Roller Hockey On The Rise In The Triangle
Posted January 9, 2002 4:22 a.m. EST
MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Ever since the Carolina Hurricanes skated into town a few years ago, the sport of hockey has been on the rise in the Triangle. That is especially true with children. One local man is teaching youngsters how to play hockey, but without the ice.
In the South, most kids play sports like basketball or soccer, but the kids in Morrisville don skates and grab a stick to play roller hockey. They are learning the sport from Jake Plancon, a former professional roller hockey player who now shares his love for roller hockey with kids in the Triangle.
"Working with the little kids is the best. There's nothing quite like little kids coming off after scoring their first goal or committing their first penalty," he said.
Roller hockey is not just for boys. One of Jake's most talented players is a girl. Charlotte Nicholson started playing roller hockey when she was just seven years old. Now at 14, she plays on five different teams.
"Everyone at the rink knows Charlotte. She's a great player, a very skilled player well beyond her years," said Plancon.
The number of girls in roller hockey is small, but on the rise. Nicholson said in a game, there is not much difference between the girls and boys.
"Once you put the helmet on, everything's the same," she said.
In addition to skating and puck handling, the kids also learn skills that come in handy off the rink.
"Along with sportsmanship, the kids are learning to deal with other kids and interact with other kids in a team atmosphere," he said.
Plancon said he loves coaching the kids.
"The smile on their face or the tear coming from their eye, that's the rewarding part about being a coach," he said.
One of Coach Plancon's former students recently tried out for Team USA, and was invited to training camp. If your kids are interested in playing roller hockey, you can call the Carolina Sportsplex in Morrisville at