Zachary Lindal takes a shot at Eagle Ridge Community Centre

Langford youth glide into new sport

Inline hockey open to all kids on West Shore at Eagle Ridge dry arena

The fall season of inline hockey at Eagle Ridge Community Centre is up and rolling, and leading to great opportunities for young talents. Ben Lindal travelled to Los Angeles, for the AAU Junior Olympics early this summer, playing with the Australian national inline hockey team. Lindal is a citizen of both Canada and Australia, so had the chance to play for the team after developing his skills in the Langford dry arena. Lindal started inline hockey at Eagle Ridge about a year and a half ago. He plays ice hockey and first started with inline as a way to keep in shape in the off season. Now he is eyeing more international competitions in the future. Of 14 games in nine days, Australia won nine times, taking first place. “I enjoyed playing on the team. My coach was very nice,” Lindal said. “It was very nice to win a trophy with Australia, they don’t really win trophies.” The leagues at Eagle Ridge are a part of the B.C. Inline Hockey Association, which is part of the national organization. “If you play ice hockey, it improves (your skating) a lot,” said John Howard of Stitched Sports Repair, one of the organizers of the league. “It helps with offensive skills because there’s no offsides, no icing … and it’s only four-on-four, so there’s more opportunities to touch the puck and it’s more of a team game. “I noticed even personally I got better at ice hockey because I had my head up a little more cause I’m used to playing roller hockey.” There are three seasons per year. Spring is the most popular, as there are many ice hockey players looking for an activity to keep them in game shape. The sport is non-contact. There are leagues for youth, juniors, developing players and adults. For children eight and under there is a free development session every Sunday. Kids get the chance to learn how to skate and learn the basics of the sport. Some gear is available. Drop-in games take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To get involved, show up to a Sunday event and chat with coaches, call 250-391-1738 or email eagleridgerollerhockey@gmail.com for more information.