November 29th, 2010, 05:07 PM #1
Ice Journey - Sacramento (Skatetown)
For some reason I have been travelling frequently, work and life have dictated a strange travel schedule. I thought I would take the time to chronicle my journeys to rinks as a move around the state or states.
Sacramento, Skatetown (actually Roseville if you want to get technical)
Details: Two NHL size Rinks, a cafe with decent fast food style food, a big screen TV with NHL games playing, and a really nice common area lobby. This rink has a pro shop comparable to the one at TSC but with a bit more square footage and open layout. Everything is Sharks colors.
My first trip was a 90 minute stick time, to really get a feel for the place.
The first thing I noticed was the smell of this place, it smelled like cookies? WTF? A hockey rink that doesn't smell like ass and sweat. The flooring is all skateproof matting but it had a cool pattern in it and it ran throughout the entire place. The check-in area was a lot more in your face think hotel check-in not TSA scanners.
The next thing, and perhaps the thing that stands out the most is the service, the people were NICE. You could tell the girls were figure skaters and the boys were all young Hockey Groms. They saw my Riptide bag and immediately started asking where I was from and if I was available for pickup the next day. There was a sense of excitement about working at the rink.
Next I noticed the pro shop, where the prices were way more in line with HockeyMonkey and the other websites. The owner was a working guy named Glen in his late 50's who looked like he had sharpened 50,000 skates by hand with a wetstone, but was a seriously knowledgeable and nice guy. There was a big sign that says "we match any online price". I was impressed with the quanitity of gear he had. Sticks from the s3 all the way to the s19 grip, bauer and warrior sticks, really a nice pro shop.
Nature called and I found myself in a bathroom that looked like a mall bathroom, was really well taken care of and I wouldn't be mentioning if not for the DYSON RAZOR hand dryer. You put your hands in and dries your friggin hands in about 10 seconds. It's a bit unnerving how fast the air moves in this thing.
The locker rooms were entirely made out of pressed aluminum, similar to that of a truck bed and then finished in chrome, its a cool effect but it makes you feel like your in a big metal box (because you are) the locker rooms were really cramped (which I found out about during pickup).
The ice was magical. I have been to many rinks and this one blew my mind, newer zamboni's and a 3 month old surface, combined with a 30 degree outdoor temprature made for some of the fastest ice I have ever skated on. After they cut the ice, I was reluctant to jump on because of the shine (which I assumed was the ice still being wet) upon closer inspection it was dry but almost mirror like. It was the best ice I have ever put a skate on. The puck moved very well, the ice was hard but not too hard and the boards and rink itself didn't have any major flaws (pucks kicking out of the boards etc etc).
This stick time had the most people I have ever seen on one sheet of ice, some were teammates, some were kids with their dads or coaches and there were even a few guys just goofing around doing 1 on 1 drills. There was a lot of camaraderie, and I got in on some passing drills and people gathered around one net to try and hit the post. It was a lot of fun. A far cry from my stick time that has maybe 4 anti-social people on it at once.
Pickup was fun, I expected that a big city would bring out quite a few players who were above average, I was wrong, it was much more "beer pickup" than anything competitive. The group was very friendly and talkative on the bench, people were looking for tips, experienced players were giving them and everyone was having a good time.
I assume that the holiday probably kept a few of the better local skaters off the ice, all in all it was fun but not comparable to TSC pickup.
Overall the rink was very memorable. The ice was exceptional and the people were really social and fun. If you get a chance and your in the area check out Skatetown.
November 29th, 2010, 06:06 PM #2
Very much appreciated! I will be in the San Jose area in June, so I will check this place out.
I think this is a great idea, by the way. If any of us ever gets to any out of town rinks, it would be cool to get a write up of the facility. I will be in Phoenix for the Dec.29 game, and am planning to visit a couple of the rinks there.