rink’s Fall 2004 Division 8 adult hockey league.
June 19, 2005: The Chelsea Challenge 2005 features 175 players from North America, France and Sweden competing on 12 teams. The recreational division finals pits the New York Lions against Washington D. Troit with Washington D. Troit taking the gold medal with a 2-1 overtime victory. The Montreal Dragons take the bronze medal in the recreational division. The developmental division’s gold medal goes to the Teal Terror after they defeat the Orange Crush 4-1 in the finals. Broadway musical Avenue Q is a tournament sponsor and creates a custom ad featuring one of the show’s puppets.
June 22, 2005: The NYCGHA is featured on Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour cable news channel NY1 for the channel’s coverage of Pride Week. NY1 does two live segments from Sky Rink in the morning, plus runs two packaged segments about the association throughout the day.
August 16, 2005: The NYCGHA is featured on RNN: Regional Network News, a cable channel serving New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The segment aired three times during the network’s evening sportscasts.
February 22, 2006: The NY Lions, NYCGHA’s competitive team, beat the Hawks 7-4 to win the Sky Rink Division 6 Championship series 2-1. This is the fourth time that Captain Vinny Cericola has led the NY Lions to a regular-season championship title.
April 1, 2006: The Wizards finish the Fall 2005 regular season on top of Sky Rink’s Division 7 standings, the team’s best showing since the team was formed in Spring 2004. Unfortunately, the Wizards lost to BNP Paribas in the semi-finals.
June 18, 2006: The Chelsea Challenge 2006 tournament brings 90 players together from around North America for three days of competition. This year’s drop-in format featured six teams. The playoffs brought a couple upsets as the underdog team, the Avalanche, captained by the NY Lions’ Vinny Cericola, brought down the Ravens, captained by the Wizards’ Andrej Verity, in an overtime stunner during the semifinals. Just 30 minutes later in the finals, Vinny led the Avalanche to gold against the Flames, captained by his NY Lions teammate Eric Moon.
June 20, 2006: NYCGHA Board members Jeff Kagan, Kim Hulber, Jeff Adams, and Mark Hulber, represented the association at NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s barbecue to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. Held at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence, the barbecue included remarks by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn.
June 21, 2006: NYCGHA members Jeff Adams, David Benaym, and Ray Stankes are featured in an article in the Village Voice about New York City athletes who are going to the 1st World OutGames and Gay Games VII.
July 16, 2006: The NY Lions beat Los Guapos 4-3 to win the Division 6 spring season championship. The NY Lions beat Los Guapos in a best of three series. While the Lions lost the first game 7-2, they came back in game two to win 6-3 and clinched the championship with the close third game. In addition, the Lions won the division’s President’s Trophy for the most points in the division during the regular season.
July 29-August 5, 2006: Members of the NYCGHA traveled to Montreal to participate in the 1st World Outgames. Johannes Wallmann captained the Wizards, which included Jeff Adams, Kevin Battistelli, David Benaym, Brian Harrington, Tom Jarvis, Jeff Kagan, Robb Riedel, Ray Stankes, Jason Swanson, Jeff Tuballes and John Viloria. The Wizards were eliminated in the Recreational Division quarterfinals. Keith Champagne lead the Phantoms, which also included Kim Hulber and Ari Warshawsky as well as other players whom Keith recruited from around the world. The Phantoms were eliminated in the third round. Chris Brand, Charlie Mulkeen, and Dave Simpson joined the T Wrecks team, playing in the Open Division, and brought home a bronze medal.
October 14, 2006: The Phantoms won the Division 8 Championship, topping Kenyon in the best of three series. Kenyon won the first game 3-1, but the Phantoms won games two and three with scores of 2-1 and 3-2 respectively.
February 22, 2007: The second-place NY Lions win the silver medal in the Fall 2006 Division 6 championships after being narrowly defeated by the Gulls in three exceedingly close playoff games.
June 17, 2007: Chelsea Challenge 2007 ends with a nail-biter! Third-place Toronto Reloaded upset the first-place NY Lions to take the Recreational Division championship. Toronto won the game 3-1 in an overtime shootout.
July 20, 2007: The second-place NY Lions beat the Blast to capture the Spring 2007 Division 6 championships.
January 2008: NYCGHA Director Jeff Kagan meets with Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and Barry Watkins, Vice President of Public Relations for Madison Square Garden in a sit-down organized by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office to discuss the subject of homophobia at New York Rangers games. The subject is covered by the New York Times, bringing more light to homophobia in sports.
February 15, 2008: The undefeated first-place NY Lions beat Los Guapos to win the Gold in Fall 2007 Division 6 championships.
April 12, 2008: The first place Hotshots beat the third-place Tigers for the Fall 2007 Division 8 championship.
June 22, 2008: The NYCGHA welcomes a special guest to Chelsea Challenge 2008, the annual LGBT and LGBT-friendly international hockey tournament. Former New York Rangers and NHL All-Star goaltender Gilles Villemure participates in the ceremonial puck drop for the Recreational Division championship game between Washington, D.C. and the Montreal Dragons. The Dragons capture the gold medal with a score of 4-1.
July 18, 2008: The first-place NY Lions beat the Bombers to win the Spring 2008 Division 6 championships.
October 4, 2008: The fourth-place White Tigers rally in the playoffs and beat both the first-place Hornets and the second-place RockShots to capture the Spring 2008 Division 8 championship.
Today: The New York City Gay Hockey Association has six teams, with over 150 skaters, and over 600 fans worldwide. A truly diverse organization, the NYCGHA membership is a mixture of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight men and women. (Twenty percent of the membership is female and 30 percent is heterosexual.)