Slap Shot: Legal Eagles Hockey Club claims 2017 Labatt Adult Hockey Classic


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Lawyers may “face off” in cases, and judges often hand out “penalties,” but for members of the Legal Eagles Hockey Club in Lansing, the words take on an entirely different meaning.

The adult recreational team was formed in the mid 1970s by lawyers and judges in the Lansing area.

“They teamed up for love of the game and also with an eye toward contributing to charitable causes,” says medical malpractice attorney Tom Hall from Hall Matson, PLC in East Lansing. “This spawned the long running ‘Broomball Game’ between the Eagles and the Michigan State University Spartan Hockey Team.    

“Legendary MSU coach Amo Bessone is often credited with his cooperation in putting on the event, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations including the Sparrow Hospital Pediatric Children’s Fund, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lansing.”

The Legal Eagles have continued to attract a number of high caliber players, many of whom have competed at the collegiate and professional levels.

“The majority of players are lawyers, judges and law students hailing from the state of Michigan and beyond,” Hall says. 

The impressive list of Legal Eagles alumni includes State Bar of Michigan President Lawrence P. Nolan, founder and president of Nolan, Thomsen and Villas, P.C. in Eaton Rapids, a Cooley Law School alumnus and a founding member and team captain from 1976 to the present day; and WMU-Cooley Law School alumnus Jon Cooper, now head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL.

A few of the lawyers, including Hall, Rich Suhrheinrich from the Kitch firm in Lansing, and Okemos attorney Sean Campbell—all SBM members—have played together for over 25 years.

The Legal Eagles reunited in February to take yet another title, winning the 2017 Labatt Adult Hockey Classic, held in Lansing. The annual event draws players on both a national and international scale, from all ages and skill levels. The Legal Eagles went 4-0 to win the tournament.

“The sport of hockey has always played such a lasting and worthwhile role in our lives as lawyers, fathers, and friends,” Hall says. “We’ve all formed a special bond, a type of camaraderie that transcends our personal and professional lives.  We all love to compete—but at the end of the day it’s the friendships we’ve forged that are priceless.”