MLaw Students, Alums Find Camaraderie on the (Hockey) Bench
By Jenny Whalen
June 12, 2013
There is no shortage of rules in the game of hockey or in the practice of law, but just one in the locker room of Michigan Law's ice hockey team.
"We don't talk law," said 2L Alejandro Montenegro. "Law school is an incredible experience and there are not going to be too many times in life when you have this environment. But I think it's important to find something in addition to academics, so twice a week I go to the Ann Arbor Ice Cube to play a little hockey and let off a little steam."
Joining the team as a 1L, Montenegro saw his circle of friends at the Law School grow exponentially within a few weeks of hitting the ice.
"The bond hockey players have is a strange and funny thing," Montenegro said. "We have the common experience of studying here and playing hockey, and having a few alums on the team speaks to the Michigan experience and its tremendous network of alumni."
The experience was much the same for captain and 3L Max Aidenbaum, who joined the team mid-way through his 1L year.
"Someone mentioned it to me and I contacted the guys in charge. I played the very next day," Aidenbaum said. "It was an incredible thing to become part of a new community so quickly. Some of my very best friends on campus are guys that I met through the hockey team and I would be shocked if we didn't continue as friends after Law School."
Although the Ambulance Chasers—cliché intended—play in a competitive adult league, 2L Josh LaVigne said the team has "the right attitude" toward the game.
"There are good teams and bad teams, but it's all in fun," he said. "You want to play to win, but there are all skill levels out there. We're competitive, but one of the best things is the team aspect."
In addition to building community, membership on the team works wonders as both a time management and relaxation device, players say.
"With the games at night, it gives me time to get my work done and clear my head at the end of the night," LaVigne said. "During the game, you're not thinking about the next exam or paper due, just the puck on the ice."
Aidenbaum added that with the game schedule set far in advance, members can be smart about their time. "And there is never any judgment or pressure in the locker room to have perfect attendance," he said. "We are all in the same boat."
Always looking for new players, the Chasers start their season in late September and skate through mid-March, playing Monday and Thursday games at the Ice Cube, and finishing the season with a single-elimination playoff that determines the league champion.
Apart from league play, the Chasers also compete each year in the Skate for Justice Tournament, an annual charity fundraiser for the State Bar of Michigan's Access to Justice fund. Playing teams from Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Detroit Mercy, the Chasers took home the Justice Cup in 2012 and are hoping to host this year's tournament on home ice at Yost Arena.
Read more feature stories.