Hockey continues to grow in Southern California, with a record number of youth and adult players participating in ice and roller hockey programs – and now there is Street Hockey. The inaugural season of the Youth Street Hockey League kicked off this summer at The Rinks – Huntington Beach Inline with four teams and over forty participants. Street hockey is played in shoes and with a ball instead of a puck.
“We started the league as another program designed for new hockey players; anyone can play and you don’t need to know how to ice skate,” says Craig Appleby, marketing coordinator
for The Rinks. “By eliminating the skating element, you see kids from other sports come in and pick it up right away. You would assume by just watching the games that they have been playing for years instead of just a few weeks. If you can run, you can play in this league. It makes the league competitive, balanced, and fun while introducing new players to the sport.”
Limited equipment is required to play in the Street Hockey League and loaner equipment is available to all new players. This keeps the costs low and allows players to try the sport before possibly moving on to roller or ice hockey.
“We designed the league for new players, but have seen a lot of current ice and roller hockey players participate as a way to cross train or get more time on the rink. The league is a good mix of new players and players with some experience,” says Ron Alexander, Hockey Manager at The Rinks – Huntington Beach Inline. “We even have a team made up of students from Starview Elementary School that participates in the Anaheim Ducks SCORE program and is getting ready for the SCORE Shootout Tournament held in the spring at Honda Center.”
The Youth Street Hockey League is currently being offered only at The Rinks – Huntington Beach Inline but there are plans to expand to The Rinks locations in Irvine and Corona by next spring. The league is ideal for first time players as well as players looking to improve their conditioning and overall hockey skills. Find out more by visiting hbinline.com/youthstreethockey. M