Hockey Down South: A Profile of The Savannah Roller Hockey League

min - read
Ponné Thrift
min - read
If you only have a few minutes to spare, here's what you should know:
The Savannah Roller Hockey League was formed five years prior to professional hockey coming to Savannah, Georgia.
A league built around camaraderie, the SRHL strives to be an outlet where their players can come and relax without worrying about presenting themselves any specific type of way.
The SRHL raised $15,000 USD to resurface the community roller hockey rink at Lake Mayer in Savannah, Georgia.

The Savannah Roller Hockey League Profile

Savannah, GA — When the ECHL knocked on Savannah’s door, this city showed up. It shattered the ECHL home sellout record and put themselves into a position where it was asked to host the 2023-24 All-Star Classic.

This city proved time and time again that its little slice of Georgia was a hockey town.

Now, what if I told you this hockey culture was nothing new for the city of Savannah? Five years before the Savannah Ghost Pirates planted their flag into the city, another hockey league blossomed into something special at the heart of the hostess city.

Enter the Savannah Roller Hockey League.

I spoke with Jason Greninger, president and owner of the SRHL, about the league, which is finishing its ninth season. Greninger broke down everything from their yearly drafts to the time the league helped raise $15,000 USD to resurface the community roller hockey rink.

The SRHL was founded five years ago when a husband-and-wife duo was stationed in the Savannah area. What started as pickup roller hockey quickly became a four-team league with approximately 30-40 players. Over the years, that number grew as more people heard about the league and looked to get involved.

As they finish their ninth season, they have reached 10 teams and approximately 130 participants league-wide.

The SRHL finals were played on June 4th. There the Carolina Purple Cobras took the match with a final score of 7-4 over the Wilmington Wolf Pack. Carolina now replaces the Moon River Otters as the reigning SRHL champions.

Greninger noted that the league's growth is partly due to how accessible roller hockey is. While most ice hockey leagues would require upwards of $300 USD to join, the SRHL only asks for a donation of $25 USD to help cover the cost of pucks, referee supplies, and their website’s upkeep.

“Word of mouth is huge for our league as well,” Greninger told Hockey of Tomorrow. “I get text messages and phone calls every day about new people learning that we have hockey down in Savannah and them wanting to join.”
Photo by the SRHL
SRHL game happening throughout the day.

The league's goals

The SRHL focuses primarily on its players and the camaraderie built through playing hockey together. One way this league helps ensure that its players are always meeting new people inside the league is by hosting a yearly draft.

Greninger explained that every year the league has two seasons. The league ceases play from June until August, which can count as their off-season, and they begin each year with a full redraft of every team. They host a night with everyone together and make their selections for the first season of the league year. For the second season of each league year, the captain, and three other players, will stay on each club as the remaining players are selected once more via a draft process.

“Once every year we host these big draft parties,” Greninger said to Hockey of Tomorrow. “We will rent out a whole restaurant and invite everybody there. Everyone goes back into the draft pool which will mix up the teams completely. It gives people the chance to play with people they have not played with before and helps people find new friends in the league. Instead of just hanging out with the same guys every week; now you are with a different group which helps broaden your chemistry.”

One of the reasons for this process is to aid in what Greninger states the focus of the league is: to bring everyone together and have a good time.

“We have all walks of life that play for us,” Greninger said. “Everything from ER doctors and lawyers to people just living paycheck by paycheck, and everyone comes together out there. Hockey is a way of life for these guys. Especially for the army guys where they get to step away from everyday duty and just hang out without having to worry about presenting themselves in any certain way.”

Greninger went on to explain how this league provides its participants the chance to get away from everyday life and just have some fun with everyone. He spoke about how this community works as an outlet that helps people decompress and how they can come together from any walk of life and just be themselves.

One of the notes I found most interesting when researching this league was about the Lake Mayer roller hockey rink resurfacing project.

A few years back, the founder of the SRHL was looking to improve upon the Lake Mayer roller rink, so the league helped raise $15,000 USD to purchase the paints needed and hire a company that sanded down the rink and repainted the surface with fresh acrylic paints.

The SRHL uses the rink for its games and practices and it is also a staple of Lake Mayer Park in Savannah. The rink is open to the public and is used by the city's youth roller hockey and derby individuals.

Although the league was not formed specifically due to the region, the city of Savannah adopted its culture in a rapid manner. Whether it was other military personnel stationed nearby, Savannah natives, or transplants down on the Georgia coastline did not matter; the SRHL became a taste of what hockey culture in this city could look like.

Looking at the city now, with its annual collegiate hockey classic and budding ECHL success, you would be remiss not to look back towards the SRHL as one of the key contributing factors to help to grow the game down in South Georgia.

Savannah Players

Pro Players