BURBANK -- For more than 50 years, athletes from Burbank and
Burroughs have been cross-town rivals.
Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, or like oil and vinegar, the
Indians and Bulldogs aren’t supposed to get along, and they usually
don’t mix very well when they get together.
However, one team is proving the two schools can coexist in
harmonious tranquillity, and it is finding success competing for a
single cause -- pride of the city of Burbank.
For the first time this season, Burbank and Burroughs have
combined to form a competitive ice hockey team. The squad is a member
of the eight-team Ice Station Hockey League in Valencia.
Getting the players to come together has been a slow process for
Co-coaches Steven Placial and Patrick Moise. Last season, Burbank and
Burroughs were going at one another as rivals in the L.A. Kings High
School Hockey League.
“It’s really tough to take players from different areas, who
played for different teams last season, to come together and make a
winning team,” Moise said. “It’s even tougher when you consider we
had only four practices before our first game.
“But despite all of that, I think we are starting to gel as a team
Following a long process of tryouts and a lot of organizing,
Placial and Moise have been able to put together a team with talent.
However, before the team could hit the ice, there was one little
detail that had to be worked out. And that’s when the players’
high-school allegiances came into play.
“When it came time to choose our uniforms, it created a bit of a
problem,” Placial said. “Naturally, the Burbank kids wanted blue
jerseys, and the kids from Burroughs wanted red jerseys. So we had to
make a compromise. For our home games, we wear blue. For our away
games, we wear red. This way, everyone is happy.”
With that problem solved, the next question was what would be the
“We didn’t want our name to be the IndianDogs, or the BullIndians,
or something like that,” Moise said. “So we just decided that we
would be called Burbank, not for the school, but for the city.”
The successful merger has been a lucrative one, as Burbank is
undefeated in its fist two ISHL games.
The team began the season March 24 with a 4-2 win against the
Granada Hills Highlanders. Monday, Burbank made it two straight with
a 5-1 win against the Notre Dame Knights.
Prior to the season, Placial expected Burbank to pack a powerful
punch on offense. However, he has been pleasantly surprised with the
fine play of the defense.
“I don’t know what has gotten into the defense, and I’m the coach
of the defense,” he said. “They are just playing out of their heads
and the goalies have been great.”
The defense is led by Bryce Sterling, a scrappy player with a
powerful shot. Chris Kukulka and Andrew Jones have also been
In goal, Burbank has two accomplished players in Ian Irwin and Ben
On offense, Jack Torossian is tied for second in the league with
six points (four goals, two assists) and Drew Mersola is tied for
third with four points (three goals, one assist). Other offensive
threats are Steve Placial, Tony Torossian and Brian Thompson.
Along with its success, Burbank is enjoying playing in the ISHL, a
full-checking league where games can often get very physical.
However, for players who might want to fight it out like their NHL
counterparts, there are strict rules against brawls.
“If you fight for the first time, you’re suspended for two games,”
Placial said. “And if you fight for a second time, you’re kicked out
for the rest of the season. This league takes fighting very
With a fine start and a team finally coming together, the only
fighting Burbank is expecting is to battle for a league championship.