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San Fernando : Volunteers Will Build Roller Hockey Rink

Volunteers on Saturday will help build a new roller hockey rink over an underused parking lot at Pioneer Park in San Fernando, but the foundation for the project was really laid six months ago--in the form of an idea.

San Fernando City Councilman Ray Ojeda recalled driving around town and spotting a few youths playing roller hockey in the street.

“I saw them playing from one side of the street to another and I wondered why there wasn’t anyplace around for them,” Ojeda said. After stopping to talk with the youngsters, Ojeda realized San Fernando needed a roller hockey rink.

Because the city lacked funds for the project, Ojeda approached the San Fernando Police Assn., a local Kiwanis Club, and local businesses, all of which agreed to raise funds and donate materials for an entirely volunteer project. About $6,700 was raised. Zevco Construction, a San Fernando company, has been putting together the frame for the rink this week.

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While the group has all the construction labor it needs--about 20 volunteers will pitch in on the rink Saturday--the real need is for coaches, officials and sponsors for a new roller hockey league in the fall, said Ed Montan, the city’s director of recreation and community services. Equipment is also needed.

“The sport is really popular with kids right now,” Montan said. “Schools are seeing a lot of kids climbing over their fences to play on the grounds.”

The city of Los Angeles runs makeshift rinks in Northridge, North Hollywood, North Hills and Studio City, but those are simply parking lots or tennis courts deemed suitable for skating.

Los Angeles officials recently announced plans to build a roller hockey rink at the Balboa Sports Center in Encino. The West Valley YMCA also runs a roller hockey league, but that location is too far for many youngsters from San Fernando.

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In the new league, San Fernando children could join teams from the Los Angeles Police Jeopardy program, which offers activities for youngsters at risk of becoming involved with crime and drugs.

The work on the rink is to be finished next week, Montan said. A roller-skating night is being planned to celebrate the opening, but a date has not yet been set.

Pioneer Park is at 828 N. Harding St., east of Glenoaks Boulevard.


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