Henderson pick-up street hockey group shut down by city as it advertises its own leagues

Pick up street hockey group shut down by City of Henderson
Posted at 7:21 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 09:18:55-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — About three years ago, a small group of Henderson residents was so inspired by the Vegas Golden Knights, they decided to get in the game themselves. But they didn't have all the equipment or the ice, so they took to the street -- or the tennis court -- instead.

"It's always been very casual, very accessible and open to all skill levels," said Rob Reed, about the group.

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While the Facebook group has grown to over 300 people, on any given night about 10-15 people show up to play.

"We're not wearing pads so we're very careful to not have any contact at all, which we don't," said Carnell Johnson, who has played with the group since it started and sings the National Anthem at Vegas Golden Knights games.

But over the past year, players say they've been faced with challenges just to be able to play the game.

"We've actually had Henderson police come out on us and say, 'Hey, we got a complaint that you guys were out there messing things up.' And we showed them that we're not," Johnson said.

"We are fully compliant," he continued. "We got permission. We reserved the courts and they let us do it for months on end. They were absolutely okay with it."

That was until Friday night when Reed and Johnson said two officials from Henderson Parks and Recreation showed up.

"[They] actually told us that they had been sent directly from the director of Parks and Recreation to shut our group down specifically," said Reed.

Reed said they were confused because they'd already gotten approval to use the courts.

"They allowed us to finish our game and said they'd be in touch," he said.

And on Monday, they were.

In an email, a City of Henderson employee wrote, "Currently floor/roller hockey are not approved sports in the State of Nevada. As such we have to ask you to refrain from such games and/or contact drills."

But according to Nevada's current guidance on sports, field hockey is approved - as long as social distancing requirements can be met.

RELATED: Nevada COVID restrictions: Restaurants, casinos operate at 50% capacity starting Monday

Reed responded, "We're just wondering how it's possible that our games are not allowed but Henderson is still taking sign-ups for a ball hockey league that's starting next week."

The City of Henderson itself is currently advertising a seven-game adult floor and roller hockey league, with play beginning April 9.

The city official responded to Reed, saying the sport is approved only through authorization from the state. If their informal group wants to play, they would have to purchase insurance, form a league with a board of directors and obtain a business license from the State of Nevada, among other things.

"I just think there's a total lack of understanding about what's going on here and how it relates to other sports that are still being played right now," said Reed.

We reached out to the City of Henderson for an interview or statement about this and have not heard back.

Reed and Johnson said they're determined to find a way to play, in the right way.

"We're going to continue to stay compliant, but we just want continuity. If you're going to tell us one thing, just make sure you keep that one thing," said Johnson.

"We're out here when it's 110 degrees. We're out here when it's raining. We're out here when the tennis players aren't. We don't really stop for anything," said Reed.