Two eighth-graders like street hockey so much they are organizing a neighborhood league Anne Arundel youngsters have signed up 27 players, need five teams to start

January 12, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Steve Lazor and Jimmy Saul have been playing in pickup street hockey games for two years. Now they are looking to go big time.

The eighth-graders at St. Jane Frances Catholic School in Riviera Beach have been working for a year to organize a neighborhood street hockey league. So far, 27 players, all students at their school, George Fox Middle, or at Marley Middle School, have signed up.

The first team of 12 players calls itself the Panthers; the second team of 17 has not decided on a name, said Steve, 13. The teams have played against each other several times on the tennis courts at George Fox Middle or on the fields at Northeast High School.

Jimmy, 14, said they will need five teams of 12 players each to establish a league.

Avid professional hockey fans -- Jimmy roots for the Washington Capitals and Steve for the New York Rangers -- they decided they wanted to form neighborhood teams for more competition.

They began recruiting players by distributing fliers in schools and at the Benfield Pines Ice Rink. Last month, Jimmy wrote a hockey article for his school newspaper, the SJF Journal.

"Now everyone is really excited about it," he said.

The blizzard of 1996 has put a damper on their practice and game schedule, Steve said, but the youths hope to begin playing again soon at Skate City, a roller rink in Crofton.

"I guess this kind of weather is better than it being too hot," Steve said. "It's hard to practice in this much snow. Usually we practice twice a month."

Street hockey players use in-line roller skates and regular hockey sticks to propel the pucks into nets. Although the players have no uniforms, Steve said they plan carwashes and other fund-raising events this spring to raise money for equipment.

"We are also looking for sponsors now," Jimmy said.

In the spring, the boys hope to start an ice hockey team and are putting up fliers at Benfield Pines Ice Rink and area stores to get more people to join, they said.

But forming an ice hockey team is expensive, Jimmy said, noting that players have to pay for equipment and league fees. The total cost could be as high as $2,000.

"It might happen this year," he said. "I just learned to ice-skate about six months ago, and it is a lot of fun."

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