Up North, hockey players develop their skills on frozen ponds. In Dallas, where there are no frozen ponds to be found, hockey players compete in the Southern version of a pond game — street hockey. Every Friday night at 8 p.m., they lace up their roller blades and play pickup hockey on the converted roller hockey rink beside the tennis court at Norbuck Park, on the corner of Buckner and Mockingbird. Skaters, ranging from ages 7 to 60, come together to get exercise and meet new hockey fans around the area. “It’s a workout to go out there and play, and it’s fun,” says Friday game veteran Johnny Espinoza. The weekly game, sponsored by the Dallas Urban Skaters, has been a tradition since the turn of the century. It has grown in numbers since its creation, especially within the range of college-age kids, and the players are always looking for more participants. “If hockey gets really interesting in Dallas, more people will start showing up; when the Stars aren’t doing well, less people show up,” says J.W. Ney, one of the original participants of the Friday night game, and a member of the Dallas Urban Skaters. “The same core group of the older people, we play all the time, but we want more, the more the better.” For the past two years, a group of high school and college kids have come to challenge the older players, led by Don Le. “The amazing thing is that people come back on Friday nights, and it’s scheduled in their minds that people come out on Friday at that time,” Le says. “If you ever need your hockey fix, go at that time and they’ll be there.”
For more information, visit dallasurbanskaters.com.