Hockey is Family Affair for Helms
Hockey has become a way of life for John Helm and his family. Four years ago, their ice hockey journey actually began on wheels and concrete, at Youth Inc.’s inline hockey league in Bellevue, now known as BLAST Roller Hockey.
The Helms are not alone. Ten other BLAST Roller Hockey families have leveraged their inline hockey skills to take on ice hockey. Thirteen BLAST Roller Hockey players made travel and all-star ice hockey teams this season (three in their first season of ice hockey).
John Helm and his wife Dawn moved to Nashville in 2014 after living in Chicago for 20 years. They were introduced to inline hockey by their mortgage broker Michael Brown who inaccurately assumed their three boys must be hockey players since they moved here from Chicago. They were not hockey players but were intrigued.
Surprised by the low cost of entry for inline hockey, the Helms signed their two oldest sons up for BLAST Roller Hockey. Most of the equipment they found used at Play it Again Sports. Inline skates were purchased at East Nashville’s Asphalt Beach. The affordability factor made investigating and learning the sport of hockey a lot easier and accessible to the Helms and many other BLAST families. In addition, the outdoor roller hockey rink was within 10 minutes of their home in Horseshoe Bend and just a stone’s throw from Warner Parks, Ensworth and Highway 100.
Dawn Helm recalls how nervous she was for her boys, as they couldn’t seem to skate across the rink without falling. By the end of the season, both of their boys were skating comfortably on the outdoor rink and around their neighborhood. Their youngest son followed a couple years later as many beginners in the league do with a “Learn to Skate” clinic taught by Coach Jeff Fox, who has been involved in the league for 20 years.
After two years of BLAST Roller Hockey, the two older Helms boys moved their roller hockey skills over and started playing ice hockey for the first time. Completing just one season of NYHL house league ice hockey, the two tried out and made travel ice hockey teams for the 2017 season.
Today, Ben Helm (age 12) plays for the Nashville Flyers Pee Wee A2 team and Grayson Helm (age 10) plays for the Predator Select AA team. Drew Helm (age 7) plays house league ice hockey for NYHL.
“Our experience at BLAST Roller Hockey, prepared my boys to move into ice hockey smoothly,” John Helm reflects. “This winter season there are 7 travel ice players that got their start playing inline hockey with BLAST Roller Hockey. In addition, this season we had 6 BLAST inline players playing house league ice hockey try out and make the NYHL All-Star team. That shows the level of coaching and commitment that BLAST has provided our families.”
Another BLAST parent from one travel ice family said, “Inline hockey has really given the kids a foundation for skating and the game of ice hockey. There was some transition with learning how to skate on ice. But really, learning hockey through inline, I think, has really helped them be better ice hockey players. A lot of the skills are the same. [Roller hockey] is a great way to practice skating in the spring and fall before ice hockey season starts.”
As we all wait for the new ice center at Bellevue One Place, try out Blast Roller Hockey to sharpen your hockey skills for 25-40% of the cost of area ice hockey leagues this Spring.
Spring Registration is open for Blast Roller Hockey. All regular season games will be in Bellevue at the inline rink located at McPherson Drive across the parking lot from the BSAA baseball and softball fields.
Affordable fees: FREE for those born in 2012 and younger, 8 & under only $55, and ages 9-17 only $110. Register now at www.youthinchockey.com
For more information, please feel free to contact John Helm at email@example.com and 847-312-5077. John is a member of the Board of Directors for Youth Incorporated and is passionate about helping build children into tomorrow’s leaders through sports.