Are you ready to scream for victory at the rinks?

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 8, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

If Zack Griffey happens to score during a roller hockey game over the next few months, he plans to let everyone in the building know about it. &uot;I’m going to raise my arms over my head and yell, ‘GOOOOOAL!’&uot; laughs the 10-year-old. &uot;It’s going to be exciting to score.&uot;

If he does make a large celebratory racket, Zack will only be living up to the team nickname; he’s a member of the Smithfield Screamers team, which practices from 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Monday at Smithfield Skate Limited at 200 Wimbledon Lane (357-0607).


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Griffey, who has skated with the Hampton Roads Admirals and hopes to one day play for them, prefers the skating rink’s wooden floors to the ice of Norfolk Scope. &uot;It’s a lot ‘slippier,’ and it’s hard to deal with your blades when you fall. I want to play center on this team, because you get to take people’s sticks away, and that gives you a better advantage in scoring.&uot;

For Jessie Gruber, joining the team was almost an accident. &uot;My friends and I were coming up here to skate on Mondays, and one day in July, they told us that we couldn’t get out there because they were practicing,&uot; recalls the 10-year-old Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student. &uot;They asked if I wanted to go out there, and I said no, because I had the wrong helmet and no stick. I thought I’d embarrass myself.&uot;

The next week, she was back, armed with a stick and a new helmet. &uot;I thought I’d like it, and I was right,&uot; says Gruber, the team’s only female participant (thus far). &uot;Sometimes it can be frightening, because some of them are bigger than I am. I just go out and try to intimidate them!&uot;

The team, opens to locals ages 6-15, will play against squads from Hampton, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. Every one who comes out will get a free tryout.

After the kids get through, it’s the adults’ turn. &uot;Our team is open to pretty much anyone who’s too old for the kids’ league,&uot; says Henry Edwards of Isle of Wight. The older team practices from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays and 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

&uot;This is more of a challenge than any other sport I’ve played,&uot; Edwards says. &uot;There’s more incidental contact than football or basketball, and you have to improvise a lot, because plays never go as planned. Anyone with a pair of skates and a stick can play.&uot;