Dagorhir: Wielding Weapons at Oakland University

The clubs at Oakland University are created for competition and friendship, but only Dagorhir combines those with full-contact foam fighting and fantasy worlds.

The History

As a live-action role-playing sport (LARP), Dagorhir focuses on historical fighting techniques, foam weapons, armor and characterization.

According to Dagorhir.com, the sport was founded in 1977 by a group of college friends who shared an interest in The Lord of the Rings. The word of the sport began to spread through Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and Illinois before expanding internationally through the Caribbean and Europe.

According to club president Gage Zurawski, battles can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the size and location of the event.

The largest event is the annual weeklong battle of Ragnarok, which takes place from June 20-28th in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.

Dagorhir at OU

The Dagorhir club was founded about eight years ago, according to Zurawski.

Zurawski, who fights as Bolvar “The Butcher” Quickblade during battle, took over presidency of the club during the summer of 2014 and is in his senior year at OU.

“Being president requires doing any sort of advertising, answering any questions, ensure safety with all waivers being signed and other stuff like that,” Zurawski said.

photo-2 copyZurawski said the club has around 30 members but that only 12 are Oakland students. The remaining participants are made up of graduates and those who have found OU to be their closest practice location.

Most participants belong to the realm of Eryndor, which covers the majority of Michigan and Ohio.

OU students belong to the Imperial Guard, which is a unit that dresses in purple and black and fights together at events such as Ragnarok.

The Community

 The common theme of Dagorhir is acceptance.

“Every member brings something interesting to the table,” said student Brad Weigand also known as “Toy of Troy” on the battlefield.

Zurawski explains Dagorhir, the rules and gamely to passing soccer players

Zurawski explains Dagorhir, the rules and gamely to passing soccer players

Zurawski calls the club a giant family and invites any and all to come out and learn the sport first-hand. Some members join just for the atmosphere and the fantasy.

“I came out not really knowing anybody as soon as I got here,” Zurawski said. “I talked to the president, he was super inviting and super nice about teaching me the ropes.”

As soccer players from OU walked by, they stopped to see what the sport is all about.

“I talked to them, came out, practiced and realized I liked this a lot,” said junior Nick Reed who goes by Drake on the battlefield.

Reed, who found the group on one of his first days on campus, said aside from the fighting it’s the great exercise that he loves most.

“If you want to come out here, you’re pretty much our friend,” Zurawski said. “We’re really accepting, that’s probably my favorite thing about the sport.

Gameplay

During battles, players are subjected to loss of limb and death. The torso, head, arms and legs act as a point system for players.

“Dagorhir is full contact and works off the honor system,” Zurawski said. “You cannot call out that you hit somebody somewhere, it is up to the other person to acknowledge that you hit them with sufficient force.”

Anywhere a player is struck causes damage. Headshots are only permitted with projectiles and cause instant death without a helmet. A strike to the arm or leg causes loss of limb and leaves a player vulnerable during battle.

Losing an arm forces a player to drop whatever may be in their hands. The loss of a leg forces a player to fight from their knees and the only movement allowed must be from rolling or crawling. The loss of two limbs causes death.

The Equipment 

Players have their choice of armor, shields, helmets, weapons and a character. Zurawski said most Eryndor players can be described as knights because they are non-magic based, but other players and opponents may include goblins, demons, and dwarfs.

Weapons are categorized by color based on types and damage capability.

  • Blue weapons include one-handed swords or clubs
  • Green weapons include daggers or knives, which do not count toward limb loss but cause death upon torso strike and can only penetrate armor with two hands
  • Red weapons include two-handed swords and polearms, which penetrate armor with one strike and can break shields with two
  • Yellow weapons include arrows and javelins, which penetrate armor and cause death if a headshot occurs without a helmet
  • White weapons include rocks, which can only cause death if a headshot occurs without a helmet

Weigand said that everybody tends to start out with a sword and shield but will begin experimenting after a few sparring sessions.

“The quarter-staff is large and kind of scary when someone is chasing after you with it,” Reed said.

The club practices every Sunday near Bear Lake from 1PM to 4 or 5PM. Walkups are welcomed and encouraged. Or, you can find OU Dagorhir on Facebook.

Marek Zidlicky: An Extension Coming?

Since joining the Detroit Red Wings just hours before the 3:00PM trade deadline, veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky has been a point-pre-game player.

With seven points in seven games for Detroit (3 G, 4 A), the 38 year old has been the perfect right-handed shot that coach Mike Babcock has been looking for. Five of his points have come on the powerplay, giving him 17 PPP on the year.

In just his first game with his new club, Zidlicky potted the overtime winner against the conference-rival New York Rangers.

Zidlicky is currently in his 11th NHL season, where he has played 769 games, tallying 397 points (85 G, 312 A) to go alongside a drastic -64 career rating.

Zidlicky broke the 40-point mark for the sixth time in his career last season and currently stands at 30 points (7 G, 23 A) through 70 games this year.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 3.00.40 PMIn Detroit, Zidlicky has primarily provided depth, but has chipped in more offense than any other defenseman, since joining the Wings.

Last year, GM Ken Holland acquired center David Legwand form the Nashville Predators and chose not to resign him in the offseason. I think Zidlicky is a different story, he has been much more effective than Legwand was in his short stint.

Zidlicky, who turned 38 in February, is a defenseman that still has a lot left in the tank, especially as a depth player on a team that contends for the Stanley Cup every season. Re-signing Zidlicky would also be helpful in luring over other free agents this summer and could allow Detroit to re-stock for another great season.

Petr Mrazek Returns

On Sunday afternoon the Detroit Red Wings played an atrocious game against the Boston Bruins, losing 5-3 in a one-sided contest.

Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson played the first of back-to-back games as the Edmonton Oilers visit Joe Louis Arena tonight to take on Jimmy Howard.

Howard played the third period as an unspecified injury removed Gustavsson from the game. It’s not clear what Gustavsson’s ailment is, but it may have something to do with being run into by Boston’s Milan Lucic, who took a penalty on the play.

With Gustavsson being labeled as day-to-day, the Wings recalled Grand Rapids Griffins goalie, Petr Mrazek.

Petr the Great

Mrazek has been stellar this season, with 13 wins in just 18 starts while Howard and Gustavsson were both battling injuries to begin 2015.

With a .909 SV% and a 2.55 GGA, his numbers aren’t anything great, but he’s also just 23 years old and has yet to get 30 NHL games under his belt.

With injury-plagued Jonas Gustavsson’s contract up at the end of the season, the Wings will almost certainly part ways with him and move Mrazek into the backup position. A position that will allow him more experience at the NHL level and hopefully, push Howard for the starting job next year.

Red Wings Tattoo

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a tattoo. Not because “they’re cool” or flashy, but because they are a piece of you and who you are.

But, my parents have been against them for as long as they can remember, too. They think a tattoo says, “Yea, I’ve been to prison,” or, “My hearing is next week.”

I’ve slowly brought them around to the idea that it’s going to happen. They still don’t approve, but they don’t need to, I’m 22, not 12. I’ve just wanted them to understand that it’s inevitable and that one day I will have a tattoo that they must get used to.

My dad still looks at me like I’m an idiot for wanting one and refuses to take me seriously. My mom, well, she has turned into the, “You’re not getting it anywhere you can’t cover up,” person. Together, they attempt to guilt me into not getting one by thinking they can scare me about having it for life and being able to look at it everyday with zero regret.

I almost got one when I was 18, but still couldn’t decided on what I wanted for life. I knew it would be something hockey, or maybe Michigan, or both. If it’s going to be hockey, then maybe I can incorporate both the Red Wings and Michigan into it together.

I almost got one on my 20th birthday, my favorite number and an applicable birthday gift to myself. But still hadn’t selected a design I love.

photo-2Last week, I got my first tattoo. A Red Wings tattoo, seven feathers from the Winged Wheel, taken directly out of the infamous logo. I was vacationing in Key West, Florida and my girlfriend and I decided on getting tattoos, my first one and her fourth.

I got it over my heart, on the left side of my chest. It’s perfect, it’s something I can live with for the rest of my life. Something I will live with for the rest of my life. I have no regrets and my artist, Dot, from Southernmost Tattoo, did an incredible job.

I have yet to tell my parents. I haven’t discovered a way to break it to them, even though they know it has been a long time coming. My mom returns home from her own Florida trip on Sunday and with them together I will get it over with.

 

 

Streaking Red Wings

Heading Into the All-Star Break

The Detroit Red Wings have won five in a row and eight of their past 10, losing only to the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks. During those five games, they have tallied 22 goals and only allowed 13. A large part of their winning ways have come from off the back of Captain Henrik Zetterberg (4 G, 4 A over last two games) and Gustav Nyquist (4 G, 6A over last seven games).

Playing alongside gritty forward, Justin Abdelkader, Hank and Gus have provided the points while he has provided the forechecking and puck possession. Abdelkader, 27, has had a career year offensively (11 G, 26 Pts. through 40 GP) registering season highs in goals and points already.

No. 1 defenseman, Niklas Kronwall has a three game, four-assist, streak going and has been the backend support for Detroit this season, much the same since Nicklas Lidstrom retired.

The Magic Man, Pavel Datsyuk, has recorded 35 points in 36 games this season and continues his dominant two-way play while shouldering off the vulnerability at the age of 37. Datsyuk, who missed more than half of last season due to knee, head and shoulder injuries, has been healthy of late a been a force on the ice with rotating line mates of Abdelkader, Stephen Weiss, Darren Helm, Johan Franzen and Zetterberg.

All-Star Weekend

Within an hour of being named the only Red Wing to the 2015 All-Star Game, goaltender Jimmy Howard suffered a slight tear in his left groin after giving the puck away behind his net and attempting a desperation save.

Howard, who was diagnosed to miss 2-4 weeks, expects to practice Monday, though he has already been ruled out of Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

In his absence and with backup Jonas Gustavsson still nursing a separated shoulder suffered in November, AHL goaltender Petr Mrazek has faired well by getting the W four of the last five games for Detroit. After giving up three quick goals to the lowly Buffalo Sabres, Mrazek was pulled and coach Mike Babcock opted to give Thomas McCollum his first piece of NHL action and he recorded the win during Detroit’s 6-4 comeback lead by Zetterberg with a third period hat trick.

Looking to Stay Hot

The Wings will look to continue their surging play when they take on the Panthers at the BB&T Center in Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 27th. The Panthers, led by All-Star picks goaltender Roberto Luongo and rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, have dropped four in a row heading into their break and sit seven points behind Boston for the fourth spot in the division standings.

Ekblad, was taken with the first-overall pick in the 2014 Entry Draft and made the leap to the NHL immediately. The rookie has scored six goals and added 19 assists to give him 25 points on the season and on pace to score the most points by a rookie defenseman second only to the great Bobby Orr.

Luongo, who was traded back to the Panthers after spending the last several seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, appears to have found new life with his old team and has carried the youngest team (by average) in the NHL to a sight many of their members have never seen before: playoff contention.

 

Life Without Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek has filled the starting goalie role near perfect since Jimmy Howard went down with a groin injury. The Czech goalie has impressed Hockeytown with his speed, agility, focus and overall effort in the crease.

At only 22 years old, some could argue that Mrazek is too young for the number one job, but his numbers don’t lie and neither does his play. With 8 wins in 12 games this year, he sports a 2.12 GAA and .923 SV%.

Among goalies with ten or more games played this season, Mrazek’s GAA ranks fifth best and his SV% ranks eighth best in the league. While the sample size is still small, “Petr the Great” has been exactly that.

The organization has a lot of confidence in the young net-minder and should continue to roll with him until he gives them a reason to doubt him. He has the ability and talent to be a stud in the NHL and post W’s for years to come. Labeled as the next Dominic Hasek, he has shown where the comparisons draw and why they exist.