The Community Post

Grand Lake Skate starting new roller hockey league


Roller hockey is returning to the area after Grand Lake Skate recently changed hands. Cole Stephens is one of the new owners and said that one of the reasons he was interested in purchasing the rink was to bring the sport back to the area.

“Roller hockey is basically like regular hockey except you’re wearing roller skates,” said Stephens.

“We used to have about 150 adults and kids. Right now we’ve only advertised for a week to ten days, and already we’re up to 40 to 50 kids in the upcoming league,” said Stephens. For Stephens, roller hockey has always been a part of his life having played it while growing up.

“My family has always enjoyed playing it. We’ve helped out running the leagues and eventually took over the league in Celina,” said Stephens.

Something unique that Stephens said they’re doing is providing all of the gear for those who come out to play.

“They pay an entry fee and if they can’t afford it, we find them a sponsor,” said Stephens. Being able to provide that gear is coming through donations and sponsorshi­ps, and Stephens said they’ve already had a great response within the community.

“By word of mouth, we’ve already had several businesses reach out and sponsor teams including Armcorp

Constructi­on and Gren Accounting,” said Stephens.

“It’s unique in the fact that it’s a hockey program that you can play with paying zero cost. Hockey is a very expensive sport,” said Stephens. He said that they’ll also be doing an instructio­nal camp for players so that they can come out and try the sport.

“They can come to camp and if they choose not to play, then we give them a refund,” said Stephens.

With the return of the sport to the area, it may also draw in those interested in ice hockey as well, but who currently don’t have local place to play.

“It’s great for smaller communitie­s that can’t have an ice hockey facility. Our community is too small to support that,” explained Stephens. When players start playing roller hockey, Stephens said that the transition to ice hockey isn’t a big one.

“In the Celina and St. Marys area, there are probably 10 to 15 kids that are on active travel ice hockey teams, that stemmed from roller hockey,” said Stephens.

“We’re not looking to compete with other sports. We’re very open to working with people’s schedules,” said Stephens. The prior league in the area was a church league and Stephens said he wants to keep a lot of those values in this new league.

“We like to keep it a family atmosphere. We like to teach kids good values in coaching, and that is something important to us,” said Stephens.

Stephens pointed out that the area has a strong history of hockey and it’s something they want to bring back to the forefront.

“Celina and St. Marys have a history of hockey in the communitie­s, and we’re trying to revitalize that and bring it back,” said Stephens. He said that they’re focusing on the age group of 3 to 6-year-olds because there aren’t a lot of sports for them in the area.

“For a lot of kids, being able to start that young brings kids out in droves. It’s a way for us to introduce them and show them how they should act, and how sports should be treated as they get older,” said Stephens.

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