By Mike May
The Wellington Roller Hockey Association, an official Village of Wellington sports provider, is gearing up for its 27th season.
Typically, the players are 5 to 18 years old and are divided into three programs: Prep for ages 6 to 13, Juniors for ages 13 to 18 and Learn to Skate for beginner skaters of all ages. The league year typically starts in September/October and runs through early March. Registration for the fall program will begin on Sept. 12.
According to WRHA Vice President Stuart Warszycki, the group provides a great and affordable athletic opportunity for local children.
“With weekly practices and 15 to 20 games per season, we pride ourselves on being the best deal in town at $150 per skater or $125 with a sibling discount,” Warszycki said. “We have playoffs and a prep skills competition late in the year. Our league plays out of Village Park. Some players in our league also play ice hockey at Skate Zone, with several advanced skaters playing on the travel team.”
According to Warszycki, the league has been averaging 80 to 90 players over the last five years, but the league saw a dip last year due to the pandemic. However, the registration numbers so far this year are ahead of last year’s pace.
Having a good attitude is the foundation for success with the WRHA. Sportsmanship is a key theme, and all players, parents and coaches sign a code of ethics at the start of each season. A few tenets from the player covenant include promises to participate with good sportsmanship at every practice and game, working hard to do well in school, and remembering that lose or win, it’s about how they play that matters.
In support of the importance of good sportsmanship, one individual on each team is recognized with a sportsmanship trophy at the end of the season. According to Warszycki, the recipient of this award is typically not the most advanced skater, but the one who shows up for all practices, doesn’t complain and is a good teammate.
The WRHA, a nonprofit organization, is strongly committed to supporting the residents of Wellington.
“Although COVID-19 disrupted us a bit last year, the league historically has done several Wellington street cleanups each season,” Warszycki said. “Our rink concession stand also offers an opportunity for middle school and high school kids to get volunteer hours.”
One of the biggest supporters of the WRHA is part-time Wellington resident Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins. Jacobs has, in the past, provided jerseys as well as financial support for the WRHA. In addition, the WRHA receives sponsorships from local businesses which, in exchange for an advertising fee, receive a full-season advertisement on the boards around the rink.
The WRHA does sponsor a travel team, known as the Wellington Prowlers. “The Prowlers have proudly represented us at several national-level hockey tournaments,” WRHA President Ruben Arteaga said. “Right now, we are looking for a coach who can dedicate time for the travel team.”
Learn more about the league at www.wellingtonrollerhockey.com.