Why You Should Be Playing Roller Hockey

Why You Should Be Playing Roller Hockey

Let's Get Rolling
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Roller hockey -- yes it's hockey just on wheels. There are many skeptics of the sport, people who say "there's no checking" or "It's not real hockey." Well, I have news for you skeptics, you're wrong. I have played the sport since I was 12 years old and over the years I have gained so many memories, friends and skills. No, it is not played on ice and it doesn't cost $1000 a season. There are many reasons I chose to play the sport and I would love to persuade athletes to play this great sport.

1.The Cost

To play roller hockey, it doesn't cost too much. The sport is cheaper than ice hockey and is a good way to save money. Roller hockey is mostly a summer sport so most ice hockey players play during the off season. The sport is much cheaper mostly because there is no ice that has to be kept up. Roller hockey is played on a sport court, therefore there is no need for a Zamboni. Equipment can be another story as it is usually just as expensive as ice hockey. All of the equipment is the same as ice besides the skates and shoulder pads. The biggest company that produces roller hockey skates is Mission and they can range anywhere from $150-$600. Other companies include CCM, Bauer, Verbero and Reebok. Basically any ice hockey company can be associated with roller as well.

2. Endless Amounts of Talent

There are so many National Hockey League players that have laced up, rolled out and touched the sport court. Some players include Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks, Joel Ward of the San Jose Sharks, Pat Maroon of the Edmonton Oilers, Tom McCollum of the Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Paul Stastny of the St.Louis Blues and many more. There are also many D1 NCAA ice hockey players that have touched the sport court. Two players that are changing the game of roller hockey are Tyler Spezia and Brandon Hawkins of Bowling Green.

Now to the players who have helped evolve roller hockey over the years, some of the players who have stayed dedicated to the sport for many years. Travis Noe is considered to be the best roller hockey player in the world as he has helped Team USA reach great heights and has also led his tournament teams, the Alkali RPD and the Pama Cyclones, to several championships. Some other players include Matt White, PJ Dimartino, Junior Cadiz, Shane Fox, goaltender Micheal Maczynski and countless others. These players have all played at the highest levels of roller hockey and have proceeded to make a name for themselves on and off the court.

3. So Many Different Leagues and Tournaments

Whether you're an intermediate to beginner player or a more advanced pro player, you can bet there is a league for you. Pro leagues/tournaments are usually there for the players who have excelled in the sport over the years and are looking for top of the line competition, usually resulting in a cash prize. The leagues include the NRHL or the National Roller Hockey League. This league was started in Michigan and just had their inaugural season. The NRHL posses many great pro level and former NHL players.

Another league is MLRH or Major League Roller Hockey that is played both in the US and in Europe. Onto some of the pro tournaments, the biggest name in roller hockey is NARCH or the North American Roller Hockey Championships. These tournaments possess the biggest names in the sport and actually also appeal to younger players as well. State Wars is another big name in the game. There is a tournament called the Pama Pro Invitational where only the biggest and best players and teams get invited to play for a cash prize of $20,000. There is also collegiate roller hockey that has spread all over the US and is now on almost every college campus. Some schools that participate in the NCRHA (National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association) include Boston, Neumann, Michigan State, Arizona State, and UNLV.

Now if you combine all of these leagues and tournaments, you get the IIHF Inline Hockey Championships. This can be considered the highest level in roller hockey, as teams such as Team USA, Germany, France, Australia, Canada and other teams from all over the world come out to play for gold. I know that is a lot to digest, but there are also smaller name house leagues that are meant for beginner to advanced level players. The leagues I grew up playing in have given me so many great friends, memories and skills. Western New York Roller Hockey, run by roller hockey's own and an amazing person and friend to me and my family, Eric Haak. The Buffalo Warriors are also another great league that I have had and still have the pleasure to play in. The people are what makes these leagues prosper. I would just like to thank the great people that have touched my life throughout the years you all know who you are. I cannot recommend playing in a house league enough because the people you meet will become inseparable.

4. Silence the Critics

So much of the backlash on roller hockey is just pure ignorance. Most people who say roller hockey isn't real hockey have never played the sport. Yes, ice hockey is as physical as it gets but roller hockey has its moments. There is usually no checking unless in a higher level tournament like TORHS or league like MLRH. There typically isn't fighting either but in certain tournaments and in Major League Roller Hockey there is full contact fighting. Some people say fighting just ruins the game of roller hockey because the game is almost all finesse. Whereas ice hockey is almost all physical play and some finesse. There is less risk for an injury in roller hockey compared to ice hockey, where you have to worry about getting your head taken off if its down. There will always be physical play because it doesn't matter what sport it is -- tempers will flare.

Another common misconception of roller hockey is that it ruins your ice hockey skills. What happens is actually the exact opposite roller hockey will make you a better ice hockey player. Pat Maroon of the Edmonton Oilers is a huge ambassador for the sport and has played roller hockey at the highest level. Pat has repeatedly said that roller has helped his hands tremendously. So before you diss the sport, play it and give it some time before forming an opinion.

5. Be Apart Of The Comeback

Believe it or not, roller hockey once aired on ESPN back in the 1990s when roller hockey was new and in. All of this publicity for the sport sparked a pro league, the RHI, or Roller Hockey International. The league was started in 1992 and ultimately went under in 2001. The league had great success and had teams all over the United States and Canada, including the Buffalo Stampede, Anaheim Bullfrogs, St.Louis Vipers, Pittsburgh Phantoms and 27 other teams. Ever since the league went under there hasn't been much in the way of a pro roller hockey league. There have been many attempts such as Major League Roller Hockey and the National Roller Hockey League. There just simply isn't enough interest in this day and age. You can be apart of the comeback because roller hockey is on it's way back, and in some places such as California, the sport is bigger than it has ever been. We need to be proactive, it's time for publicity. This is one sport that should be in the Olympics and should have more fans then it has. So whether you're a house player or pro player, you can make a difference, so let's get rolling.

Cover Image Credit: www.Facebook.com

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

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Cover Image Credit: Favim

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An Open Letter To The Coach Who Inspired Me Forever

Anyone who's found a love for a sport (or sports) while playing for rec teams, club teams or teams for a local school, can agree.. that somewhere along the way, there was a coach that changed everything.

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When I was five years old, my parents signed me up for my first organized sport. It happened to be the Fall of the year I entered kindergarten and the sport happened to be soccer. Now, at this age calling it, an "organized" sport is quite a reach. We met once a week, put on our colored pennies and ran around in a big field while a volunteer coach really thought they'd have the chance to corral us. That year, I continued through the seasons and got my first glimpse at a number of other sports. Cheering, basketball, and t-ball were all on my to-do list, and soon I was hooked.

Every week I would look forward to games on the weekend and a practice or two along the week. By the third or fourth grade, I believed I had narrowed down the sports I really wanted to play: soccer, basketball, and baseball. I played all of these until the fifth grade when it was first suggested that I switch over to softball.

I absolutely hated the idea of this but, that spring it happened. I was the first one to be "drafted" onto a team, that come to find out, was the team that always finished last. Even knowing this, I continued to play and learn every position and somehow leading my team to its first championship in years.

This.

This was the moment I learned to love the sport I least expected to, and first met the coach who would change my view on the game. Although the story leading up to this point may not have been the same as yours, we all know the moment we realized, this coach was going to change us.

For me, this coach over my middle and high school careers became one of the most important people in my world now revolving around this sport. He fought for my spot on the middle school team when the coach claimed I was "too young" and wanted to give older girls a spot. He pulled me to the varsity lineup as a Freshman and trusted me to catch every-game behind the plate of the senior pitcher who clearly had the speed and talent to pitch collegiately. He continued to mentor me, step by step as my role on the team transitioned from freshman catcher, to second baseman, to senior captain pitcher.

This coach changed everything for me. He taught me respect and accountability and I'd get out what I put into not only the sport, but all my other endeavors. He taught me integrity, and perseverance. But he also taught me how to have fun while I played. How to step onto the field and play my hardest, but know no-matter the score as long as I did my best it was a good game.

I had never known what it was like to have someone other than my parents be so invested in my success before. Of course, they're going to be there for every game, every carpool to practice and every early Sunday morning tournament. But often times, the coach who leaves it all on the field goes unnoticed. The coach who will sit after a game and cry with you after you played your very last game... the coach that truly made you believe in yourself.

So here's to him. Here's to the blood, sweet and tears left behind. Here's to "the good, the bad and the ugly" as he'd say, and learning that any bruise can be fixed by rubbing a little dirt on it. Thank you for your devotion. Thank you for shaping me in to the player I am today, and continuing to do so for others. Thank you for inspiring me everyday to be the best I could be.

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