"I knew that without that, I'd go crazy," said Mormino, who has acted in TV commercials and appeared on the daytime drama "General Hospital."
His teammate, Ciro Marino, is equally devoted. Marino, 29, of Hollywood, became a Los Angeles Kings fan in the early 1970s, but was too busy playing football at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks to pursue hockey.
Finally, in 1986, he took skating lessons at Pickwick. The class was filled with 8-year-olds, providing him extra incentive.
"You don't want to look like a big dummy in front of these kids who can skate circles around you," said Marino, who owns an Italian restaurant in Hollywood. "I wish I had started when I was their age."
Six months later, he was skating well enough to play hockey.
Now he's the team's self-appointed "enforcer," shoving his 6-foot, 215-pound frame around to intimidate opponents.
He's also skillful at friendly persuasion. Several weeks ago, he convinced his wife, who was eight months pregnant, to attend his game at the Iceoplex on her birthday.
"I took her out for dinner last night," Marino explained that night.
Marino's sister also came to the game, as did his mother, Alba, a short, fiery supporter who shouted insults in Italian at the referees when they failed to call penalties against the other team.
"I don't get football or baseball," said Alba Marino, who immigrated to the United States in 1955. "I don't get this, either, but at least it's alive."
Games in the lower divisions usually attract about a dozen fans. As recent converts to the sport, the less talented players need all the encouragement they can get. One fan claims to have seen a "wave" in the stands one night.
Most players, however, don't boast of cheering sections. Because of the ungodly hour, the bleachers are often empty.
"You play for the love of the game anyway," said Tony Greasley, 34, who grew up in England and played professional hockey in Europe during much of the 1980s. "It doesn't matter who is watching. Besides, my wife saw me play in Europe in front of 3,000 people when I was a pro. She's going to come see me now? Here?"
Greasley, an independent electrical contractor in Valencia, plays for the Flames, perhaps the best team in the over-30 division.
After the game, Greasley is often the first to shower and rush to the rink's restaurant for a cold one and a chance to review the game. Each contest is videotaped and played afterward on a big screen. It's another chance to bond.
"That's where we make fun of each other," Greasley said. "We'll stay for hours watching the game again."
Sleep and the demands of the next workday become secondary.
"It's so eerie when you get out that late," Marino said. "You can forget about going to sleep right away. When you get home, it takes a long time to unwind. I have to watch television for a few hours to calm down."
The game, after all, is only part of the scene. Once the buzzer sounds, it's time to catch up on the latest week's events, to escape, even if briefly, from the demands of encroaching middle age. Many professions are represented, from doctors and lawyers to aircraft technicians and schoolteachers. Many socialize away from the rink, too, throwing parties and going to dinner and movies together.
Moriarty and his teammates, who play at Pickwick every Monday night, make Dalt's restaurant in Burbank, about a mile away, their weekly hangout. They drink beer and take stock. Many work in the entertainment industry, including film actor Adam Baldwin ("My Bodyguard"), television's Dave Coulier ("Full House") and TV producer David Kelley ("Picket Fences"), who recently married actress Michelle Pfeiffer.
"I would feel bad if I didn't come here afterward," said Mark Cendrowski, an associate director for NBC-TV's "Nurses." "This is what it's about, and you don't get this in other sports. That's because as a kid in baseball or football, you'd come to the game dressed. In hockey, you got dressed in the locker room, and that helped people get to know each other, and it's still true at our age.
"We're not going to the Stanley Cup," said Cendrowski, who played junior hockey as a teen-ager in Michigan. "Once you lose the tenacity of playing for your college, the camaraderie is all you latch on to."
The schmoozing doesn't take place just among teammates. The league is one large fraternity. Many players have known their opponents for years; some even grew up together back East. During the game, however, the intensity of the action dictates rough play, even the occasional fight. All is forgotten by the time the first pitcher of beer arrives.
At one recent game, Nahan, 41, was knocked to the ice by a much taller and younger opponent, who tried to hurl Nahan's stick over the boards. Nahan stumbled to the bench in agony, complaining of a "burning back," and glaring at the culprit who had made certain he'd wake up sore the next morning.