March 2009

Playing for ‘peanuts’ – and people skills

Barney Maccabe says he started playing hockey in 1967 while growing up in Tucson, Ariz., “the hockey hotbed of the southwest.”

The new director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory went on to play at the University of Arizona but put his game on hold while working on his master’s and doctorate degrees at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 1982, he began teaching computer science at the University of New Mexico and resumed hockey on the weekends.

“Hockey has given me an appreciation for the importance of the different skills people bring to the game – or to a project team. You need to have a few good skaters, a few good passers and a couple who can grind it out in the corners. My skill is passing – and that is a good one to have for managing collaborations among creative, talented people with different strengths.”

Maccabe has coached hockey, played on an over-30 team and, “in the advent of time,” joined an over-40 traveling team, the Albuquerque Chili Peppers, which played in a few tournaments.

“The best are the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournaments. Every year, (Peanuts comic strip creator) Charles Shultz invited teams from around the world to his ice in Santa Rosa (Calif.). It’s a solid week of hockey. Teams are grouped by age and ability. The youngsters start at 40-plus. In 1998, they added a 75-and-over division! Sadly, Charles Schultz passed away in 2000 and the tournament was not held in 2001, but it resumed in 2002.”