It seems like inline hockey already has the reputation of not being “real hockey” and today the sport was dealt another blow. USA Hockey announced it will relinquish its role as the national governing body for inline hockey. Beginning June 1, 2011 it will no longer offer an inline membership program, encouraging its members to instead register with USA Roller Sports–the IGB for sports such as roller derby and figure (roller) skating.
It’s really a shame. As someone who has played both roller and ice hockey, I am certain the sports have more in common than they differ. Hockey is hockey. I can understand USA Hockey’s decision. They don’t want to spread themselves too thin. It makes sense they would choose ice. Roller hockey is the red-headed step child. From a player’s perspective, though, the decision sucks because it further highlights the division between roller hockey and ice hockey. It divides rather than unites, and let’s be honest: hockey needs all the help it can get. ESPN shows poker, not hockey, for crying out loud! Anyone who has ever played hockey knows there is no other sport more fun to play. Schoolyard Puck is all about playing hockey wherever you can find it; on the pond, in the street, on shoes, rollerblades, or ice skates. When can we get away from all these distinctions and just call it all HOCKEY??