by BETH ALTENA
Since opening in 2004, Cedar Rock Sports Plex has been a destination for roller hockey, indoor lacrosse and soccer leagues. However, just this month the facility finished the conversion of the roller hockey floor over to an ice arena. While ice hockey will be offered fall and winter, roller hockey will also be offered in summer months.
Richard Strouse, general manager, stated that the change was needed due to continually losing roller hockey players to ice hockey. “We would start out strong with the youth, but once they hit junior high or high school they would decide to switch to ice hockey,” Strouse said. Being an ice player himself, Strouse understands the “ice appeal.”
Many of the former roller hockey players who have switched to ice are excited about coming back to their “home” rink to now play ice hockey. Ice hockey players are used to traveling to play but when you live in Grand Rapids and have to travel as far as Big Rapids for ice, it becomes somewhat of a chore. Strouse receives positive feedback daily from customers and local ice hockey parents who are excited about the new change.
The facility is owned by a group of local investors who believe spending the money to expand the structure, insulate and install the ice is a good move financially. The 50,000-square-foot structure is equipped with a regulation ice hockey rink as well as the indoor soccer field which has been a feature from the beginning. In summers, the roller hockey floor can be installed over the soccer field to offer roller and ice hockey at the same time.
The owners believe their business plan will allow them to offer skate times at a more reasonable price than other facilities that are completely booked. Strouse said they have already begun offering open skate sessions on weekends and senior skates during the day. In addition, he would like to start a hockey league for third-shift workers who may not be able to make it during current times.
“I’d like to see a hockey league form full of third-shift workers who’d like to play hockey after they get out of work,” Strouse said.
Currently the sports complex has plenty of activity, including an over-40 soccer league and an over-40 coed hockey league which continues to grow. There are also high school, JV and youth leagues in both areas. The facility is available for private parties and corporate events, and offers birthday party packages available during open skate times.
“Even though we are in a tough economy, people need to exercise and have some form of enjoyment activity in their lives, and we believe this change is a positive addition to the community,” Strouse said.
For information about times and hours, please go the website at cedarrocksportsplex.com. Cedar Rock Sports Plex is located one quarter-mile north of M-57 and west of Northland Drive at 4758 Cornfield Drive in Cedar Springs, just north of Rockford.