Between the National Hockey League lockout and the closing of the U.S. Ice Sports Complex, hockey players and fans are starting to worry over no hockey. The Belleville, Fairview and Swansea hockey community is being affected because the local youth, high school and college teams have to find other rinks in the area to practice and host games.
As a Belleville East hockey player, our practices have been moved to Granite City at 9 most nights. This means we aren't getting home until at least 11 on school nights. Also, all of our games are going to have to be played at Granite City or the East Alton-Wood River ice rinks. With these late games and practices, it is hard to stay focused the following day at school because we couldn't get to bed until midnight at the earliest. There are several other high school teams that are affected by the shutdown of Fairview. Those include: Collinsville, Columbia, Triad, Althoff, Belleville West, O'Fallon and Freeburg.
With the NHL lockout ongoing, the closest hockey that is available is in Peoria, which is three hours north of here. The way the economy is, it is hard to save enough money for the overnight trip. The trip costs are going to include gas, meals, hotel, tickets to the game and food at the game. If McKendree was still able to play at Fairview, the hockey withdrawal wouldn't be so bad.
I am sure that I am not the only one having these issues with hockey, not just at the professional level, but at the youth and college levels as well. The hockey fans that I have talked to about this have a positive attitude that everything will get resolved.