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Studio City | VALLEY FOCUS

Fans Hope to Fund Roller Hockey Rink

February 28, 1997|DADE HAYES

The sports scene at Studio City Park leans toward that of Canada--minus the ice.

Like their neighbors to the north, many children here eagerly learn to skate and play hockey--albeit on rollers, not blades--almost before they can walk. Leagues for players as young as 5 hold regular games, drawing hordes of goal-scorers from all over the San Fernando Valley.

But park officials recently prohibited games in the parking lot, the park's main hockey spot, saying they couldn't afford to forfeit the parking spaces. Now, as children make do by playing at other Valley sites, parents and players are raising funds for a roller hockey rink at the park.

"The other rinks in the area are really far away," said Lea Engle, a parent who is helping to organize the fund-raising effort. "Plus this is a park that we are all used to. It's a tightknit community where everybody knows everybody else. I'd rather have my kids in that kind of great atmosphere."

The rink, modeled after a similar one in Calabasas, is currently budgeted at about $101,000, Engle said. It will be an outdoor facility with a 10-foot fence and lights for games after dark.

Depending on the success of the fund-raising, park officials hope the rink could become the cornerstone of a multipurpose facility, with basketball courts and a batting cage.

The City Council will have the final say, but so far Engle says council members and park officials have been supportive. Nearly all funding is expected to come from private sources such as corporate and personal donations. Last weekend, a carwash netted $1,600.

"It's going to happen as soon as we get a few more of the pieces together," Engle said.

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