The Official Unofficial 2014 Club Nationals Team Preview BOSTON TEAM HANDBALL CLUB
BOSTON Team Handball Club
By Robin Chan
Boston Team Handball Inc., formerly known as the New England Freeze, is a first division US handball club based in the Boston area. The team was first established as a university sport club by a group of MIT graduate students in 2000. As the team grew and as its membership expanded outside the university, the team spun off to become an independent entity playing in the Northeast Team Handball League.
The coaches are Nader Shaar for the Women’s Team and Martin Wolff for the Men’s Team. The Men’s Team captains are Flaviano Oliveira and Radoslav Delchev and the Women’s Team captains are Binta Jau and Yolanda Rodriguez-Vaqueiro.
The Women’s Team hosted a Northeast League tournament at Framingham State on March 8, while the Men’s Team hosted a Northeast League tournament at Framingham State on March 29.
The highlight from the Men’s season was qualifying for the Elite division at Club Nationals after going 2-1 at the last Northeast League tournament in Maryland in April. We were proud of the way we fought throughout the tournament, even in the loss to West Point Black because we were still in position to tie or win the game. This was in stark contrast to the previous week when we lost two league games. The difference was that we addressed our problems from the first tournament during practice, and it made an immediate impact the following week.
The highlight for the Women’s season was the Laura Walker Tournament at West Point where the ladies came in second place out of 11 teams. While facing adversity, the women beat a younger and faster Alberta team in the last game of the first day by one goal. In the semifinal, Boston beat West Point by a small margin before succumbing to Chicago in the Final. What stood out about this tournament was how synced the ladies were as a team. Their defense was strong and the offense was consistent which proved to be a winning combination. They also were mentally strong enough to win two close matches.
Martin Wolff, Men's Team coach and pivot from Germany. Member of BTH since January 2013
Favorite Boston Team Handball moment:
“We had an enjoyable and memorable dinner with the largest plate of nachos that I have ever seen in a random bar in a small town on our way to Montreal Action de Grâce 2013, a tournament in Montreal. We even got free souvenirs to remind us of the great dinner we had. On Saturday, after a long day of travel from the previous day, we had two great matches winning both. Half of our team were lefties; I have never had so many lefties on one team! On Sunday, one of our best players had problems with the thumb of his left hand which meant that he could only catch and pass the ball with a lot of glue. Another teammate, unfortunately twisted his ankle and was out for the day. And I could only hobble because of problems with my hip adductor muscles. As a result of all the injuries, we lost both matches on Sunday; however, everyone but everyone loved the experience, loved the handball, and I am sure every single one would do it again!”
Binta Jau, left back from Cape Verde. Member of BTH since 2011
Greatest achievement with Boston Team Handball:
“My personal achievement is returning from a serious injury when I was in Cape Verde to play handball again. Playing in a game for the first time after my surgery during my first tournament with BTH at West Point in 2012 was a special moment for me. The way our team fought to end and winning close games in this year’s Laura Walker tournament at West Point was great. Watching our ladies play together like professional players at this year’s New Jersey tournament was special because of the progress we made. Winning 3 games without bench players was really satisfying.”
“My favorite thing about Boston team handball is that we were people who come from different part of the world and WE HAVE BECOME A BIG FAMILY!!!!! “
Nataliya Medyanyk, left wing from Ukraine. Member of BTH since September 2010.
Personal reflections on playing with Boston Team Handball club:
“I definitely have gotten better with BTH. I also have started to really enjoy handball as a sport in Boston because it is something I choose to do rather than being “forced” to play back in Ukraine.
“One of my favorite memories from the team was during the tournament in West Point in March, when we played a strong game [after] a key player got injured. It was a very close game and in the last minutes we pulled it together to win the game for our injured teammate. It was amazing to watch everyone on the team play like one, play together like it is one entity and not seven different people.”
Dina Beric, goalie from Bosnia. Member of BTH for the past seven years but in her first full year.
Reflections on personal performance and enjoyment of the sport:
“I’m excited that I am actually back to handball! I love the sport and not being able to play as much as I can play now was very challenging. Then when I got back, I realized that there was a lot of work to be done. I was totally out of shape physically and my goalie form had deteriorated. There is still a lot I need to improve but I think I improved significantly from where I was when I initially started, and I am really excited about working harder and becoming a good goalie.
“I don't like handball, I LOVE it. It was my first love! Besides all the memories, travelling, and friendships I experienced as a result of playing handball, the sport itself is perfect. It's so dynamic and skillful. I am obviously very biased, but it seems that other sports have certain aspects of handball, but there is always something lacking. [Handball is] physical, fast, athletic, requires strength, speed, jumping, precision...It's skillful and I love it.
“[Club] Nationals is always my favorite moment with our team. A whole weekend filled with handball, with the whole team...it's so much fun!”
Both the Men’s team and the Women’s team practice on Monday’s and Wednesdays from 7:30-9:30 at Melnea Cass Recreation Complex on 120 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Roxbury. We will also play beach handball on Revere Beach during the summer.We’ve been trying to get back to grabbing drinks as a team after practice. We stopped doing it ever since we moved to our new gym. And we hope to lead some clinics in the summer for kids that leave near the gym so that they can learn and hopefully adopt a new sport.
Check out our introductory video, produced by a graduate student at Boston University.
The club is looking for new members of all skill levels. Membership fees are divided into three seasons and are priced based on whether or not you are a working professional or a student. If you’re interested in joining the club, please subscribe to our e-mail at http://www.bostonteamhandball.org/join. You can also like us on Facebook.
See you in Reno!