by Alphaville Herald on 10/03/09 at 1:00 pm
Second Life Hockey Association Is Now Global Online Hockey Association
by Alessandra Narayan
Do you love hockey? Do you want to cross check other avatars into the boards here in Second Life? If so, you should visit Jack Belvedere’s sim and give it a try. You might end up absolutely in love – like so many others.
Jack Belvedere is the founder of Second Life’s Hockey Association and runs a sim – paid for from his own pocket – in the name of his love and true passion for the game.
Even is you have never laced up a pair of skates, Jack wants you to be able to play hockey. His work is starting to pay off as the sport attracts a rising number of fans and players.
Jack took a few minutes away from the sharpening skates and running the Zamboni machine to tell us of exciting news – including a hockey league name change after to a meeting with Linden Lab and an alliance with the Second Life Cable Network.
Alessandra Narayan (AN) – When did hockey start in SL?
Jack Belvedere (JB) –I started the league in 2006, had come to Second Life in late 2004 and had been exploring. There was a rink here in world, but no active group. Being a big hockey fan, I got an itch one day to go ahead and make an active league here.
AN – You've founded hockey in SL?
JB – I believe there used to be an active league here, at a place called Spittonie Isle, before my arrival here but yes I started the SL Hockey Association.
AN – Is it expensive to run hockey in SL or do you have sponsors?
JB – It is sometimes expensive. Katia and I pay all the sim costs here. The league itself has no income, or salaries for members, it is 100% on a volunteer basis.
AN – How many hockey players are there in SL?
JB – We have about 75 active players right now, possibly more. I lose track. We have 9 teams, 3 divisions. North American has 5 teams, European has 3 and Farm division, for our rookies, has 2 teams.
AN – Do you feel hockey in SL has been growing?
JB – Yes. We have some major expansions coming up and just changed our name, after meetings with Linden Labs, and SLCN which is the Second Life Cable Network. They air our games on Sundays. The league named just changed to Global Online Hockey Association. So, the last week has been a bit busy as we're making that transition.
AN – How did you get the venture with LL and SLCN?
JB – Everything there is still pending, and it's a venture with SLCN. They have been here now for some time with us, broadcasting our games. We actually now provide our own announcers.
AN – It's a big move?
JB – Yes, there's a few pending issues to be covered, and then we're going to be expanding throughout Second Life and beyond, so it's a pretty amazing venture.
AN – Expensive too?
JB – I don't think so. We will still cover costs of the sim, which is the big expense. We spend a bit on textures, website space, server space, etc, but we enjoy doing it.
AN – Passion for the game speaks higher?
JB – Yes, exactly! Basically we want to provide a free-to-play place for people in here. All the equipment is free, groups are free, no fees attached to anything.
AN – What are your main competitors?
JB – Well, I can't say we really have a competitor per se. There are two other (that I know of ) hockey leagues in here. Much smaller. We have some players who play in all 3.
AN – And what about other sports? What's hockey dimension compared to others?
JB – I am not sure on that, unfortunately I have little time to visit the other sporting events. The hockey is pretty time consuming. So I'm not sure on the comparison.
AN – But you're happy with the number of players?
JB – Yes, very. In fact, we have to expand the number of teams next season. We have a couple teams who have so many on the rosters this season that there's more bench time than we'd like to see. I like for everyone to get as much ice time as possible.