Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Danielle Hubler, from Cintas First Aid and Safety, moderated a Reviver AED training DVD followed by a question and answer period on Monday evening April 25, 2011

Held at Regal Lanes, our host Paul Straetmans, provided a large screen TV, a great room and PIZZA. Always gracious, we thank Paul for his generosity and kindness.

The MHA would also like to thank the following attendees:

Larry Reuben, P.K. Sims II, Bill Sidebottom Jr., Keith Thode, Larry Jacobs, Jerry Rynkowski, Ed Green, Alex Cooper, Frank Erbecker, John Schandevel.

Please note that the subject AED will be ON-SITE, court-side, at all MHA sponsored tournaments both 3 Wall and 4 Wall and upon request (subject to Board approval) for non-sanctioned MHA events.

THANK YOU everyone for your support.

Dale Chimenti
on behalf of the Board of Directors.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Howe/Early & Shevin/Palazzo top LA Fitness Doubles Leagues

In an era where piped in noisemakers and made for tv sporting events dominate, it was refreshing to attend this seasons LA fitness doubles finals last Wednesday. Imagine this - Twenty five people attentively watching - alternating between oohing and aahing the plays and players on the court, and warmly cheering on all of the contestants. It was real, it was exciting - the power of real life drama -scenes like this illustrate the powerful and unique way handball connects people. What a great sport we choose to play. Truely handball is the "perfect game".

A Division:
Champion: John Early\Rick Howe
Runner-up: Mike Piccolo\Glenn Paraskevin

Early\Howe won the A final in a fierce match that featured great left court play by both Rick Howe and Mike Piccolo and the punishing right hand of John Early.

B Division:
Champion: Stewart Shevin\ John Palazzo
Runner-up: Bob Hilsinger\Chuck Ferro

The team of Shevin and Palazzo are the new LA Fitness B Champions. They foiled last seasons division champions Hilsinger\Ferro quest to repeat by defeating them 2 games to 0. This match featured two up and comers in the league Stewart Shevin and Chuck Ferro who both played extremely well in both the semifinals and finals.

Thank you to all of the league handball players for competing this season. To all our injured comrades -heal quickly - and let me know where you are hurting. Hope to see you all on the courts soon.

End of season party -- Many thanks to Tim Newhouse for making our end of year party such a rousing success. 30 people attended this years dinner, many great shots were recalled, past players were remembered; all had a great time.

Outdoor season is now upon us - handball Belle Isle - Monday, Wednesday, Friday 4pm - 7:30pm - please join us.

Dan Costello

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

MHA State Singles 4-Wall Handball Tournament

Held at the Detroit Athletic Club, April 1,2 & 3, 2011

Recap by Bob Plater


What a FANTASTIC venue -- The DAC! And what hospitality! A big thank you to Rick Leonard who spearheaded the direction of this tournament. Rick called numerous players to urge them to enter, and he spent hours and hours organizing, arranging, refereeing, providing food and drink, and seeing that everyone was treated well. Also, thanks to Keith Thode who was on site throughout, assigning courts, refereeing, taking pictures and posting scores. Thanks to Rob Barr (DAC athletic director), and to all the DAC members and staff. This was a Great event!

The Open

Fourteen players competed for the State's most-cherished title -- open singles champion. Rick Leonard's phone calls paid off -- 14 being a large number of entries compared to recent years. The competition was excellent. Defending champion Pete Hanover, of Lansing, was seeking his 5th open title and 9th consecutive year in the finals (a record). Pete Dembeck, of Detroit, had the championship on his mind, also. Other contenders were out to win too -- Leonard, Paul, Clemens, Sickmiller, Sidebottom, Louis-Ferdinand, Bieri, Oliver. But, after two days of 'kills", diving "gets", and relentless efforts, it came down to Hanover vs. Dembeck for the title.

This was one of the best matches ever! The crowd was electrified with both player's diving "gets", deep-court "kills", backwall mastery, wall-hugging serves, amazing stamina, and pure excellence! Both were winners. But Hanover eeked-out the title in an 11-8 tie-breaker. The fans were thankful they had been there to witness handball at such an exceptional level!.

Preliminary: Pete Hanover bye. Matt Paul d. Rick Leonard 20,16. Marty Clemens d. Craig Sickmiller 3,(2),8. Rob Louis-Ferdinand d. Billy Sidebottom 8,8.Pete Dembeck d. Dale Cole 7,6. Ted Grammatico def.Andrew Rockwell. Alex Beiri d. Paul Licari 8,(2),8.Pat Oliver bye..
Quarter Finals: Hanover d. Paul 11,10. Clemens d. Louis-Ferdinand 8,(7),8. Dembeck d. Grammatico 5,3. Bieri d. Oliver 16,20
Semi Finals: Hanover d. Clemens 16,9. Dembeck d. Bieri 13,13def.
Finals: Hanover d. Dembeck (19),9,8.

Golden Masters (50+)

Ten entries competed for the Golden Masters State Singles Title. Bob Straetmans was outstanding while defeating three very formidable opponents -- Tom Fabbri, Rick Howe and Joe Ivy -- to claim the championship. Straetmans makes it look easy with his soft serves, great backwall, smart choice of shots and excellent execution.

Preliminary: Tom Fabbri d. Bob Balch 9,0; Tom Clemens d. Alan Viets 13,16.
Quarter Finals:. Straetmans d.Fabbri 10,8; Howe d. Duane Costanzo 7,9; Ivy d. Chris Monsour 19,(18),1; Tom Clemens d. Jim LaFleur 12,18.
Semi Finals:. Straetmans d, Howe 20,4; Ivy d. Clemens 8,14.
Finals:. Straetmans d. Ivy 9,14.


Eight players competed. Rick Graham, who seems to get better and better with age, defeated his long-time friend and doubles partner, Jim Lowe, to win the championship once again.

Quarter Finals:. Graham d. Bill Sidebottom 5,1; Ed Green d. Glenn Paraskevin 19,10; P.K. Sims II d. Carl Valentino 15,17; Lowe d. George Sponseller.
Semi Finals: Graham d. Green 10,16; Lowe d. Sims 11,(14),10.
Finals: Graham d. Lowe 15,16.


Only three participated. Randy Eschenroder, an unknown from Ann Arbor, recently opted for two new knees which, according to those who know him, enabled him to improve his handball game immensely. Randy's speed, heavy hitting and lack of unforced errors helped him defeat both of his opponents to win the championship.

Champion: Randy Eschenroder; 2nd Bob Plater; 3rd Chuck Thornton.

B Singles

Paul Straetmans, brother of Golden Masters champion Bob Straetmans, has improved his game significantly over the past few years, and showed-off his talent to an eleven-man field in the B division. Paul lost only one game in his journey to the championship.

Preliminary: Mark Stutrud d. Ken Mayer 6,1; Dan Costello d. Mike Froelich 9,11;
Dale Chimenti d. Tony Desantis.
Quarter Finals:. Straetmans d. Stutrud (19),2,6; Rob Barr d. Joe Green 13,10; Costello d. Andrew Rockwell 9,11;Chimenti d. Conner Peterson.
Semi Finals:. Straetmans d. Barr 14,11; Costello d. Chimenti
Finals:. Straetmans d. Costello 18,17.

C Singles

14 players competed in a very competitive event. Two University of Michigan students from New York, George Xue and Brian Kim, made it to the finals, Xue prevailing. Paul Straetmans, Jr., became the 3rd Straetmans participant in these events.

Preliminary: Straetmans d. Alissa Crawford 13,4; Robert Graham d. Mary Harris 13,0; Xue d. Madalyn Hale 3,1; Roger Drummond d. Halle Doyle; Ian Graham d. Danielle Palmer 5,7; Kim d. Laruen Hale 6,7.
Quarter Finals:. Matthew Pingel d. Straetmans 5,0; Xue d. Graham 14,12; Graham d. Drummond; Kim d. Ryan Musolf 3,5.
Semi Finals:. Xue d. Pingel 19,17; Kim d. Graham 10,7.
Finals:. Xue d. Kim 17,3.


LA Fitness Finals & End of Season Banquet

Springtime brings out the best in Detroit. Warm spring weather, flowers popping up, Detroit Tiger and Red Wing fever; a feeling of goodwill and hope permeates all of us. We have survived the long winter and are now ready to enjoy the fruits of living in beautiful Michigan.

What better way to kick off spring than attending our semi-annual LA Fitness handball doubles league championship and end of season banquet at Marinelli's in Troy, Wednesday April 20th at the LA Fitness Troy location. Championship play starts 4pm with dinner immediately after. It will be a lot of fun - plan on coming.

A Division:

Who finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd is still to be decided with the top three teams all within 3pts of each other. Currently the team of Piccolo/Paraskevin and Blake/Lukevich are tied for first with 22ts. Close behind and always dangerous with 19pts is the Early/Howard duo. Rounding out the A division bracket will be Seguin/Vanacek currently with 16pts. With games to be played and reported the final playoff pairings are still to be determined.

B Division:

When it comes down to crunch time - playoff time - big time players show up. And this season is no different. Hilsinger, Palazzo, Braun, Kozak - all stars in their own right -are all leading their respective squads back to the playoffs. Hilsinger/Ferro (26 pts), season long league leaders currently leads the surging squad of Harvey Braun and Mike Youngerman(25pts) by one point. In third place with 19pts lurk last seasons runner-up Palazzo/Shevin. Rounding out the final spot for the B bracket is the cinderella story of the year. Bob Kozak and Carl Harlow with 9pts are looking to become this years handball version of the "
Butler" story.

Semifinal matches will be posted on Friday - Semi-final matches to be played on Monday the 18th @ 4pm - Finals Wednesday the 20th @ 4pm at LA Fitness Troy.

Teams - Please report final scores by Thursday April 14th.

All are welcome to come celebrate with us at Marinellis in Troy (5:30-6:00pm) after the finals - it is a lot of fun; handball players love to tell stories, come and share yours.


Dan Costello

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 State Singles at the DAC - Report by Keith Thode

This was the finest MHA tournament in many ways in many years - maybe ever. It was certainly the best organized. To that, we owe Rick Leonard. This was our first chance to observe Rick Leonard's organizational skills applied to one of our handball tournaments.

I have organized and run state tournaments, assisted with many others, and attended many national tournaments, working closely and rooming with the Executive Director of the USHA. I have somewhat of an understanding of what it takes to run a tournament from start to finish. While the national and world tournaments require more work due to the larger scale, a state tournament director, dedicated to the task, still has an obligation to the tournament overall as well as to each individual player. Anyone who has ever run a tournament just had a chuckle at the last sentence, for it is impossible to please everyone. The best one can hope is to please the majority and to not anger anyone more than necessary.

After the entries were collected, Rick and I began our phone conversations regarding the draw and the seeding. My initial concern, before we started, as it would be with anyone who hasn't run one of our tournaments before, was whether he was up to the task. While we all know what a fine player and person Rick is, I had no idea the lengths he, or anyone else for that matter, could go to achieve the goal of a great tournament.

Rick took my ideas, combined them with his ideas, added some of his own, and then proceeded to treat the task as if it were his life's work. I know more than anyone else what he endured, because of our many phone conservations throughout the entire process. Rick went above and beyond what I consider prudent to maintain sanity. I suspect at some point, he may have actually have been bleeding from the eyes.

In most tournaments, there is one or more players with requests for special considerations, such as time constraints, travel distance, desire to not play certain opponents in the first round, etc. Most times, a request or two can be accommodated. In this case, there were many requests - much more than usual. Rick took every one of those requests into consideration and accommodated all of them. I'm not sure that any other tournament director, including myself, would, or could, figure all those requests into the final product.

I'm glad that I was there to assist Rick, and to witness, close-up, what he achieved and how he achieved it. This tournament would not have been the absolute pleasure that it was without him.

Then there was Rob Barr, who not only entered the tournament and played well, but had other concurrent pressing duties as the DAC Athletic Director. Even when he wasn't present at the courts, he was immediately available in the building for whatever we might need. Indeed, when I arrived at 8:30am Sunday morning, one half hour before the matches were scheduled, there was Rob dust mopping the floors of the courts. I'm sure that this is not in his job description.

The beautiful boards used for the draw sheets mounted on the wall, were the work of Rob Barr. Quite frankly, I find this sort of treatment rather embarrassing. We're not used to this kind of treatment. After all, we're just handball players.

Then there was the food and drink. Again, embarrassing. I think that Rick and Rob were just trying to make us, and all of our previous tournaments look bad. It may not be universally known, but it was also no secret that Rick also helped to fund this tournament financially - in a big, and again embarrassing, way.

I'm probably missing some other issues and people deserving of accolades. This was a tournament that will be remembered as though it was something more than just a state tournament.

Thank you Rick, Robb and the DAC for spoiling us rotten.

Keith Thode

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 State 4-wall Champions

Held this past weekend, April 1st thru 3rd, the venerable DAC hosted the 2011 State of Michigan 4 Wall State Singles.

The Directors of the Michigan Handball Association on behalf of the membership, would like to thank Rick Leonard [R], his company Long-Term Care Resources, Robb Barr [L], Athletic Director of the Detroit Athletic Club, and Keith Thode for their dedication and hard-work in staging and running the best Tournament in Michigan in recent history.

We are grateful for the organizational skills and financial support of both Rick and Rob on behalf of the DAC, without whose commitment, we would not have had a tournament so spectacularly successful, and we are so grateful to Keith Thode for his ability to "seed the draft" and spend his entire weekend running the tournament alongside Rick and Robb.

63 players entered and competed in divisions ranging from Open through Diamond Masters, with ages ranging from 18 through the 70's. A fantastic turn-out.

As a final note, we congratulate the Michigan State University players, both Women and Men for your great performances and look forward to seeing you again.

Thank you to all! Next up......the Summer 3 Wall tournaments.....Stay tuned!

Pete Hanover [R] wins vs Pete Dembeck [L] (19), 9, 8

Paul Straetmans [R] wins vs Dan Costello [L] 11,17

George Xue wins vs Brian Kim 17,3

Golden Masters
Bobby Straetmans [R] wins vs Joe Ivy [L] 9,14

Super Masters
Rick Graham [R] wins over Jim Lowe [L]15, 16

Diamond Masters
Randy Eschenroder [R] wins round-robin over

Plater [2nd] [R] [ and Thorton [3rd] [L]

Photos Courtesy of Keith Thode