|Bellmore Merrick Roller Hockey Alumni||
History of the BMYA/BMRH
The Bellmore Merrick Youth Association (BMYA)
Roller Hockey league was founded in 1980 by Billy June Sr., Ted & Maxine
Manara and a other parents of the Bellmore and Merrick community. At the start,
the BMYA Roller Hockey League would have its games on the basketball courts of
Newbridge Road Elementary School which was located at 1620-1644 Bellmore Road, Bellmore NY 11710.
In the early years, due to conditions of the playing surface, many games were played at night at the roller hockey rink in Eisenhower Park which was located in East Meadow, NY. The BMYA Roller Hockey League played games at Eisenhower Park from 1980-1986 and during that time the league was hard at work trying to secure a full time home as it became a fixture in the Bellmore community.
In 1985 the Board of Directors of BMYA Roller Hockey were able to secure a 99 year lease of the land where the basketball courts were located and surrounding grounds for the league to play its games on. In 1986 the parents of the league with the help of the young players started to raise funds to build a rink to call their own through candy sales and other fund raisers. With very little grant money obtained, hard work and dedication from parents like Bob Quinn, Ted Manara and Adam Albirico Sr. were instrumental in helping the league build the rink that is still played on today. With the assistance of other parents and players, the rink was completed in 1987.
Once the rink was built and completed, the BMYA Roller Hockey leagues popularity grew to levels no one in the community ever imagined. If you missed a season registration, you were likely put on a waitlist to play. The leagues popularity was so big it drew the likes famous NHL stars of the NY Islanders like Bob Nystrom, Brian Trottier, Clark Gillies and in later years David Volchok and Derrick King to visit the rink to work with the kids and to attend the awards dinners as invited guests which were so large filled the grand ballroom at the Long Island Marriott.
As the League continued throughout the years and to continue to grow, the BMYA was dropped and the roller hockey league became what it is known by today, Bellmore Merrick Roller Hockey Association (BMRH.) That brought new opportunities to the players in league. The best Players were selected for a travel teams and divisional teams were able to play games against neighboring towns like Rockville Centre in exhibitions. In 1994 the BMRH travel team took 3rd place at the US Nationals in Roller Hockey Tournament, which was located in Cherry Hill New Jersey. In later years, BMRH teams made trips to the Nationals and have had successful tournament runs.
The BMRH has seen thousands of kids over the 30 years of existence and a few of the past players in the league and local residents of Bellmore and Merrick even made the cross over to ice hockey and were eventually drafted to the NHL. One such local Bellmore resident and former BMRH player Matt Gilroy currently plays for the NY Rangers.
The league continues to thrive today after 30 years of being in the community of Bellmore and Merrick. With the continued support of the parents, the current Board of Directors and with the help of the Alumni Association, the BMRH is ready to take on the next 30 years with great success.