Rolling back into action

ROLLER skating is set to make a comeback in Armidale with the opening of a skating rink at the Armidale Sport and Recreation Centre, just in time for school holidays.

The rink, which is set to open on Saturday, June 30, measures around 600 square metres and replaces the centre’s indoor cricket courts. It has been six years since a roller-skate rink was in Armidale.

Owner Wayne Clarkson said although the centre already boasted ten-pin bowling and a play area for children, he felt there was a need to develop something else for Armidale’s teenagers.

“There was a niche there to get something there for the slightly older kids,” he said.

Mr Clarkson said he thought the renewed interest in roller-skating was inspired by the growing popularity of roller derby, a sport that was last popular in the 1970s but has recently had a comeback.

“Roller derby is actually partly responsible for the resurgence, I think,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest growth sports in the world at the moment.”

The Armidale Sport and Recreation Centre previously had a roller-skating rink but it was removed in 2006 by the centre’s former owners.

Mr Clarkson said when he originally put the idea to bring back the rink to the public via the centre’s Facebook page, he received a massive response.

“Armidale sort of spoke and said this is what they wanted,” he said. “It’s really been driven by people out there.”

The centre will also boast a pro skate shop and is looking for expressions of interest from people wanting to participate in roller derby, roller hockey or inline hockey.

The rink will hold two sessions each day from 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm during school holidays, which will revert to weekends once school recommences.

Mr Clarkson said he also has plans for night-time disco sessions and skaters will also be able to drop by during opening hours for private practive.

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