Making the band
When Tim Callaghan, captain of the Mount Royal men’s hockey team, suggested that he receive guitar lessons from fellow team member Adam Knopp he was not expecting the monster creation that would result.
Callaghan’s first lesson began innocently enough, but as word spread through the Cougars’ dressing room that there were musicians on the team, more teammates joined in the lessons including guitarist (goaltender) Archie Henderson. That then turned into an acoustic guitar session and eventually the meetings became longer and brainstorming for the formation of a band began.
The band they created, Moist Fist, is made up of four members of the Cougars’ team. Callaghan, who gave up the guitar lessons to become the band’s drummer, defencemen Knopp, Henderson and winger Dustin Kimber, as well as friend and bassist Travis McClelland.
According to Henderson, the band has become “like a cult, with its own following.”
The band’s first show took place in Callaghan’s tiny living room. The opening scene featured fellow team member, Ernie Stewart, performing his version of a circus act to get the crowd ready for the main performance. The band rocked out like iconic leaders to famous cover songs while their friends chanted to every beat. Smoke streamed from smoke machines and simulated stage lighting enhanced the fact that the band members were wearing various colours of Lycra pants.
Now the smoke has cleared and the band continues to meet several times a week to jam. Their meetings usually result in hundreds of impractical ideas being tossed out like wildfire — ideas such as the inclusion of zoo animals at their next gig, Jell-O wrestling during the intermission and sometimes fake John Lennon accents are thrown into the mix.
These are players who are dedicated to hockey and who, outside of the two-hour daily practices during the season, extra gym time and study hall also attend classes regularly. Head coach Jean LaForest says for student athletes, balance is key. These guys aren’t only students and athletes, they are band members and LaForest encourages his players to expand their roles, especially ones that provide leadership.
“As a coach you try to have all kinds of structured team building, this is something beyond what I would have expected to happen naturally and I don’t think you can ask for anything better.”
It is more than the loyal fans that frequent the official Moist Fist Facebook page and the constant requests from friends to perform an encore show that keeps this group together. Ultimately, it is the love of the music and the chance to have fun.
“The band is something to do outside of hockey,” said Knopp, “sometimes you just need a break.”
Moist Fist is another way for the boys to interact and get to know each other off the ice and outside of the change room and that has helped create a cohesive hockey team.
Since the added pressure of recent playoffs, regular band practices have resumed and the members of Moist Fist are excited about their next show. Although live animals and Jell-O aren’t part of this specific plan, one can expect songs that anyone can recognize, a light show to rival that of any band and scores of choreographed moves.
Keep an eye out in the halls of Mount Royal for posters advertising the band’s next show, which will be held during The Last Class Bash at the Liberty Lounge on April 19.
The hockey playing band members will be taking the stage as the ACAC silver medallists for men’s hockey this year. The team lost a very close 1-0 in Game five of the finals to the SAIT Trojans on Mar. 22.