There hasn’t been much action at Valley Stream’s hockey rink in recent months, but that won’t be the case for much longer. The Village Board of Trustees approved a proposal earlier this month to bring an adult hockey league to Valley Stream, with play slated to begin in the late spring or early summer.
Jeff Kotcher, a 23-year-old Valley Stream resident and avid roller hockey player, reached out to Village Clerk Bob Barra late last year about the idea of bringing a league back to Valley Stream. A little more than two months later, Kotcher got the go-ahead.
“Hockey is a huge passion of mine so I wanted to see something get started there again,” he said, “and I knew there were still a ton of people in the community, especially in Valley Stream, that wanted to see a league there.”
Kotcher is no stranger to roller hockey in Valley Stream. He got his start in the local league as a child and still plays competitively today. As it turned out, Kotcher was pretty good, too, and has been a part of two national championship teams, once in the Under-18 division and again in the Under-21 division. He currently plays in a professional league called the American Inline Hockey League on the Empire State Legends team. The Legends’ home rink is Hot Skates in Lynbrook, but Kotcher is hoping the rink in Valley Stream will be the home rink for dozens of other hockey players very soon.
“Instead of the rink just sitting there,” he said, “I knew I had to do something and make it possible for everyone else to use.”
The rink, which is located between Sunrise Highway and the Valley Stream Long Island Rail Road station, was where the village opened its skate park in 2011. Last fall, village officials decided to move the skate park, which features portable equipment, to the concrete area in between the miniature golf course and the pool at Hendrickson Park.
According to Barra, he, Kotcher and a few other village officials planned to inspect the rink shortly after the deal was reached. Barra said he’s not concerned about the boards or the lighting but will keep a careful eye on the rink’s surface.
“The surface is the key,” he said. “If the surface is bad, especially if it doesn’t make it through this winter, then we’re going to have to really look at it.”