Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

And Speaking of Hockey...

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2007 at 2:54 PM

In any other town, starting up a professional inline hockey team would have taken at least two years. St Louis, however, turns out to be an inline hockey hub. "It's random," says David Garland, a Washington University grad who has helped to organize the league. "Every state has it, but here there's a real history of success."

There's a strong high school program and a prestigious college team at Lindenwood University that has won the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association Division One title four years in a row. In fact, in those four years the Lindenwood squad has only lost one game, to Meramec Community College. "A huge upset," says Garland. (Loyal RFT readers already know Lindenwood's reputation as an obscure-sport juggernaut.)

St. Louis once was home to a professional inline hockey team -- the Vipers, who played back in the 1990s. But they were trying to fill 20,000-seat arenas, and even inline-hockey hubs have their limits. The current league, the Gateway Professional Inline Hockey Association, has five teams and more modest ambitions. Games are played at privately owned rinks that seat about 500; tickets are $5 and kids under eight get in free. (For a schedule, visit the league's MySpace page.

Garland says games have been drawing crowds of 400 or so. "It's hard to explain to other people how cool it is," adds Garland, who's been hooked since he was thirteen. "Ice hockey players love it because it takes skilled players and showcases them, as opposed to in ice hockey, where there are these big goons who just go around and hit people."

Inline hockey is less violent than ice hockey (no full checking is permitted) and halftime shows have included paper airplane contests.

"At the last game, there were 50 kids wanting to get things autographed," reports Garland, who plays for the Southside Snipers. "It was a little ego thing."

-Molly Langmuir


Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation