Ft. Myers Florida Regional Qualifier At The Skatium

Being at this rink really brings back some good memories.   We’ve been coming to this facility for at least 12-13 years.   Even though it’s a long way from home, I really enjoy coming here.

Many people had to listen to me vent on the phone about the state of the sport here.   In my opinion it could be so much better with just a little more effort and synergy among all the people involved.  Staying positive though, it’s not all bad news.  Some house leagues are up in numbers, like Naples.  Some programs are growing too, like the Wellington Prowlers.  

It’s good to see Vinny Cafone involved as much as he is here now organizing things and coaching for the Alkali Gamblers.   It’s also good to see Joe Lyons surrounded by good people with his organization like John Edwards and Wes Goldberg with Pro Elite Hockey.   They are really focused in the youngest ages and brand new kids, which is exactly where some focus is needed.  They put two teams together so the 8s and 10s could at least feel part of this event.  Everyone left with a medal and a smile and it was a big success.

One thing that I have to get off my chest is how crazy it is to see the success of house leagues and beginners on the ice, and zero leagues on the inline side.  Skatium has 2 rinks under one roof, one ice and one roller.  Unfortunately the focus has been 100% on the ice side.   I get that it’s more profitable, but roller and ice can co-exist and the ice players should be using the roller side to their advantage.  That’s one of the reasons I made this trip down, I really want to talk to some people and get a real sense of what is happening, and hopefully see a change for the better.   All day I’ve been just scratching my head at the fact that there’s this nice indoor roller hockey rink with zero leagues playing.  It’s used for basketball, zumba, and other odd stuff.    Did I mention that because it’s city-owned it only cost $75 to play in the league, if a league exist.  What a waste….

Just got done walking down memory lane with Patty Cafone.  She’s pointing out all of the kids that grew up playing NARCh that now make up the men’s division here.    The men’s games are just getting underway and we have 6 teams competing.   There are a lot of talented players, so I’m looking forward to watching these guys the next 4 hours or so.

The Peewees played the most games so far, with 3 of their 4 prelim games in the books.  The Alkali Gamblers are in a league of their own and I doubt anyone will touch them tomorrow, but the rest of the division is a bit tighter.

We’re here pretty late tonight so I doubt I’ll have a chance to enjoy a green beer.  I’m sure someone reading this can have one on my behalf J