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Old 01-30-2014, 02:35 PM #1
J. Stein
 
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New England Paintball Hall of Fame

I’ve thought about a New England Paintball Hall of Fame before. I’ve always sort of half expected Boston Paintball to bring back the (catered) NEPL banquet and announce the creation of a Hall of Fame (especially given their gargantuan Chelsea location). It just seems like it would fit their ‘big picture’ approach to the tournament side of our sport. Ant’s a master at seeing potential value in things, and this is one of those situations where I could see him spending money on something that seems useless but somehow ending up better off for it.

So, on a dare from a friend (heretofore to remain unnamed) I decided to put together my first class of inductees into the HoF. And then open the conversation to the zeitgeist.

In no particular order (it’s enough that they are in the inaugural class):

Anthony Vitale. Simply put, New England tournament paintball has been shaped by his vision, thought- and sweat-equity and investment. Nothing that you know today would be without him.

Paul Rabido. Founder, long time owner and captain of the Wild Geese, the second longest continuously running Pro team in the world at the time it disbanded (although perhaps not the second longest continuously running in Pro team at the time they left Pro, I’m not sure of that). The Geese were a pioneer team, and Paul was actually at the meeting that created the NPPL (the first one) out of the Jim Lively series.

“Fast” Eddie Dovner. Eddie started USI, which at one point was one of the top 5 paintball companies in the world. USI was a catalog company (that’s like an online store in the days before there was such a thing as online) with both an indoor and outdoor field. The field, which in later days became Apache, was a beast, running upwards of 200 players a day. Eddie made guns, soft goods, private label paint… But really his impact is in who he employed. At different times, Matty Gallo & Anthony Vitale, John Myrick, Dave Adams, Mike Goodman, Dave Archibal, Jim Masse and I all worked for Eddie. That’s Boston Paintball, XFire, All Star, Horror Show, P&L, Exploding White Mice, Paintball Marshalls and NEH all coming out of the same shop. Not bad.

Richie Loicano. Long time kingpin of the New England paintball scene, captain of the New England Express pro team, head ref of both the NEPL and PNL tournament series. The Express played a pivotal role in the early days of the NEPL and Richie helped create the foundation of a lot of what followed –sometimes through force of will and sometimes just through force. Richie himself was a warrior. He not only had a heart attack on the field at Zap Am Open, he had another at World Cup.

Dave Archibald. Archie was a pioneer in New England in that he was the first player to say, “I want more than the local teams can offer me” and to travel to practice with another team out of state. He spent time with OBR (they were a fairly big deal) and later Ground Zero (they were a big deal) where he won not only pro events but a season’s championship. And that was after a decade plus of podiums with local teams (like the Exploding White Mice - hands down the best team name of all time).

Matt Blonski. This is easy. The most successful player in the history of New England. Matt has more pro wins than anyone else. Hell, I think he may have more pro wins than everyone else combined.
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:57 PM #2
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put up a poll i'm curious.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:24 PM #3
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The thing that sucks is that probably 90+ % of today's players in New England have no idea of the history of paintball in New England. ****, there were names on that list that I've never heard of and I've been playing around here for almost 8 years now.

We need a New England Paintball Historical Society or something. hahaha
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:26 PM #4
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Would be interested in seeing some sort of a Hall of Fame put in place.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:52 AM #5
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Gabe, you're right. There's no sense of history and without that, how can you measure today's stars versus yesterday's? You can't have a Hall of Fame in an environment that doesn't remember, let alone honor, its past.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:11 AM #6
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You're being modest and not electing yourself. As the owner, captain, and founder of The New England Hurricanes. They were the preeminent NE team during the 00's.

I also maintain that more respect should be paid to the owner operaters of the classical large NE field s that have pumped the most amount of new players into our community. For every hundred players that rent, probably five buy their own equipment, and maybe one of them ends up in the tourney scene. The big field owners keep the entire NE community alive.
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Old 02-03-2014, 01:06 PM #7
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I think that, for me, the first class should be about innovators. That's the general theme (except for Matt B, who is just the hands down most successful player from this area).
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:49 PM #8
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Richie Loicano, for sure. Many memories of 5-man PNLs at the Cape where he's on the loudspeaker calling out the 10 second burn.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:48 AM #9
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Interesting subject.... One that definitely deserves some thought and effort to see it become a reality.
I, for one, would love to be able to sit down in one place and learn the history of the sport in New England. Players, places, people behind the scenes, etc. It's a great idea.

Here's where I bite my nails though. As having been in the towing business for 20 years (yes, tow trucks and such), I watched the International Towing Hall of Fame come to be in the birthplace of the towing industry (Chattanooga, TN)... and even with worldwide support, to this day, it struggles.
Point being...Hall of Fames tend to operate on Admission fees, donations, and merchandise sales. I'd hate to speculate on how it would stay funded. God knows we paintballers are broke as it is....
Regardless... I, for one, would be willing to help get the ball rolling.
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