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In-line hockey arena scores big with players
Daniel Costa stands next to the glass of the Ripon Power Play Sports Arena. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
RIPON – It’s been almost two years since Daniel Costa first swung open the doors to Ripon Sports Arena – the area’s only full-sized inline hockey arena.

And it took both the closing of Lathrop’s facility and Modesto’s unwillingness to work with him to construct one of his own that brought about the opportunity for the 22-year-old former baseball player that got turned onto hockey by a childhood friend.

Things have only been getting better since then.

“Right now is our summer season and it’s supposed to be our slowest, but we just added three new teams for this season and hopefully that’ll mean for even more competition when the busiest time of year in the fall and winter,” said Costa – who is at the facility for roughly 12 hours a day running the operations. “The number of people who participate in leagues here has been rising, and that’s a really good thing to see.”

After the Lathrop site closed down, Costa figured that he could open his own facility in his hometown of Modesto. It is something that he had wanted to do ever since he first started getting competitive with his hockey.

But when the City of Modesto basically said they wanted nothing to do with it, he started looking elsewhere. He eventually landed in Ripon where he found two parcels off of Doak Boulevard that he could combine for the 26,000-plus square-foot center that currently serves the community.

Coming to Ripon, Costa said, was one of the best moves that he could have possibly made.

“They love us here, and that’s a great feeling,” Castro said. “Ripon is a very sports friendly town, and once people heard that there was going to be skating and hockey, they just started to come in on their own.

“At first it was very difficult to run a place like this – dealing with the problems that parents have and other participants – but I’ve gotten to be a lot better at that over the last two years, and things are running smoothly.”

Unfortunately however, it took tragedy to get Costa and his General Manager Pinnel into the world of hockey – watching by the wayside the friend that got them involved start to slip deeper and deeper into the world of drugs and alcohol.

Being at such a young age when the slippage started, Costa has started to realize that the exuberance of youth when it comes to the game is something that should be cherished. It is something that holds a special place in his heart whenever a youngster comes up to tell him that they’re having such a good time playing out there.

“I’ve had a few kids that tell me (they) truly love the game and being part of a team,” he said. “If I know that I can provide an outlet to keep kids off the street and away from the things that brought down my friend, it makes me happy.”

And it’s not just kids and amateurs that take to the rink at Ripon Sports Arena.

A minor league inline team – the Ripon Red Tails – recently finished third place in the nation, and the major league Ripon Savages field the best and the brightest in the game.

“We have leagues for almost every age group there – including the minor and profession levels,” Costa said. “We just want to thank Ripon for giving us such great support, and hope it continues in the feature.

Currently the rink is just past mid-season, and the fall league is scheduled to start up on Sept. 13.

Ripon Power Play Sports Arena is located at 1043 S. Acacia Street – just off of Doak Boulevard. For more information, call 599-2479, or visit