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Ice hockey in Central Arkansas heating up | News

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Ice hockey in Central Arkansas heating up
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It's a sport that you don't usually hear much about in the South, but there is one ice hockey team in Central Arkansas that is heating up the rink.

They call themselves the Rusty Blades and it's all about comradery and having fun with these players. However, the team does face some challenges.

The Arkansas Skatium in Little Rock is one of just two places available in the entire state of Arkansas to practice the sport of ice hockey.

Despite the restrictions, the Rusty Blades have grown. They started with approximately 10 members in 2006 and now they boast almost 100 players.

"We started with a bunch of hockey parents and we just grew from there," says team coordinator Simone Bellamy. "Right now we've got the president of Entergy Corporation all the way down to construction workers, doctors, nurses, you name it, we've got them." 

The Rusty Blades is made up of players of all ages, from adults to youth ages 4-17. Everyone, no matter what your skill level, is welcome to join.

"I didn't even know there was ice hockey here until my brother told me about it," says player Ryan Battisto. "It took a lot of convicing to get me to come out here but man, I love it. I feel at home on the ice."

Unfortunately the league will be ending two weeks earlier than usual this summer due to the fact that the Arkansas Skatium is  closing for extensive surface and refrigeration repair. The arena will close Sunday September 11 at 10:00pm and should reopen on Friday, September 23.

The Rusty Blades will be back on the ice in October.

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