Children, parents, and kids-at-heart laced on their roller skates and took to the asphalt on Saturday to enjoy free skating and live music at the third annual Rock the Rink event in Half Moon Bay.
Sponsored by the Coastside Youth Association’s North Coast Hockey League (NCHL) in association with the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside, the event was intended to pique interest in skating at the outdoor rink on Lewis Foster Drive.
One youngster who showed interest was five-year-old Devin, who was skating for the first time. “It’s a little bit easy,” he said, wobbling by.
Devin's sentiments were exactly what organizers were looking to convey to participants—that not only is skating easy to do, but that the facility is easily accessible.
“We have this great local resource and we want it to be used,” says NCHL President Joel Farbstein of the 185-foot by 85-foot outdoor rink which was installed in 2008.
Farbstein worked with event organizers Melissa Page, Barb Capers and Theresa Cossman to raise awareness of the rink's existence as well as to raise funds.
“A lot of people don’t know there’s hockey on the Coastside,” says Farbstein. "But we’ve had hockey here since 1992, and we have the best facility on the entire Peninsula right here in our backyard.”
Page, whose son and daughter are new this year to the NCHL, says it has been a great sport for them to play. “We want to let the community know we’re here,” she said near the grilling station where food was being prepared by parents.
At 4 p.m., local band Retorsion took the stage. Featuring sophomore musicians from , the band kicked out some Green Day, White Stripes and other jams. Featuring lead singer and guitarist Dylan Gallup, Bill Floyd on drums, and Daniel Shafir-Schoor on bass, the band welcomed their friends and fathers to the stage.
"Hockey that’s fresh, not frozen,” an emcee said to the crowd.
The rink, which opened for skating on Sunday, is maintained by players and parents, says Coach Mike Hovermale. Hovermale, who has two sons that play in the NCHL, also serves on the league's board of directors and organizes referees for the matches.
“In the summer we have teams here using the rink, but the rest of the year it would be good for the community to use it,” he said. Last Sunday, the organization launched a weekly skate event open to all.
The NCHL runs a summer session from June 5-August 7. Farbstein anticipated more registrants at Saturday’s event and in the weeks to come. In addition to a summer league, NCHL and Half Moon Bay High School sponsor a Cougars team during the year and there are two Junior Cougar teams for younger players.
Mary Beth Alexander uses the rink for more than just hockey for her son, who couldn’t even stand up in his skates when he began a year ago. Now he plays goalie. Today, her skating has lulled the 3-year-old in her arms to sleep.
“She told me to just keep skating,” she laughed.
For more information about the North Coast Hockey League, visit their website, where you will find rink information as well as registration materials for their summer league. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.