Farmington HillsJuly 3, 2012
Hockey sweethearts wed on the ice
By David Wallace
C & G Staff Writer
FARMINGTON HILLS — On the hottest day of the year (so far), Laura Vogel and Michael Ellis had the coolest possible wedding ceremony for their friends and family.
Avid hockey players, Vogel and Ellis met on the rink at Suburban Ice Farmington Hills, on Freeway Park Drive, near 10 Mile and Grand River. They are regular participants in The Breakfast Club, a 6 a.m. skills class that puts players through drills.
“It’s like a high school hockey practice, but for old people. It’s where you learn to get a little bit better, instead of typical beer league hockey, (where) you just go to games and you never practice,” said Vogel.
Their relationship at first didn’t look promising. Ellis asked Vogel out for coffee, but she turned him down.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go out for coffee with him; it’s just that it was not a good day for me to go out for coffee, but he thought it meant, ‘No!’” said Vogel.
She later sent a text to him asking what hockey class he was going to sign up for next, and that opened the door for their relationship after Ellis had given up.
That brought everyone to Suburban Ice June 28 as the mercury outside flirted with 100 degrees.
“It was his crazy idea,” Vogel said. “It’s a great day to get married on the ice though, isn’t it?” she laughed.
“I wanted to do something special,” said Ellis. This is the second marriage for both, and they wanted something nontraditional.
“The nice thing is, nobody else has done this that we know of, and quite frankly, it’ll be something my wife will remember for the rest of her life,” said Ellis.
So will their instructor, Lyle Phair.
“We were at Breakfast Club one morning, and (Ellis) announced to the coaches and our classmates that we were getting married, and then he announces to the coach, ‘And we want to get married here on the ice.’ And the coach looks at me, he says, ‘Is that OK with you?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, sure!’” Vogel said.
“Did not surprise me at all,” said Phair. “It’s kind of a unique situation in how they met, and then where they went with it and where they’re going with it.”
Both Vogel and Ellis have played hockey around the metro area for years, and both are defensemen.
“It’s a very big part of both of their lives, obviously, so it’s kind of a cool way to celebrate, no pun intended,” Phair said.
There were many cute hockey touches to the ceremony, which they drew up with Suburban Ice assistant manager Cal McGowan on coach boards — clipboards with hockey rinks printed on them for designing plays.
As people arrived, some choosing seats on or near the team benches, others lacing up their skates and zipping around the ice, the public address system played the “Hockey Night in Canada” theme and other hockey-game staples, such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
Phair officiated the ceremony, so he wore a referee’s black and white stripes with orange bands around the sleeves. Some of the guests wore jerseys featuring famous players, such as Henrik Zetterberg, Kris Draper, Slava Kozlov and Jaromir Jagr. Friend Mike Cohen said he brought his Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky jersey out of retirement for the ceremony.
“I’ve got some of my teammates and friends (on the ice), and we’re going to have people making a tunnel with their hockey sticks, and it’ll be fun,” Vogel said.
Their new life together started with Phair calling a holding penalty.
“We’re going to be kissing and hugging, and he’s going to throw us in the box, and at that point, after two minutes of listening to a Frank Sinatra song, we’re going to come out of the box, skate around and we’re going to get married,” said Ellis.
And they did just that, skating to “(Love is) The Tender Trap.”
“I’m in love with my wife,” said Ellis.
After each said a few words about the other to conclude the ceremony and they skated through the hockey-stick tunnel of love, the rink’s Zamboni drove onto the ice towing two chairs with a “just married” sign taped to the back. The Zamboni gave them a tour around the ice, and it was time for open skating and the reception.
They plan to honeymoon in the Irish Hills.
“If we can hit drop-in (hockey) at Adrian, maybe we’ll do that,” Vogel said.
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