Street Roller Hockey Is Alive And Well in Perth
The worst roller hockey league in the world is legit.
Having grown up as a skateboarder in the early 2000’s, some of my first memories of roller-bladers include but are not limited to the following:
- ridiculously saggy pants that expose on average ¾ of the butt
- most likely shirtless to show how much they mean business
- headphones permanently in to demonstrate detachment from socializing
- roller-blades just barely hanging onto feet by one scrap of a shoelace for full-loose-credit
Thankfully, in 2014, this breed is all but extinct save for that one sketchy dude at your local skatepark still doing shitty flyout-grab-the-side-of-the-boot whatever the fuck moves. Nowadays, we have the excellent Street Roller Hockey League based out of Perth to restore the tarnished blader image to its full potential glory.
SRHL was founded in June 2013 by proud Hamersley resident Eamonn Lourey, when he was looking for an excuse to create ice hockey merchandise to celebrate his oft-overlooked Northern Suburbs gem of a locale. Inspired by the neighbourhood identities of cities in the United States, Lourey set about with the aid of social media to foster a community not exclusively constrained to Western Australia’s cultural hub centres of inner-city Perth and Fremantle. With the depressingly wide spread of low density housing punctuated here and there with a Centro shopping complex occupying the vast majority of space to the north of our now bustling city centre, the SRHL was able to create a way for a bunch of people to get together on the weekends to play decidedly average roller hockey and drink a few of our states, nay, our nations finest drop; Emu Export.
I was able to have a chat with Eamonn ahead of the SRHL’s sophomore season finals playoffs on July 19, when Claremont showgrounds will be taken over for several grudge matches of nail-biting, slightly better than usual roller hockey, along with live bands, 90s makeovers and plenty of Red Cans.
Let’s start with the first game I managed to catch this season: the Floreat Flamingos taking on the Doubleview Double Yewws in an abandoned carpark a couple weeks back. With the scores tied after the final car horn sounded you went to a Golden Goal type overtime shoot-out, where you were the hero by scraping the winning hit into the back of the stolen milk crates acting as goals.
What I'm asking is, are SRHL games usually that exciting or did I inadvertently happen to see the best match of the season?
Oh the memories. Extremely average amateur roller hockey is usually pretty exciting to watch. In the 2014 season, approximately 184 of the total 200 players over the 23 suburban teams have never played ice or inline hockey before. This has resulted in a total lack of any skill and an even poorer knowledge on how hockey is supposed to be played. Consequently, this has given birth to a visual spectacle that has multiple big stacks, missed pucks and ripper goal celebrations each and every game. As long as the players are having fun and drinking Emu Export, the games are more than likely going to be fun to watch.
The Doubleview Double Yewws do hockey right. They play in an abandoned carpark, wear double denim as a uniform and routinely bring 50-odd supporters to home games. They pump jams out of an industrial radio and treat everyone to F-grade sausage sizzles and cold bush-chooks. You probably caught one of the greatest games in our short history.
As a follow on from that question, are there usually that many females present at matches or was that just because the Double Yewws dress all in denim, thereby making themselves irresistible?
The Yewws have taken the sleepy favela slums of Doubleview by storm. Doubleview as a suburb are sick of being the accidental pre-cum little brother to Scarborough. They want to transform into something beautiful. It takes a special bunch of guys (and girl) to take the suburb onto their shoulders and carry them to glory. As word is slowly spreading, the Yewws are becoming more and more popular within their neighbourhood. Residents see the Yewws as a beacon of hope. Double denim has become the traditional dress of choice and women are lining up to be seen with the infamous Yewws thus killing all other teams in terms of female attendance.
Give us a quick lowdown on the progress SRHL has made from it’s debut to sophomore seasons - any marked improvements in playing skills or Emu Export drinking abilities?
Playing skills have increased tenfold. This is mainly because we all really sucked last year. This season I can now skate backwards and use both sides of my hockey stick. I’d like to think I’m now at the level of a 3 year old Canadian kid. Last season I probably had the skill levels of a 3-month old Canadian foetus. That’s 3 and half years of improvement in 12 months. We are all improving rapidly but are still pretty lousy enough at the sport that newbie’s can join in and not look out of place.
In terms of Export drinking, all teams have been sportsing pretty hard, putting in the hard yards on the track, ya’know, taking it one week at a time, not getting ahead of ourselves. As Coach Bombay will say in the upcoming blockbuster ‘Mighty Ducks 4: Street Roller Hockey League’: “take care of the processes and the results will look after themselves.” Footy clichés aside, Emu Export drinking abilities and possibly sales have increased.
The final matches are going to be played as part of a 90s Street Hockey Rollerdrome Rave Party (EVENT HERE) on July 19, with a bunch of teams vying for the top and bottom spot in this years competition. Any hot tips as to who’s going to take out both positions?
The "90s Street Hockey Rollerdrome Rave Party" is the second installment of our Hockeyfest playoff party series. Last October we had 200 odd punters watching 3 games of hockey on the old Myer Rooftop in Fremantle. In the grand final, the Padbury Pingers got up over the Innaloo Penguins in overtime. Local bands Doctopus, Cow Parade Cow (R.I.P!), Red Mexico and a rad bush doof DJ that I have forgotten the name of provided the soundtrack to the puck slapping action.
This year we are building a DIY hockey rink out of old pallets and MDF boards in the Ellie Eaton Pavilion at the Claremont Showgrounds. Kicking off at 4pm will be two semi finals between the 4 best suburban franchises of 2014. Perth musical outfits Aborted Tortoise, Golden Slums and a hip hop jam band will be playing on a stage overlooking the rink and crowd during these two games.
If the SRHL was on SportsBet, I would put a sneaky multi on the Parkwood Predators, West Leederville Wobbegongs, GMLA Guardians and Mindarie Molotovs to be there on that one day in July.
The Wooden Spoon Death Match teams are 110% locked in with 2 rounds left in the season. The Mullaloozers (from Mullaloo) have 0 wins from their first 10 games whilst Melville Massiv have won 1 game from 10. Their only win came against the hapless Mullaloozers 9-7 back in April.
It’s pretty much the worst two roller hockey teams playing in the world’s worst roller hockey league. The visual disasterpiece on the rink will be accompanied by local slacker noise rockers and unofficial band of the league Doctopus, who are playing the show as part of their tour of Perth to launch their new album ‘Wobbegong’.
The night will wrap up with DJs Jack Doepel and Andrew Sinclair spinning 90s bangers as the punters get down and dirty on the rink.
Other activities during the day/night include Dr Snippys cutting hair rink-side, a facepaint/hair crimping/90s makeover station, a cash bar, pulled pork sangas, a merch tent featuring limited edition SRHL team jerseys and a special Perthonality singing the national anthem.
When can we expect a return of the self appointed Worst Roller Hockey League in the world?
Having currently exhausted Perth’s street hockey equipment supply, we’ll be opening up a pop-up shop sometime in August for interested players to purchase street sticks, blades, wheels and pucks. It will also act as a team and player registration base for new and existing teams wanting to join Perth’s best semi-organised sporting league. We’ll have NHL 1999 on PlayStation 1 and the Mighty Ducks trilogy on repeat in the shop just for general hangs.
Season 2014b is set to start in September culminating in early December with yet another stupidly fun Hockeyfest playoff party.