The New York City Inline Skating Guide
Clubs and Leagues: Roller Hockey
There are innumerable playgrounds and schoolyards around the city being used for rollerhockey, formally or not. Just keep your eyes open for hockey activity when you pass one in your neighborhood. Also check out the NYC Parks Dept. rollerhockey venues list.
If you're interested in forming your own rollerhockey league, you probably need to talk to the folks at the USA Hockey Inline for info about insurance, standardized rules, etc.
Working our way north from Downtown to Inwood...
Civic Center/Two Bridges: Way downtown, there is a rollerhockey rink laid out in Tanahey Playground behind the New York Post, on Cherry St. between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. It's been a long time since I've down there, but it did not strike me as well maintained back then. The nearby Al Smith Rec Center (212-285-0300) probably has the skinny on any organized play that may be happening there.
Lower East Side/Bowery: The concrete schoolyard at I.S. 131, at the corner of Canal and Chrystie, sees occasional pick-up games on weekends.
Greenwich Village: The playground at the intersection of Houston Street and Sixth Ave. is home to regular roller activity. The surface is in good shape, and there are usually at least 15 players and sometimes as many as 30. Hockey-loving celebrities have been known to join in.
Alphabet City/East Village: The northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park, at Avenue A and 10th St., is a paved playground marked for baseball. There are casual pick-up rollerhockey games summer weekday evenings, typically Tuesday and Thursday.
Stuyvesant Town: East of First Ave. at about 16th St. is a sunken playground that is also host to frequent pick-up rollerhockey, similar to the Houston St. venue in surface, atmosphere, and number of players.
Chelsea: There is no longer a rollerhockey program at Chelsea Piers, at 24th St. on the Hudson River, as the rink has been completely ripped out. Some of the clubs which played there are now playing at Stanley M. Isaacs Park (see below).
Midtown/Tudor City: Near the United Nations, Robert Moses Playground at First Ave. and 42nd St. is painted for rollerhockey. For organized action here, check with the East End Hockey Association, active in rollerhockey since 1972. (Note: This playground could disappear if plans for renovation and expansion of the U.N. facilities ever get moving.)
Central Park: The "Dead Road" in Central Park has since about 2000 become more of a rollerhockey venue than it was in the 1990s. There is regular pick-up activity with perhaps a dozen players on weekends in late morning and continuing until the Dance Skaters set up, and on weekdays after school/work hours. The Central Park players prefer a mellower, less competitive atmosphere than other pick-up hockey locations around town.
Upper East Side/Yorkville: There has been a nice rollerhockey rink in the south end of Carl Schurz Park (East End Ave. at 86th St.) since the early 1990s, and it's been re-surfaced at least twice during that time.
Just a bit north, Stanley M. Isaacs Park at 96th St. between First Ave. and the FDR has long had a reputation as a happening rollerhockey venue, and that was before a "real" rollerhockey rink was laid out. The park was further renovated in 2000, and the excellent albeit a bit small roller hockey rink re-dedicated as the Paul McDermott rink. Organized youth hockey at Isaacs is handled by the Yorkville Youth Athletic Association.
In summer 2007, Manhattan Roller Hockey League, a group of adult teams who formerly played at Chelsea Piers, began organized play at Isaacs Park on Sunday afternoons and weekday evenings. They've continued to grow, and as of early 2012 had 20 teams scheduled to play their spring schedule.
Hamilton Heights: Riverbank State Park, along Riverside Dr. at 145th St., has in the past offered open rollerhockey sessions at its covered skating rink during the summer. Call (212) 694-3600 to inquire if they're currently doing so.
Washington Heights: There is an established pick-up hockey group who play Saturday mornings from 10 to noon at J. Hood Wright Park, on Fort Washington Ave. between 175th and 176th St. There is no hockey rink in the park, but as at Tompkins Square and elsewhere, there is a painted asphalt baseball diamond which serves the need. More info is available on the group's Google groups page.
Inwood: And all the way uptown, there is a rollerhockey rink laid out in Dyckman Fields, in Inwood Hill Park along the Hudson River. However, it looks like no one uses it for hockey anymore, as the asphalt condition has been iffy since at least 2007 and part of it often used for pick-up volleyball instead.
A Parks Dept. master plan dated November 2008 for the Hudson River parks between 125th St and Inwood shows this rollerhockey rink replaced by a softball diamond. How definite this plan might be and on what time frame is unknown.
There is a Facebook group for Brooklyn (roller) hockey.
Borough Park: The rink at Betty Rappaport Playground, 53rd St. and Fort Hamilton Pkwy., hosts regular league activity organized by the Fort Hamilton Roller Hockey League.
Sheepshead Bay: A rink at 2665 Coyle St. and Voorhies Ave. is home to youth and adult hockey play. Youth play is organized by the Kings Bay Youth Organization and offers leagues for anywhere from age 5 to age 17. Adult play is organized by the new Brooklyn Hockey League, formed in 2006.
Bergen Beach: There is a rink tucked away in Joseph Thomas McGuire Park in Mill Basin. Enter the park at the corner of Bergen Ave. and Avenue W and cross the baseball field. The rink is alongside the tennis courts. There is supposed to be a youth league organized by the Bergen Beach Youth Organization.
Williamsburg: A pick-up hockey group was reported in spring 2009 to be playing Sunday afternoons on one of the tennis courts on Rodney St., between Division Ave. and Broadway.
Generally working west to east...
Long Island City: Outdoor rink at Dutch Kills Playground, 27th St. and 37th Ave.: The last time I was in the area (admittedly a long time ago), this rink looked especially nice.
Astoria: Outdoor rink in Chapetto Square in Astoria Park, located at 21st St. on the north side of the Triborough Bridge
Fresh Pond/Glendale: The 104 Precinct Youth Council organizes the 104th Precinct Roller Hockey League. They normally use the rink in Mafera Park, 65th Place and 68th Ave., which was renovated in summer/autumn of 2007. As of December 2007, a new mens' league was expected to begin play soon.
Middle Village: Outdoor James Bohan rink in Juniper Valley Park, located between the football/soccer field and baseball diamonds and not far from the intersection of Lutheran Ave. and Juniper Blvd. North. In use by the Middle Village Roller Hockey League, a youth organization. No info about whether there is adult league or pick-up activity.
College Point: Outdoor rink at College Point Sports Fields, at 25th Ave and 130th St. This location is apparently devoted to organized play by the College Point Roller Hockey league.
Whitestone: Outdoor rink in George Harvey Park, alongside the Whitestone Expressway and near the intersection of 15th Ave. and 144th St. This was reported in February 2007 to be heavily used by youth league activity, but then the following December no longer so. As of the start of 2008, pick-up games were occurring fairly regularly — including Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday morning — but evening play closes down if the Parks Dept. turns off the lights early. At the end of 2010, the city had permanently locked the gates to the rink area and posted a sign saying repairs were to be made, but no subsequent word has been heard as to when.
Fort Totten: Outdoor rink in Little Bay Park alongside the Cross Island Parkway between the Throggs Neck Bridge and Fort Totten. As of December 2007 it was reported to be in poor shape (and had been for some time) and considered unsafe by some players.
Fresh Meadows: In Kissena Corridor Park East, by the intersection of Peck Ave. and 189th St., there is a playground area painted for rollerhockey.
Rockaway/Seaside: There is a rink painted for hockey alongside the beach at the Beach 109th Street Playground, at the west end of Shore Front Pkwy.
Morris Park: There is an outdoor rink laid out in Loreto Park, on Morris Park Ave. between Haight Ave. and Tomlinson Ave. The rink was put in in 2003 where there used to be a softball diamond.
There is organized and open roller hockey play at the indoor rink at Sports Park at 215 Schmidts Lane, alongside the Staten Island Expressway near the Slosson Ave. exit. See the Staten Island Roller Hockey webpage for info.
There is an outdoor city-owned roller hockey rink in Wolfe's Pond Park, close to the intersection of Chester Ave. and Cornelia Ave.
Major League Roller Hockey:
The league had a couple teams in the metro area, and as recently as 2005 the New York Rockers, playing in Edison, N.J., won the men's league championship. Whether or not there is a New York metro area team in the league seems to change year to year. There was no area team in 2009, a "NJ Rockers" played the 2010-2011 season, but no teams in the area were listed on either the 2011-2012 or 2012-2013 rosters. See MLRH website for the latest info.
Roller Hockey International:
This league peaked around 1994 or 1995 and has long since folded. RHI had a checkered history, annually alternating between expansion and dropping teams. It last played in 1999. The New Jersey Rockin Rollers played at the Continental Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ, from 1992-1997, and the Long Island Jawz played at the Nassau Coliseum in 1996.