Apex Center in Wythe County completes first hockey season

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – Wythe County’s Apex Center took up a new role this year as the home for the Blue Ridge Bobcats, and after their first season, county leaders said they cannot wait to see what is next.

“It was a really fantastic first year from the county’s perspective,” said Matthew Hankins, deputy county administrator for Wythe County. “It has made an economic impact for the county.”

Hankins said it was not easy getting everything set for the season.

“This time last year, the hockey floor behind me was still a dirt floor,” Hankins said.

He said now that the season is over, they know what is up next on their to-do list.

“We’re installing new seats, so the seats that are in here will go away,” said Hankins. “We are going to have seats that are much closer to the ice, and they’ll be on a steeper rise, so everybody is going to be closer to the action.”

They said while at the beginning of the season, there were not as many fans as they were hoping, by the end of the season, it was getting loud almost every game.

“They’ve been very loud, and with the new seating we have coming in next season, the people are going to be closer to the ice,” said Vojtech Zemlicka, the head coach of the Blue Ridge Bobcats. “It’s going to get even louder.”

I talked to the executive vice president of the team, and he told me for the turnaround being so fast, he was happy with the results.

“The fans got more boisterous throughout the season, and it was a great place to play,” said Jimmy Millikin. “The players love playing here. We put goals in place and we strive for those goals and hit them, and we feel good about season two coming up”

They said next year, the goal is to bring even more events to the Apex Center.

About the Author

Thomas grew up right here in Roanoke and is a graduate of Salem High School and Virginia Tech.

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