Ice sports booming at ‘The Lot’

Learn to Skate classes are in full swing at the Lancerlot Sports Complex (The Lot). There is a full schedule of ice skating activities every day of the week.
Public skating is available to the community several days each week at a minimal fee and with skates to rent.
The Valley Youth Hockey Association (house and travel) competes at The Lot throughout the week. In this game, a Junior Rail Yard Dawgs team faced youth from Greenville, S.C.

When Penalty Box Partners made a $3 million investment in renovations to the Lancerlot Sports Complex, they didn’t just envision occasional ice hockey games for college teams, adult leagues, and a practice venue for the Rail Yard Dawgs.

They also planned to bring a second sheet of ice to the community at large with open public skating and skating lessons for children, youth, and adults.

They have followed through with a packed schedule involving the ice rink most of the day, most days of the week. It is not necessary to be a member of what is coming to be known as “The Lot” to skate there. (Although they do have membership packages that include use of the ice rink along with the entire fitness and aquatic center.)

For instance, on Saturday, January 5, the ice rink schedule started at 5:30 a.m. with Drop In Hockey, Freestyle Skating at 7:15, Valley Youth Hockey Association (VYHA) Learn to Skate classes at 9 a.m., a VYHA U8 game at 10:15, and public skating from noon to 3 p.m. There were two Junior Rail Yard Dawgs (JRYD) games in the afternoon, a Stick and Puck session, and more public skating at 8 p.m.

The next day, a Sunday, started out with youth travel team games, with JRYD teams taking on youth from Greenville, S.C.

The families of the Roanoke youth are most grateful for an additional practice and competition venue for their children. The Greenville parents applauded the venue, but also the sportsmanship and “clean play” exhibited by the JRYD youth.

Penalty Box Partners have kept their promise to improve the local economy in renovating “The Lot.” Several of the Greenville followers had eaten breakfast before the game in Vinton restaurants, shopped at Kroger, and wished for a hotel in town as well.

The Lot Ice Calendar offers something for almost everyone. There is freestyle figure skating, adult league games, practice by the Virginia Tech Hockey team, and college competitions.

The Lot is the official home of the Virginia Tech Hokies hockey team. In January, Virginia Tech will play North Carolina State (Jan. 11), North Carolina (Jan. 12), Virginia (Jan. 18), JMU (Jan. 19), George Washington Jan. 25), and Delaware (Jan. 26). Spectators are welcome.

The Radford University Highlanders club hockey team also practices and compete at The Lot.

Two adult ice hockey leagues are available– A-League, the Roanoke Valley Adult Hockey Association, is designed for intermediate to advanced players; B-League, the Roanoke No Check Hockey League is for novice to intermediate players.

Learn to Skate classes for all ages teach fundamentals of skating, and lay the foundation for figure skating, hockey, and speed skating. There are Snowplow Sam classes for ages 4 and 5, Children’s Basic 1 and 2 classes for ages 6 to 14, and Adult Basic 1 and 2 classes for ages 15 and up.

The Lot offers Learn to Skate figure skating throughout the year and freestyle sessions daily.

The Valley Youth Hockey Association provides competitive youth hockey (both house and travel) for 5- to 18-year-old boys and girls.

Broomball and Curling are “coming soon,” along with ice skating parties.

According to fitness experts, ice skating isn’t just fun— it’s a fun way to get an intensive workout.

Ice skating improves balance and joint flexibility, builds leg muscles and endurance, provides a great cardio workout, burns an estimated 300-650 calories an hour, and provides stress relief.

Ice skating is said to be more beneficial than cycling and running. It works almost every major muscle group and joint in the body while being low impact.

More information on skating opportunities at the Lancerlot and The Lot Ice Calendar are available online at

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