Give it a few years and Tallahassee could be a hockey town.
Not ice hockey – the city’s only ice skating rink is seasonal. With some help from local attorney Russ Buchanan, there’s a growing roller hockey scene.
It’s a scene Buchanan, 34, is building from the ground up. Off 4 Points Way in Tallahassee, in a building you could miss if you didn’t know it was there, Buchannan and a group of friends launched Tallahassee Indoor Sports, a full-sized roller hockey rink for kids and adults.
Buchanan bought the building last April and spent a year turning it into a competition-ready venue, including finding a rink in Savannah, which he disassembled and brought to Tallahassee.
“We managed to value-engineer a lot of things, from the building to installing the rink and that sort of thing,” Buchanan said. “I think we’re in a position where we can grow at a pace that we want to grow at and not do things we don’t want to do. I think we’re in a good position in that way.”
There are already about 100 adults playing in weekly leagues, Buchanan said (see the schedule here). He added he hopes to get about 300 people consistently playing.
“I think we’ll have 16 adult teams playing in the fall,” he said. “The new season will start at the end of August, beginning of September. It’s very exciting, but you get caught up in the day to day. It’s hard to stop and pause and think about where we were a year ago or what the building looked like.”
Eventually there will be a kids’ league. In June, Tallahassee Indoor Sports received a $1,000 grant from The Awesome Foundation’s Tallahassee chapter, which funded the purchase of sticks and equipment for children interested in playing. .
“I think the future is good for hockey,” Buchanan said. “It’s a great sport for kids. Sometimes I can’t believe it, looking around, that we managed to pull this off.”
As Tallahassee Indoor Sports continues to grow, the players involved in the league are already bringing home the hardware. The Capital City Kraken in July won the Master’s Division (over-30s) title of the Torhs 2Hot4Ice national championships.
“Thinking about a year ago, no one was playing hockey,” Buchanan said. “We were gutting the building and ripping out all the nasty stuff that had been neglected over the last number of years. It’s really is something, when you think about it. It took a lot of willpower.”
There’s still plenty of room to grow.
“We don’t need to have 1,000 people to make a rink like this work,” Buchanan said. “You know, 300 people playing would be a fantastic number and we’re probably more than a third of the way there.”
Want to play?
Where: 130 4 Points Way