A New League Is Here

For years, we have speculated about where a new league of roller hockey could possibly be located. Today, the speculation is over, as we officially announce the start of a new league at the Nakusp & District Sports Complex starting Tuesday, 24 April. Burton Hockey will never be the same.

The new league with the as-yet-undetermined name will finally see roller hockey being played directly in Nakusp on a regular basis (not having to drive to Burton just to play roller hockey really does make a difference in numbers). Essentially, this is a fusion of three different groups: the Burton United Socialist Hockey (BUSH) gang that visitors to this website are already familiar with; players from the Nakusp Falcons midget club that finished third last month at provincials and are looking to keep the hockey flame going through the spring and summer; and players from Nakusp Commercial Hockey who don't want to stop playing just because there's no ice in the rink during the summer.

With this larger talent pool (you can expect between 12 and 24 players every session, and the goal for the first week is to get 20 players out), the quality of hockey should be very high. The driving force behind the new arena league is Zac Wethal, a talented player and all-around good dude with four years of junior hockey experience that BUSH has tried to get into its fold for years. Thanks to Zac, the arena was able to be booked for a very cheap rate (just five dollars per player).

One thing that will be apparent right away with the arena league is that the style of play will be very different in this regulation-size rink. These will be 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 sessions, meaning that the per-game stats will look like interleague or Queen Elizabeth Park stats rather than the dense point totals seen in Burton and at Ambleside. Players are heavily advised to wear at least lower-body gear due to the high number of slapshots expected. And, naturally, with a roof, weather will never be an issue in this league.

Should arena hockey take off, there is the distinct possibility of a second session each week being booked. And, as always, players are welcome to organise or join in on BUSH sessions if they don't want to be tied just to Tuesday. Arena hockey is the biggest thing to ever happen to roller hockey in the Arrow Lakes, and we are very excited to be in on the ground floor! If you're in Nakusp on a Tuesday night this spring or summer, bring your gear and join in on all the action.

As for your humble statistician, he'll be there, sitting inside of an actual scorer's box. The biggest adjustment, however, might be trying to explain to the new guys how the SDF works...

jsleeps wrote on April 21, 2012 @ 01:27:32 PST
sounds very interesting definitely lookin forward to seein some stats and writeups

on a side note, ebay your wheels! easily half the price then going to buy em in a store 2 hrs away?
KK wrote on April 21, 2012 @ 00:58:42 PST
Some more food for thought. Here's a four-session sample of Commercial stats from last season to get you familiarised with the types of stats you can expect from the arena league (keeping in mind that some players are better on ice than on roller blades and vice versa, some of these guys won't even have roller blades, and a lot of the Falcon players were too young for Commercial last season; Seamus was forced into net on a rusty pair of blades three sizes too small that session, in case you were wondering how he wound up at .647). At the very least, it gives you the kind of numbers you can expect from Zac and Joel.

KK wrote on April 21, 2012 @ 00:43:23 PST
From the statistical end, games will be scored as going to five as they always have been, so as far as stats, you won't notice a difference. When a team gets to five, then it's a new game on the stats sheet. So, yes.

Gameplay-wise, I imagine this will be like Commercial where the overall session will be scored on aggregate rather than as a series of game results; in other words, the games to five essentially function as periods. The sessions are just too short to do otherwise. From Commercial experience, we're looking at two, maybe three, games per session due to rink booking constrictions when sessions have to end at 7pm on the dot no matter what place in the game you're at. Only once have I ever seen a Commercial session make it to four games. Commercial is always set up for two solid, unbroken halves with a five-minute break in the middle regardless of score; again, it's the only functional way to do it with booking restrictions so as to maximise rink time (especially when you consider the average Commercial session has 12-to-16 skaters lobbying for time on the rink).

It's a little like VIHL in terms of gameplay, puck, and full gear (again, all of those slapshots plus the influence of all of the regular hockey guys who are just used to playing in gear), but the Burton elements are there, too, most notably no set teams and constant trading throughout the session to balance out both sides. Commercial guys are used to playing 5-on-5; I think they'll be in for a rude awakening if they try that with roller hockey. But we'll have to see how it plays out Tuesday. If the magical number of 20 do show up, it would probably have to be 5-on-5.
jsleeps wrote on April 20, 2012 @ 23:23:37 PST
puck is good lee, youll be fine, if you can shoot and pass with a ball you can do it with the puck..

sounds like basically some sort of version of vihl!!

are games going to go to 5 just like normal burton games?

4 on 4 in those full rinks is the way to play roller!!
Lee wrote on April 20, 2012 @ 23:14:43 PST
Helmets are mandatory. I think most will play in full gear. Zac also wants to use a roller hockey puck, which I've never used before. Not sure what to expect all-around. I hope it works out.
KK wrote on April 19, 2012 @ 23:00:44 PST
Yeah, it's concrete (a 500-seat arena, actually - four dressing rooms, showers, the whole shebang. I have a genuine scoreboard I can operate now). We actually had to wait until now to start because the ice was still on the rink. I think that's a big impetus for a lot of people - living out here it's a pain in the ass to drive a 4 hour round trip to Nelson or Castlegar just to get decent wheels; wheels will last a lot longer on this surface, so those trips won't have to be made as often.
jsleeps wrote on April 19, 2012 @ 22:05:02 PST
crazyness! that sounds like some serious sessions that are gonna happen. this is a huge change for burton im curious to see how it will all play out

what kind of surface is it? just slicked concrete that is iced over in winter?
KK wrote on April 18, 2012 @ 13:32:01 PST
I think beer is mandatory, that's about it. This is Nakusp we're talking about!
Bones wrote on April 18, 2012 @ 13:08:28 PST
This is a huge step. Will they allow beer? What about liability? Are helmets mandatory?

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