A vision in-line

Mount Mustangs president Joel Coppins hopes to continue growing the sport of inline hockey in the Bay of Plenty. Photo: John Borren.

It’s popular on ice and field – however Mount Mustangs president Joel Coppins is making sure the sport grows on inline skates too.

Joel says inline hockey is similar to ice hockey. It’s a fast-paced game, players are on inline skates, but it can be played on a sport court, concrete or wooden flooring.

He’s seen a lot of interest since starting the club, growing their membership by 240 per cent in the last two years by opening opportunities for children, youth and adults wanting to have a go and participate socially.

“A lot of kids have seen ‘The Mighty Ducks’ film and they say to their parents: ‘I want to play that sport’ and although there’s not an ice rink in Tauranga, there is inline hockey here to have a go at,” says Joel.

Although the club president has seen considerable growth in his club, that only has fueled his vision of having a fully fleshed out inline club with multiple grades.

“The ideal future for the club is to establish a rink and a full club with every grade. We’d like to see under-10-year-olds, 14s, 16s, seniors, premiers and women’s, as well as a competitive school league running alongside that,” says Joel.

“We’ve recently got a big grant for a whole lot of junior gear, so that’s removing a barrier for people too.

“We wouldn’t want the costs of helmets, shin pads, elbow pads, gloves, sticks or skates to be a burden for people. The kids use our gear we’ve got in storage now, so anyone can come and give it a go now without it being a huge cost.

 “We’re looking for kids five years and older. There’s no limit. Once the kids get stuck in and play inline, they love it.”

Joel adds that inline hockey was introduced “20 odd years ago” in Tauranga. “It has continued in some way or form since then. The original team was actually the Tauranga Ducks, and with the facilities they had players competing in each group.

“Tauranga Mighty Ducks was classified as being one of New Zealand’s major inline hockey clubs for many years.”

The Mount Mustangs Inline Hockey Club gathers at the Mount Sport Centre for training and conditioning, and is currently planning to propose the idea for a roller rink to the local council.

The club is looking for members aged five years and older. Seniors and masters gather from 8.30pm-10p Wednesdays; juniors gather from 6pm-7.30pm on Fridays; and social seniors gather from 7pm-8.30pm on Sundays.

For more information on the Mount Mustangs, visit: https://www.facebook.com/mount.inlinehockey Or email: mount_mustangs@hotmail.co.nz

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