Falling in line
Like soccer, inline hockey is a sport which has been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years. And as with soccer, one of the places to be when it comes to hockey in southwestern Pennsylvania is Hot Shots Indoor Sports Arena in Mt. Pleasant. The arena offers a variety of sports for all ages, including numerous types of hockey. Now, the facility has taken its hockey programs to a new level, as its professional inline hockey team gets set to open its inaugural season this weekend.
The team, known as the PA West Inferno, will play its first game at 6 p.m. Saturday on the road when it visits the New Jersey Minutemen for a doubleheader.
Tim Davis, one of the owners of Hot Shots, serves as the Inferno's general manager. He explained that he came up with the idea of sponsoring a professional inline team after being contacted by an Erie-area man who was getting a team together.
'He mentioned that he was trying to put together a team in this league and asked if we'd be interested in doing the same thing," Davis said.
Davis said Hot Shots features some talented players in its adult hockey league, and when he discussed the idea with them, they responded well.
"One guy mentioned that he was intrigued by the idea, and he had some contacts and friends from college," Davis said.
That was Chris Duffus, now the team's director of hockey operations and also an alternate captain, along with Matt Brunk. The Inferno's captain is Evan Winstead.
The PA West Inferno will play in the Professional Inline Hockey Association, along with the Minutemen, the Philadelphia Growl, the Downingtown Rage, the Harrisburg Lunatics and the York Typhoon.
The Inferno includes players from around western Pennsylvania, with the majority of the team hailing from the Pittsburgh region.
In additional to the professional team, Hot Shots also sponsors a minor team, the Mt. Pleasant Inferno, as well as inline travel teams in various age brackets. The Mt. Pleasant Inferno's roster, like that of its professional counterpart, draws players from around the Pittsburgh area.
According to Hot Shots' web site, spots on the travel teams are still available, and two tryouts are upcoming. Tryouts will be held from 8-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, and from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. The fee is $10 per session, and the tryouts are for the Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 divisions.
For more information on any of the Inferno teams, visit the web site at www.hotshotsarena.com.