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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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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6 Best Feelings You Get When Playing Volleyball

While you're avoiding getting hit in the face, you just might gain something in return.

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Volleyball can be intimidating to get into, especially if you have had zero experience before. From the extremely bruised forearms to knee burns, it's understandable why people try to avoid this sport as much as possible sometimes. However, after the initial few weeks of struggle, the bruises will disappear, and the knee pains will feel much less terrible. In fact, after experiencing these six feelings, you will get hooked onto the sport.

1. When you get the perfect set

Every team needs a good setter, because without good sets, it is incredibly hard to get good hits. Every once in a while, when you do get that perfect set, you don't have to worry about repositioning closer or further away from the net or where to hit the ball. Instead, all you have to do is swing your arms and hear that satisfying bounce of the ball hitting the floor on the other side of the court.

2. When you dive for a ball and actually save it

Sacrifices to the knees are a must in volleyball, but a lot of times, they're sacrifices in vain. When a dive actually turns into a save, it can be one of the best feelings in the world. Not just because your knees didn't just take another bruise in vain, but because your reflexes have actually improved and you just saved your team a lost point.

3. When you get your first ace

Whether it was your serve that was too fast or the other team that just made a mistake, there's just something extremely satisfying about being able to serve a ball that others cannot return. It may also be due to the fact that you wouldn't have to run back onto the court or spend extra energy on this point, but nevertheless, the pride you feel when you get that ace is priceless.

4. When you find a good team

Some people work better with certain people than others, and when people on your team somehow naturally know how high you liked your sets or covers the areas that you can't at certain moments, as a team you will play much better. This can be attained through training and practice, but when you meet those people who naturally work well with you, you know the game is going to be good.

5. When you get a good rally going

When the ball is going back and forth for five or six times with 3 hits on each side, you have a good rally going on. At the end of it, even if your team loses the point, you'll feel an intense satisfaction from all the adrenaline still coursing through your veins. It's not every day that you can get everyone on the team on their feet, passing, hitting and making great plays!

6. When your teammates become some of your closest friends

This is probably the best reward that you can ever get from playing any sport. Whether it's a group trek to the local donut shop or just walking home together, you could end up meeting some of your closest friends. Volleyball is a team sport, and that bond established through numerous games is something that is irreplaceable. You'll naturally gravitate those who you work well with and find out that honestly, you guys get along pretty well off the court too.

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