With the 15th anniversary of the First Championship in 1997 arriving in 2012, The RPH.com ranked the Top 15 Rotten People of All Time. Players, management and fans were asked to list their Top 15 Rotten People of All Time. After the voting concluded one player stood on top -- defenseman Don Somera #47. RPH.com caught up with Don for a quick interview right after he found out about this honor.
You had been playing for a year or two before you were picked up by the RP. What were your impressions of the team when you first joined?
In my mind, I joined my first real team when I was picked up by the Scabs/RP.

Some History: I began playing outdoors with Wheeler, Gil, Randy The Bullet, and of course Gordo", San Jose's Pied Piper of hockey in the parking lot that is now beneath the Adobe buildings. Gordon would pull up in his plumbing van with his full sized hockey goals made from plumbing materials (of course), open a door and a bunch of gear would fall out. Then the neighborhood kids would swarm in and the games would begin. When they kicked us off of that lot, I played a season with Brad Fahs and the Rogers Brothers at the (now closed) Cal Skate in Milpitas. When we moved indoors to Skate World, I got picked up first by the Voodoo before joining the Scabs/RP.

What were some of the differences between the RP and your old teams?
The clear difference between the Scabs/RP and these other teams was that we had leadership and people were humble enough to play their roles on the team. People with big egos did not stay on the team for long.
You were always an intense player. Your teammates loved it, but how do you feel about some of your opponents saying that you are a dirty player?
As has become clear in my later years, I was working out some deep psychological crap from my childhood on the rink. I was and am definitely an intense player. I'd be in the zone just going for it and then someone would hit me either because that is just what happens OR because I had done something that they took personally and then I would kind of snap and do whatever it took to deal with the situation (either taunting/trying to get them to start something or just getting real physical) I also know that playing against some of the young ringers would piss me off and I would just kind of start being a dick when they were beating us. I definitely own my role in the bad shit that happened all along the way and know how to deal with all that now.
How would you describe your style of play?
Definitely a scrapper. Not afraid to dive in front of a slap shot or take one for the team. I've always been a lot better skater than puck handler or shooter, though I've improved a lot on the latter of late. Back in the day, I loved being assigned to follow around their ringer/scorer and just frustrate them the whole game.
It took the RP a couple of years to win a championship (95-97). What where those years like?
I knew that we did not have as much raw skill as some of the other teams so I was not that surprised. RP has always won as a team and it took us a few years to learn our roles, get to know each other's tendencies and develop that chemistry.
After trying so hard for 2 years to win a Championship, what was it like scoring the Overtime Championship Winning Goal in 97?
It was pretty crazy because even now when I look back at it, I can't believe we won. I mean, I know it was overtime, I guess. I know we were tied but after I took the shot and it went in, I don't think I understood that we had won. And then when I figured that out I just started taking off my Jersey (long before he US Women's Soccer team) and skating towards our bench.
After it was all said and done, you scored two Championship Winning goals, RP's first Championship in 97 and one in 00. What do you remember about those goals, if anything?
'97 - so back then I did not have much of a slap shot (Just starting to have one now after 17 years) partly because I build my own sticks from recycled parts and back then they were way too stiff for me to bend them and get that catapult effect. I believe I was playing with an Easton Cyclone (thinner rounded shaft but still too stiff). I just wound up, and shot. I don't think the puck got any air at all but somehow it went in. It was a Spurrier... Hard and Low.

'00 - In this Championship, I believe we were attacking the goal at the very far end of the RI Convention Center Complex on Tully. I don't remember exactly what happened but I was jumping over the boards to join the rush JUST before I scored the goal. I got the pass from Ben Laughter.

Over the years you played on the Blue line with several partners, including 3 other RP hall of famers, Mueller, Wheeler and Spurrier. Who was your favorite Defensive Line Mate?
I was comfortable playing with any of the RP defenders because we got to know each other pretty well but if I have to pick one, I'd say I was very comfortable playing next to Gordo. He is a solid skater and good with the puck and he like to talk about what we are doing or not doing during and after each play.
Are there any other special moments that stick in your mind about your 10+ years with the Rotten People?
I just really appreciate how the "management" chose players who were easy going, supportive, not egotistical, worked hard and were not into all the macho crap. It is still always great to get together to have good food, beer and remember the Golden Age of RP Hockey.
On a team with so many good players though the years, what are your thoughts on being named the Number 1 All time Rotten Person by management and the fans?
I don't know who decides these things or how these things are decided but it a huge honor. Obviously, it take a team to do anything in hockey and I definitely can't do what our big scorers can do or what our goalie can do but I have tried to contribute everywhere I can and have definitely taken one for the team. I am honored.


1. Don Somera  •  #47 Def '95-present
Alternate team captain. Nine championships. All time leader in penalty minutes. Rotten People Hall of Fame and All Time Team member.
2. Eric Rich  •  #60 Goalie '98-present
Six championships. All time wins leader. All time shut out leader. Most recent member of the Rotten People Hall of Fame and All Time Team member.
3. Gordon Mueller  •  #22 Def '95-present
Alternate team captain. All time minutes leader. Ten championships. Rotten People Hall of Fame member and All Time Team member.
4. Jay Filichia  •  #3 Fwd '95-present
Team captain. Ten championships. Five team scoring titles. Rotten People Hall of Fame member and All Time Team member.
5. Scott Spurrier  •  #11 Fwd/Def '95-present
Eight championships. One team scoring title. Rotten People Hall of Fame member and All Time Team member.
6. Tony Wheeler  •  #13 Def '95-'05
Eight championships. First member of the Rotten People Hall of Fame and All Time Team member.
7. Steve Barker  •  #32 Goalie/Fwd '97-'01
Only member of team to win championships in net and playing forward. Four championships. Five team scoring titles. All Time Team member.

go to top for Somera interview
8. Joey Ross  •  #2 Fwd '02-present
Five championships. Four team scoring titles. All Time Team member.
9. Justin Sarnoski  •  #4 Fwd/Def '02-'05
Four championships. Three team scoring titles. All Time Team member.
10. Sean Kotsubo  •  #9 Fwd '01-'03
Four championships. Two overtime championship winning goals. One team scoring title. All Time Team member.
11. Oliver Nocidal  •  #2 Def '98-'05
Six championships. All Time Team member.
12. Joe Marrujo  •  #31 Fwd '98-'05
Six championships. Second in all time points. All Time Team member.
13. Ben Laughter  •  #27 Fwd '98, '00-'03
Bought out in "Buyout of 98." Signed on again in 2000. Three championships from 2000 to 2003. Impact Player.
13. Troy Nash  •  #72 Fwd '95-'98, '01
Fan favorite. Team's first power forward. Two championships between 1995 and 1998. Impact Player.
15. Steve Loftus  •  #8 Fwd '98-'02
Big physical forward. Picked up after "Buyout of 98." One championship. Scored a key goal in 2000 playoff run. Impact Player.

Steve Barker #32 Jay Filichia #3 Sean Kotsubo #9 Joe Marrujo #31 Gordon Mueller #22 Oliver Nocidal #25 Eric Rich #60 Joey Ross #2 Justin Sarnoski #4 Don Somera #47 Scott Spurrier #11 Tony Wheeler #13