by Joseph F. Locallo Jr.
The Farace Brothers — Sam, Joe and Anthony Jr. — learned to skate before they learned to walk, or so the saying goes. And though they have all pursued professional careers, their interest in the bare-knuckle sport of hockey has never waned, leading them to a remarkable opportunity this fall.
Sam is a supply chain architect for B/E Aerospace, Joe is a national sales manager for Imation Corp., and Anthony Jr. is an attorney for the law firm of Amari and Locallo.
But the trio gladly traded suits and laptops for sticks and pads to take part in this year’s Slapshot Cup Hockey Tournament, which offers amateur players the opportunity to compete on the same ice where the iconic movie “Slap Shot” was filmed.
Step aside Paul Newman, the brothers’ first coach was their dad, Anthony Farace Sr. And if you think the Hanson brothers of ‘Slap Shot’ fame were terrors on ice, just imagine what a well-coached Farace can do!
“The desire to play hockey never leaves you,” says Anthony Jr. “You keep your equipment around just in the chance that someone says ‘let’s skate’.”
Earlier in his hockey career, “Anthony blew out his knee and his father sent him to me to talk about going to law school” says cousin Leonard Amari. “But, in my mind I was hoping to represent him in the NHL. He was a stride away from wearing a Ranger’s sweater.”
Anthony Jr. was up north skating at the Minnesota Hockey School, a Minnesota North Stars operation, when the first of three knee surgeries took place. Rehabbed and ready, he went on tryouts with the Rochester Mustangs, then on to the Madison Capitals, and was invited to try out for the University of Wisconsin Madison Badgers. The ink on the contract was beginning to fade but a law license was in sight.
Years later, as a partner in the law firm of Amari & Locallo, Anthony Jr. had to add a ligament from a cadaver to keep his knee in place. But did that keep him off the ice? Not hardly. Sam and Joey were still playing, and as Anthony Jr. says, you never lose the desire.
Two younger hockey stalwarts, Dan Lynch and Joe Locallo III, associates in the law firm, constantly traded barbs with him about their hockey prowess. That was it! Anthony Jr. suited up to play in a men’s league and it didn’t take long before he traded punches and found himself with a shoulder injury absolutely ending his hockey career. Not! “I love the locker room banter. I miss the smell hockey gloves leave on my hands. I just love hockey!” And once again it was time to skate!
Brother Sam had skated for St. Bonaventure University in New York and various teams up and down the ECHL in the minor leagues. After a stint with the Hershey Bears in AHL (the New York Rangers minor league team at the time), Sam was also showing promise and cousin Leonard was again getting the contract ready sign.
Joey wore the helmet, sweater and skates for Illinois State University. He now manages a men’s league team, the Cougar Hunters, at Johnny’s Ice House in Chicago. All three brothers played for the Highlanders of Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison between 1980 and 1985. When the opportunity came around to back on the ice with their dad, they laced up and went to Pennsylvania.
“This was the second most enjoyable weekend of my life,” said Anthony Sr. “The first was my wedding.”
The Brothers Farace had the great support of hockey parents. Anthony Sr. and Patsy (McSween) Farace traveled all over the U.S. and Canada, to too many small towns and ice rinks to remember, with too many stories still untold in the lives of these great hockey brothers.
Picture dad pounding on the glass yelling, “skate!” or, mom in the stands yelling, “You can’t do that to my son!” If you can’t imagine it, then you don’t know what it means to be from a hockey family!