Good Sports: The return of the Fresno Falcons

Alec Nolan Image
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Good Sports: The return of the Fresno Falcons
For decades, the Fresno Falcons shined at Selland Arena. Now, they're making a comeback.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- While the NHL's best compete for the coveted Stanley Cup. A new iteration of the Fresno Falcons is practicing out at Cary Park. This time, on rollerblades.

In January, Fresno State grad Matt Braun decided to start up a roller hockey team.

"Moved back here and realized there is absolutely zero roller hockey here just ice hockey," Braun said.

Throughout his time playing in Southern California, Braun met North American roller hockey championship president, Daryn Goodwin.

A Visalia native and former Fresno Falcon who set the team up with some throwbacks.

"Cool to see how big the community rallies around this jersey you know because it means so much too so many people," Braun said.

There are four players on the team whose dads played for the Falcons.

"They were sort of the ones that paved the way for all of us so we decided as a tribute to them we'd go with the old green and gold jerseys," Falcons goalie Joel Heintz said.

"This is what my dad wore so, 22,"Falcons left wing JJ Barlow said.

"To be able to wear the number that is like the family number it's sweet. It's sick," Falcons center Jason Johnson said.

Only few months in, the Falcons already have some hardware.

Winning the Irvine regional at the end of April.

"It says we're on the right track," Heintz said.

"We call it the Fresno flu. We get there and then can never come home with the gold so this last time being able to get the gold it was a good feeling and hopefully we can keep it rolling," Johnson said.

The Falcons also hope to keep things rolling with an official practice facility.

"We have a surface, we have boards, we have glass, we have a rink, and basically we're just looking for a facility to put it in," Heintz said.

And Braun is eager to spread the game across the valley.

"I hope to have at least two men's teams, I want to get a youth program going, a hockey league here," Braun said.

"You get the kids playing, the game gets passed down," Heintz said.

Just as their dads passed the game down to them, the Falcons are hopeful to do the same for generations to come.

"Once you get involved in that - it's hard to leave," Johnson said.

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