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Community News

May 19, 2010

By Lisa Kestenbaum Daily Journal Staff Writer One night a week criminal defense attorney Mark Daniel Melnick joins his friends for an informal, friendly game of ice hockey, a tradition he has enjoyed for 36 years. While there are many ways to describe ice hockey — physical, aggressive and fast-paced come to mind — informal and friendly are less common. But those qualities are what make Melnick’s league, dubbed “The Melnick Division” so unique. “We sort of make our own rules,” he explained. The rules, which read more like guidelines, state players can jump between teams if one side is short the number of people to play; official uniforms are not required, just similar color jerseys; players of all skill levels are welcome, so long as the league is balanced; and players that need help paying their dues can utilize the league’s “scholarship” program. According to Melnick, known as “Dan” to friends and colleagues, the laid-back nature of the league is what keeps it fun. Despite the occasional scuffle the league averages less than one penalty per game and players on the opposing team are usually friends off the ice. The loyalty of its members also makes the league special. Six or seven players from the original league, which started in 1974 just one block from the Van Nuys courthouse, are still active today. Among them is Robert Sheahen, a criminal defense attorney and Charles A. Adamek, formerly of Lord, Bissell & Brook. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino is a league alumnus. Sheahen’s son Kyle, who recently graduated from UCLA School of Law, also plays. The league also benefits members in a professional sense. Two years ago Sheahen got involved in a large civil suit to help out his teammate Todd Thibodo, a sole practitioner formerly with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. The outcome was successful — the personal injury case settled for more than $5 million — but Sheahen would not have done it without the hockey connection. The camaraderie is a huge draw for Melnick, whose other athletic interests include scuba diving and sailing. In 2002 he sold his practice to sail his boat around Mexico and Central America, but eventually made his way back to Los Angeles, the law and of course, the league. Because for Melnick, it all comes down to sharing the love of the game with others. “[Dan] has the biggest heart in the world,” commented Sheahen. “He’ll find a guy one step away from a homeless shelter and will invite him to play hockey for free to help him get back on his feet.” lisa_kestenbaum@dailyjournal.com

By Lisa Kestenbaum Daily Journal Staff Writer

One night a week criminal defense attorney Mark Daniel Melnick joins his friends for an informal, friendly game of ice hockey, a tradition he has enjoyed for 36 years.
While there are many ways to describe ice hockey ? physical, aggressive and fast-paced come to mind ? informal and friendly are less common. But those qualities are what make Melnick?s league, dubbed ?The Melnick Division? so unique. ?We sort of make our own rul...

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