The High Country Hockey grassroots development plan is used as a template for the USIHA to create new players. In the fall of 1998, the only inline hockey being played in the small community of Sonora, California was a pick up game out behind the neighborhood supermarket. Within three years High Country Hockey founder and USIHA director Ric Garcia, developed a 300-player recreation league, a new indoor arena, and a forty- five-team travel league known as the Sierra Inline Hockey League. All started with two kids in a parking lot.
In our plan to expand the consumer base, the USIHA has adopted and refined many of the successes practiced in the development of the High Country Hockey program. We will make our presence felt in rural towns, sprawling suburbs, and inner cities, where thousands of potential players are waiting to enjoy the many attributes that playing inline hockey has to offer. However, the notion that “If you build it they will come” is not enough. Though the USIHA believes our game to be comparable in value to any other team sport played in America, we make this statement knowing full well we are competing in the market place. We realize that future and existing players are consumers with a variety of choices where to spend their recreation dollar. To insure the game’s expansion and prosperity we will compete for their business by marketing the sport of Inline Hockey as an accessible and quality recreation option to the consumer.
The USIHA has the programs, the experience, and the proven formula to do so.
(Ice vs. Roller) We know Ice hockey to be a completely different game. In terms of competing for the consumer dollar we see it as no different than soccer. Some aspects of roller hockey’s appeal may seem to the untrained observer to be the same or similar to that of ice hockey, but the experience of playing is much different. This is not to compare the quality of the sports, only to state that they are essentially two different customers. To market them as in the same immediate family or subordinate to the other is to miss the sale. The USIHA understands the wants, needs, and nuances of the inline hockey player. We’ve played both and have made our choice.