Youth dek, or ball hockey recreational leagues for boys and girls ages 15 and under are now getting under way for the first time at the Terrace Sports skating rink at 5311 East Busch Boulevard in Temple Terrace.
Dek, or ball hockey is a 4-on-4 floor player variation of ice hockey in which the floor players and goalies wear tennis shoes instead of skates, and a ball is used instead of a puck. Running, stick handling, passing and shooting are the basic skills required for the game, which can be played either inside or outside and on a variety of surfaces.
First-time ball hockey players are welcome, and the program is completely coeducational with boys and girls invited to take part in this recreational league that fits the missions of both the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Lightning Made Hockey program and also the new Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., based at Terrace Sports.
Free learn-to-play dek hockey clinics by Lightning Made Hockey have reached more than 50,000 school students in the Tampa Bay area over the past two years through its Build the Thunder program, and in 2016 the new Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., began supporting the Lightning’s community effort by hosting free clinics and assisting with outreach on the Lightning Made events.
Establishing a ball hockey league is the next step in providing the best possible off-ice hockey experience that will attract and keep many young players, said Joe Limone, President and Board Chairman of Grow Hockey Movement, Inc.
“Our mission is to help create the next generation of hockey players from the Tampa Bay area by giving all kids a chance to experience the game off-ice,” Limone, said. “Terrace Sports has the location and the reputation for the past 30+ years as a place where many youth roller hockey players and teams have played and then gone on to win national and international championships. We want to create that same atmosphere for ball hockey.”
“We know from the NHL success of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the popularity of our adult roller hockey leagues that Tampa Bay is a Hockey Town. And a Hockey Town always includes the kids when it comes to creating opportunities to enjoy the game,” Limone said.
Signups are now under way for the upcoming ball hockey league at Terrace Sports, with information available at the Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., website, http://growhockey.org, or the Tampa Inline Hockey League website http://www.tampaihl.com
There will be 2 age groups available for boys and girls ages 15 and under on game days, which are on Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m. A free clinic will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sat., Feb. 11, at Terrace Sports and signups will be available.
Grow Hockey Movement will also have an information and signup booth at the Hockey Day in Tampa Bay festivities on Feb. 18, 2017, at Amalie Arena.
Additional announcements will be made soon by Grow Hockey about the learn-to-play and player development classes, clinics and leagues at the Terrace Sports rink in addition to its regular roller hockey recreational league, Limone said.
“We want our rink to be a place where players of all skill levels can come to learn to be the best they can be in the sport,” he said.
The Lightning Made Hockey Clinics are a great model for any group looking to start an off-ice hockey introductory and player development program, Limone said. “We look forward to working with them throughout 2017 and beyond to introduce more and more kids to the fun of hockey, as we make player recruitment and development a long-term mission in the Tampa Bay area.”
Information is available at: http://www.growhockey.org and http://www.tampaihl.com
Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., is an all-volunteer IRS 503(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit corporation that utilizes both the NHL and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) sanctioned off-ice hockey player development and training practices for all skill levels and ages, regardless of ability to pay. As its primary mission, Grow Hockey Movement, Inc., also known as Grow Hockey, seeks to train the next generation of male and female amateur, recreational, collegiate and professional hockey players. Grow Hockey Movement’s programs are based on the premise that involving boys and girls in the sport of hockey and related physical fitness training will benefit each player, their family, and the larger community by helping shape responsible, well-rounded adults as they share the sport of hockey.