Sunday, January 08, 2006
Feasby Hangs ‘em Up
Following a long and distinguished minor pro hockey career, Scott Feasby has finally hung up the blades for the last time. He has traded in his sticks for pitch forks, and his focus lies more with corn silage, than with stick lies and blade edges.
The number of stops he made along the way is most impressive. After toiling with the Belleville Bulls for three years, and the Ottawa 67’s for a year, he began his pro career with the Roanoke-Valley Rebels of the East Coast Hockey League in 1990. He also played in the Colonial League, the International League, the American League, and finished in the United Hockey League.
Stops along the way include: Brantford Smoke, Raleigh Icecaps, Phoenix Roadrunners, Kalamazoo Wings, Detroit Vipers, Los Angeles Ice Dogs, Rochester Americans, Grand Rapids Griffins, and for most of his career, the Muskegon Fury.
The United Hockey League Media Guide lists “Career Statistics” on page 118. Second on the list of games played is Scott Feasby, at 699 games. Change that to 700.
Last weekend, at the Walker Arena in Muskegon, Feasby warmed up for his 700th game. He had signed a one game contract, following his retirement last spring. He handled the puck three times in his first shift, a ceremonial shift, and headed to the bench. When the whistle blew at the 1:09 mark of the period, his long and distinguished career came to an end.
One final skate around the centre ice circle, before a standing crowd of 4, 322, then off to pack his equipment for the Sunday morning tilts with Pearl and the boys in Oshawa and Port Perry.
“The Farmer” has achieved legendary status in Muskegon. Perhaps fifty fans sported “Feasby” jerseys at the game.
Michelle Patulski’s sweater was a “game-worn, Colonial Cup sweater”, she told me. “I got it from a silent auction. We are truly sad to see Scott leave.”
Cara Yonker’s sweater had the captain’s “C” on it. @We really enjoyed Scott. He is so personable. He gets along with everyone. As a booster club member, I even did a yearly scrap book for him one year.”
Alan Langlois didn’t mince words. “Scott Feasby has been the best defenceman in the UHL since he’s been here. Langlois converted his mother-in-law and his wife to hockey. His wife’s office walls are covered with photographs she has taken at Fury games.
Another fan wearing the Feasby sweater was Bob Harrington. While busy selling 50/50 tickets, he told me that Scott was his favourite player “Because of his style of play, and because of the way he handles himself off the ice---always a real gentleman.”
Vicki Rondeau won her Feasby sweater. She felt that Feasby was a “crafty” player. She once heard him say: “You always have to know where the referee is looking to be successful on the ice.”
Feasby has spent thousands of hours on the buses. Currently, there are fourteen teams in the league in six states. No air miles---all trips on the pavement. Physiotherapy, rehabilitation, massage therapy, medication, surgery, long spells away from family: part of the grind---but still, worthwhile.
Following the game against the Port Huron Beacons, whose line up included Matt Goody, the tenacious former Trenton Sting star, Feasby signed autographs for an hour.
The following night, prior to the game against the Missouri River Otters, the lights were dimmed, and team President Tony Lisman took centre stage.
“Since 1960, more than one thousand professional hockey players have worn the Muskegon sweater---Lumberjacks, Zephyrs, Mohawks, and the Fury. Only seven of those numbers have been retired.”
Joe Kastelic wore number 6 for the Mohawks, now retired, and he helped Feasby unfurl the baner which simply reads: “Feasby, 20, Fury, 1993-2004”. The first Fury player ever to have his number retired.
Several family members including his brother Mike, a former Wellington Duke, were in attendance. Father Stan had chores to do in Port Perry.
Mayor Steve Wormington gave Feasby the key to the city, without specifics about what doors or locks it would open.
Teammates skated by, shook his hand, and Feasby headed off the ice to a standing ovation, and the sounds of “Simply the best”.
A fitting tribute to “The Farmer” from Port Perry.