Let's get our sport out of the hands of private industry...
This is going to be very harsh, and will involve a radical change in the way our sport is operated.
I propose that Parks & Recreation Departments (municipal governments) build, develop, or outright take over the inline hockey rinks in the country.
In 1998, I went to the El Paso Parks & Recreation department and suggested that they could take an existing four-court tennis surface, remove all the fixtures, place a "gun-metal-gray" building over the whole concrete slab, put in lights and air conditioning, and we could have an inline hockey facility that we could practically offer for use to the public for free.
I was told that, if the Department were to do this, then they were going to do it right: a permanent building, restrooms, high quality lighting, rink equipment...the whole nine yards, if it were to be done at all. This, to me was a tremendously positive response to my inquiry.
The concept was made part of the next municipal bond election. Design and construction followed; on August 29, 2003, we skated onto the floor in our state-of-the-art inline hockey facility at the Nations-Tobin Recreation Center...
Every City of any size has the ability to do this! It is necessary to galvanize your municipal representative officials, and your state and federal representatives to come up with municipal bond, and matching state/federal funds as needed.
At the Nations-Tobin Recreation Center, you play 20-45 games each 3-month season, have unlimited open floor practice time, uniform use is provided for each team, your tournament team trains for free, and you get all this for $25 per season...period.
We host USAHIL and AAU regionals for (get this) $295 per team...
This is the power that a properly operated municipal parks' program can have over the ability of players to play and develop.
Imagine if, say, 50 of the 100 largest cities had such a program? I ask you: If you only had to pay $25 a season for hockey, how would that change the opportunities in the game for you?
I realize that I am aiming to put private rink operators out of the inline hockey business. Our city has two roller rinks that run recreation roller skating, parties, etc. Nations-Tobin tries not to infringe on their business, but they don't run hockey programs, because they can't possibly compete with that $25/player/season fee...no private rink could.
I contend that this proposal would dramatically help our sport to grow and develop!
<font color=purple>DannyG</font color=purple>