Roller hockey growing in Cache Valley

There are three rules of USU roller hockey: no fighting, no checking, no whining. Played like hockey, roller hockey hasn’t been fully recognized in Utah, said Nolan Garrity, junior in psychology, and president and founder of the USU Roller Hockey club. Garrity grew up in Oregon, where he said the sport was much more common. He started playing when he was 7 years old and went on to play in high school.

Roller hockey takes place at Mt. Logan middle school on Wed evenings at 6:30 and Sat mornings at 9am. More info can be found at www.SchoolyardPuck.com

“It’s probably more popular than ice hockey where I grew up, at least for a while,” he said. When he came here for school, Garrity said he looked for a roller hockey team to be a part of, but had no luck, which led him to start the club in October 2009. “I wanted people to have the opportunity to play,” he said. “I wanted to add organization to it.” Garrity mentioned that the team hasn’t been able to compete against other schools yet, because of the rarity of the sport in Utah. “I haven’t found any other schools that have a roller hockey club,” he said. “I don’t think the demand is there.” Though the sport might be underdeveloped in Utah, it is nationally recognized. Major League Roller Hockey (MLRH) consists of several teams from across the country, including Chicago Roller Snakes, Pennsylvania Blackout and Virginia Wings, to compete in competitions and championships. According to the MLRH Web site, it is the only “full-contact” roller hockey league operating in North America. It also has “sanctioned events and team affiliations” in the UK and Czech Republic. Founded in 1998, the MLRH has seen rises and falls in attention to the sport, but plan to introduce a six-week Slamm Hockey series in mid April. Although the sport is similar to ice hockey, Garrity said it is a little more friendly.

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