The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

New hockey league forms in Albany

General Corvallis City Section Graphic

After one of the only indoor roller rinks offering inline hockey in the Portland area closed its doors, the Albany YMCA and the NorthWest Roller Hockey Alliance jumped on the opportunity to expand the hockey community further south in the Willamette Valley. 

In January, the NWRHA will drop its first puck as the newest roller hockey association in the Corvallis-Albany area.

According to Michael McCombs, director of the NWRHA, the new inline hockey program hopes to bring an additional sense of community to the area through sport.

All are welcome to pick up sticks and join the alliance. The philosophy of the program is: “If they can walk, they can skate,” encouraging people of all ages to join. 

The program is equipped with a highly-skilled and qualified coaching staff who will “set the children up for success, not failure, through the sport, through the development, through the respect of themselves, their fellow hockey players, their coaches (and) their family,” McCombs said.

Individualized practice plans, determined by skill level, are included in each practice. Players will have the opportunity to move up in groups as their skills develop, allowing them to grow as players and individuals consistently, according to McCombs.

The NWRHA is a feeder program whose primary goals are not to feed players into competitive leagues. Kids are encouraged to be kids, McCombs said, and if they choose to move into more intensive programs the NWRHA will help with the transition, but there will be no pressure from the NWRHA for the players to commit to more than they want to. 

The NWRHA youth leagues separate players into age groups spanning three years, while adults will play together. McCombs said that this is due to safety reasons.

McCombs wants to make it clear that hockey is for everyone, not just “for the guys or for the boys … If you want to skate we are the program for that.”

While some may worry about the level of contact within hockey, the structure of the NWRHA “really encourages the kids to not play hack hockey” (a colloquial term for dirty hockey playing) and helps the “players (and coaches) hold themselves accountable … eliminating the blatant disrespect for your opponent or yourself,” according to McCombs. 

Roller and ice hockey are “the same sport, different game,” McCombs said, for those new to hockey. Roller hockey is faster, has more back and forth and involves constant motion, deepening players’ awareness of the game and quick decision-making abilities. 

As players grow on the rink, they also grow as individuals, McCombs said. The NWRHA focuses on development, respect, implementation, values and excellence, or “D.R.I.V.E.,” building solid hockey players and people. 

Moreover, off-rink community building is essential to the NWRHA, according to McCombs. They are sponsored by Bakers Dozen, a local donut shop that will provide custom hockey-themed donuts making the Sunday mornings even more special. 

The NWRHA will host other community-building events and activities throughout the year, establishing support systems for players and families, and hopes their contribution to the hockey community will encourage the growth of other inline and ice hockey programs in the Willamette Valley and Pacific Northwest. McCombs expressed interest in “creating some hockey club teams” at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. 

The official puck drop and other welcome activities begin on Jan. 7, and registration opened on Dec. 6. You can register online at the NorthWest Roller Hockey Alliance website or in person at North West Skateland. 

Was this article helpful?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Daily Barometer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *