Local Roller Hockey Rink in Rebuild Mode

The newly named SJC Sports Rink aims to add customers as it improves.

The sound of rollerblades careening around the rink, along with random hoots and a few claps, filled the air at 3 Positiva in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday evening.

Located behind Kinoshita and Marco Forster schools, the sparse SJC Sports Rink is now home to a local roller hockey team, the SJC Nightmare. The rink's work-in-progress look might throw off passerby, but to local players, it's a godsend.

“This rink is pretty raw right now, but I think it will be nice,” said SJC Nightmare Coach Chris Connole. “The next-closest roller rink we have is Irvine ... [but] it’s expensive to drive all the way to Irvine if you live down here.”

A small collective of roller hockey newbies and seasoned vets make up the club and travel teams. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, SJC Sports Rink hosts three-hour team practices for kids and adults.

“I skate everyday,” said Michael Schwartz, SJC Sports Rink's manager. “You get addicted to it. It’s a healthy activity that involves finesse, skill and it’s physically challenging. It’s like football on wheels.”

Schwartz’s commitment to rebuilding the rink began when he took ownership on June 5.

“We’re working on getting soccer teams to play here. Lacrosse programs also run here,” said Schwartz. “We will be the only rink that is an official National Hockey League roller hockey rink size.”

With brand new boards and glass sitting on the ground waiting to be installed, Schwartz is seeking a city permit for improvements.

As sweaty kids emerged from the rink, they talked about wanting to play more teams, grumbled about their moves or waited anxiously for their signal to take to the rink.

“We want to start a youth hockey game,” said Connole. “I want to bring more kids to the game. It’s all about the kids having fun.”

Michele Benjamin October 21, 2012 at 03:00 PM
When my husband and I spoke to Mike we were encouraged...but we're also a bit skeptical he could make the necessary changes needed to the old dilapidated roller rink. We watched almost every sinle day because we have four children and drive that way MANY times. We were so wrong. What a transformation! It's incredible how awesome it looks! 2 of my kids go to Marco Middle School and the buzz around there (as they run the track for PE that runs parallel to the rink) is ,too, amazing. Michael Scwartz: you are a man of your word.
Jenni Presley October 21, 2012 at 03:18 PM
My sons have been playing at the San Juan Capistrano rink for several years, my oldest, who is 14, still plays there. We are excited for all the changes and hope it draws more youth to the local rink. The 949 rink in Irvine is great, but too far and expensive for us to go to two or three times a week. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the SJC rink really takes off. Thanks Michael!
Tamara October 23, 2012 at 01:12 AM
We are new to hockey this year with my 9yr old son, but he seems to have fallen in love with the sport and all but sleeps in his rollerblades. Coach Mike is amazing with his dedication to kids, hockey and making the new rink a well run and maintained rink for the kids to play safely. He has worked everyday since he purchased property and is a committed coach!!! We looked forward to playing for many years and are excited that new kids are joining daily.
Jamie Martinez October 26, 2012 at 08:15 PM
My 2 boys just love going to SJC sports rink. They love the game of hockey and I like the caring and safe environment they are in. Coach Michael has poured his heart into the rink and it shows through my sons as I see their love of the sport grow.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »