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Years ago the top skaters in town played roller hockey over at the Crystal Palace ‘Little Home of Champions’ Roller Rink on North Rancho Drive. We were the head coach of an ultra-skilled group of teenagers who played both house roller and travel roller. This was a summer roller league put together by the great Larry Sanford. Our story begins….

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THE NIGHT WE LEARNED THE TRUE MEANING OF THE GAME

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – Years ago we were head coach of a roller hockey team which was playing in a house league over at the Little House of Champions Crystal Palace on North Rancho Drive. This was an unique group of teenage players – each of them ultra skilled who played the game hard and were used to winning. 

We won every game that summer and worked through the playoffs to get into the gold medal game. We had the ultimate group of skaters – some who drove hard to score, others who took mighty long distance blasts to score and if we had opposing teams trying to rough up our goal scorers we had the right kind of defensemen who could handle those situations.

For the gold medal game we brought our clipboard and before the game we discussed things like attacking the net, criss crossing in front of the goalie and outlined to our outside shooters where the right distance would be to blast away. We drew all kinds of attack plays in black sharpie.

All good.

We were ready.

Then the game started.

Not so good.

Although we were unbeaten in regular season we just could not score in the gold medal game 

With a minute to go and two goals down we called for a timeout.

During the timeout the players took off their helmets and…

Each player was crying…like really letting it go…

We turned our head towards the back of the bench and let it go too.

Teardrops fell on our clipboard where we had written five ways to win in black sharpie.

Standing there with these great players – at that very moment we learned the true meaning of what the game means to the ones who gear up and play the game.