While roller hockey may not be at the epicenter of American sports, but where it’s alive, it’s healthy and going strong. County resident Howard Moss is out to put Chester on the roller hockey map. Moss played roller hockey most of his life and participated in hockey programs that Chester Skateland had in the early 90s. Skateland has been a fixture in the Chester community for 32 years, and once had a proud roller hockey program with over 180 participants. Moss would like to see the program grow again- and has started an instructional league of sorts, for children under the age of 10.
“So far the program has given kids a way to start to learn hockey,” said Moss, whose five year old son is a participant in the program. “It’s a good way to get comfortable skating, using the stick and practicing hockey drills.”
The program, in its third session now has 11 members. The need for the program arose after some time with little to no roller hockey presence at Skateland. Most of this decline can be attributed to the opening of Richmond Ice Zone in Midlothian. The program fell through at Skateland because the ice zone offered a more specialized facility to those who wanted to continue playing hockey and eventually move to the ice.
“It’d be nice if it turned out to be like a farm system,” said Moss of the program of beginners. “A lot of parents don’t want to start their kids off with kids who are far more experienced, it’s good to get a solid start.”
Moss also added that before Skateland’s programs in the early 90s, there wasn’t much in the way of organized hockey.
“I started playing with tennis shoes on a tennis court with some guys in Richmond,” said Moss. “Then I played at Skateland and now I play in an adult league.”
Skateland manager Janice Farrow acknowledges that past hockey programs were successful, and can be a great way to bring in customers.
“For a skating rink, roller hockey is another spoke in the wheel of the business,” she explained. “You have your private parties and birthday parties, but a good hockey program would be great to have again.”
Farrow’s grandson, Michael Schrader has played hockey his whole life and now plays ice hockey for VCU’s club team. Farrow has been involved with youth roller hockey on and off for 17 years and applauds the program for its ability to teach kids to skate and to learn the game.
“You’re going to learn to skate,” Farrow laughed. “It’s hard not to learn with that stick in your hand.”
The program costs $45 and includes six one-hour sessions, held on Sunday at 4 p.m. There are now eleven participants and parents are invited to lace up their skates and join their children on the rink. The sessions don’t require a great deal of equipment, and because everyone is a beginner, it minimizes the risk of injury that could occur with a less experienced player, playing with kids who have been playing a while. The hope is that the sessions continue.
“Everyone who has come and joined can’t wait to come back,” said Moss. “From the beginning, no one has stopped showing up, we’re growing.”
In addition to giving area youth something new to try, do and maybe get into, it also helps support our local businesses and helps to drive growth within the Chester area- it’s a winning combination for everyone.
For any questions on the program, please contact Moss at 804-239-3364 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a recording of Skateland’s upcoming events, dial 804-748-0379.