On Dec. 31, the Davis Indoor Sports Center, better known as DISC, will close its doors for good.
The owners of the building where the DISC is located – Sam, Gwen and Jeff Harrison – have struggled to keep its doors open since interest began to waver in 2001.
The DISC includes an indoor roller-skating rink as its main feature, which is used by the UCD Roller Hockey club team and other community groups. It’s one of the largest roller hockey facilities in Northern California. It also features a number of adult hockey leagues, which many UCD team members play in.
“Most guys are at the DISC anywhere from three to five times a week,” said Noah Michel, a long-time member of the UCD Roller Hockey club team. “For our situation, it was perfect. It was owned and operated by good people who looked out for us.”
The DISC once included a pro shop, a beer and wine bar and a café until April 2006, when they were converted to office space. Eventually, the south end of the building was sold to Exploit Science Center.
The Harrisons sold the rink space in April of 2006 to a group called Top Shelf, LLC, which is composed of parents who wished to see the rink remain open.
“We wanted to keep hockey in our area,” said Gary Nunes, a founder of Top Shelf. “We had no function other than hockey for the kids and adults.”
The parents relied heavily on volunteer work to keep the rink open. This year, Top Shelf finally decided that they could no longer afford to pay the lease.
“We gave it all we could,” Nunes said. “We lost a great friend and partner in Barry Landy since we started.”
Landy, another founder of Top Shelf, died in an accident in February 2007.
“It was a tough time, but we got to see our kids plus hundreds of families have a great time,” Nunes said. “We will miss it.”
The DISC is home to the Davis Inline Hockey Association, which runs the Youth Hockey program and NorCal Extreme, a group of traveling tournament-level roller hockey teams. Sam Harrison’s own grandson is a member of Extreme.
According to Nunes, the adult leagues are as strong as ever, but the younger teams have suffered.
“This could be due to the fact that Davis is not getting as many young families,” he said. “Davis closed down an elementary school last year. There may not be a team for all the kids. We as a group are currently focusing on some venues that Woodland has available.”
Sam and Gwen Harrison opened the DISC with their son, Jeff, in June of 2000. Jeff had played roller hockey in college and loved the sport.
“Playing in dilapidated venues, essentially old warehouses, gave me the impetus to launch myself into this enterprise,” said Jeff Harrison. “We founded, built and operated this business from the ground up. That was my idea and vision.”
According to Sam Harrison, the DISC did very well in 2000 after opening.
“After 9/11, though, interest just seemed to drop off and then level off,” said Sam. “It was once the sport of they day. It just didn’t grow.”
The UCD team is still looking for a new facility to practice in.
“We are working on finding a new venue,” Michel said. “It’s definitely not going to be as convenient to practice.”
The Harrisons still own the building, which is located on Second Street past Pole Line and are exploring all possibilities for its future after Top Shelf ends its lease.
“There are no concrete details at this point with anyone to lease or sell,” said Jeff.
The Harrisons also allowed Davis Special Olympics to use the facilities for free during their management of the DISC.
“It was a really good thing for a while,” said Sam.
RONNY SMITH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.