Sport

Street rules

DAMON BULL

Sunday afternoons aren’t generally associated with triple deeks, flying Vs and knuckle pucks, however the Perth Street Roller Hockey League is changing all that.

League founder and Floreat Flamingos captain Eamonn Lourey started the competition in June last year.

Lourey started the league by chance after he and a friend found out they had both randomly bought hockey sticks in the same week.

“I brought it up in conversation that I bought a hockey stick and he was like ‘Yeah me too’,” Lourey says.

“So I was like, ‘should we have a game?’

“He was like, ‘yeah that sounds pretty good’.”

crop-ass-1It was there and then that the Perth Street Roller Hockey League was born.

Originally there were four teams of Lourey’s close friends, about 20 people or so.

From there Lourey started a Facebook page and in no time the league went from four teams to 10.

“By the end of it there were three teams out of 10 that I didn’t know,” he says.

“If I didn’t know most of the people I’m not really sure how it would have gone.

“’cause we’re all a close knit community.

“We have this sort of subculture of people playing really bad hockey on Sundays.”

The league, currently in its second season, has grown to 25 teams both north and south of Perth.

Lourey credits his time in New York for the idea behind the teams and showing town pride in where you’re from.

“I guess its kind of influenced from New York,” he says.

“I went to New York last year and found if you’re from Brooklyn you’re really proud that you’re from Brooklyn.

“That’s something that Perth doesn’t have.

“People just kind of float around and there’s no reason for you to be proud of where you’re from.”

While Lourey wants the league to remain “not serious” he still likes the fact that teams are embracing the community spirit theme behind it.

Lourey is very proud of the fact that more than 90 per cent of the players involved have never played hockey before. But that doesn’t stop people’s natural competitive spirit from taking over on game day.

Tom Jockel plays for the Greater Mount Lawley Area Guardians and occasionally fills in for the GMLA Angels when needed.

“The standard in the Street Roller Hockey League has definitely improved this year,” Jockel says.

“Most guys still play for a bit of fun but I noticed a lot more teams talking tactics and that sort of thing.”

All the games are played in public places so it takes a little organisation from all teams to ensure that home courts are free on game days.

Cameron Dennis, captain of the Brentwood Bushchooks, has to liaise with a local basketball team to ensure a rink is available.

“There’s normally a basketball team that plays here most Sundays and we have shared with them before but it doesn’t really work,” Dennis says.

“Now we just give them a call and work out what time it’s free and we don’t have an issue.

“They were more than happy to work with us.”

The games allow onlookers to get right up close to the action and it’s easy to see that the players involved are having a ball.

While there is a lot of banter and plenty to laugh about it’s clear that when the game gets close the level kicks up a notch.

GMLA Guardians captain Joshua Leslie says the competition is good fun but players still want to win.

“Everyone plays for a bit of fun but you never go out to lose,” Leslie says.

So far social media has been the main force behind the rapid rise of the Street Roller Hockey League.

With plans to showcase local bands and artists at end-of-season gala days, Lourey wants to build upon the community spirit idea behind the competition.

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