Leesville club hockey

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Junior hockey player, Noah Fitzsimons and Cooper Macdonell [attends Apex Friendship] pictured holding up a poster after the first game of the season. Fitzsimons and his teammates are excited for what the hockey season has to offer. (Photo used by permission of Noah Fitzsimons)

Hockey players in the Triangle area could only compete on travel teams, until everything changed last year. In April of 2023, the Triangle Hockey League organization was created. 

At the time, there were only 13 high schools involved; now, there are 18 different public and private high schools that have club hockey teams.

These new club hockey teams have given students the opportunity to represent their high school on the ice.

“School hockey is better than travel because there’s a huge student section and there’s a lot more to play for,” said Noah Fitzsimons, junior.

Some students have been able to try the sport without having to commit to a competitive travel team. 

Mac Crocker, who is in his first year of playing hockey, shares what it’s like to be a part of the hockey team. “It’s fun and it’s a good experience,” said Mac Crocker, junior.

The Invisalign Arena

Leesville’s hockey team will be competing in 10 games from March to June. 

All of these games will be held in the Invisalign Arena, located in Morrisville and part of Wake Competition Center.

Wake Competition Center includes volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, and hockey facilities.

These new facilities are top-tier to ensure athletes can get the best training possible.

It is an honor that the Pride hockey team is able to compete in the Invisalign Arena because it happens to be the official practice facility of the Carolina Hurricanes.

“Playing in the Invisalign arena is great because they have nice rinks and it’s the perfect size for people coming to watch,” said Fitzsimons.

Leesville’s First Game

Leesville had their first hockey game on March 16 against Apex Friendship.

Unfortunately, with a score of 6-2, the Pride fell short to the Patriots.

Fitzsimons, who scored both of Leesville’s goals, said, “Apex Friendship was stacked with good players”.

The Pride hockey team does not practice, so their first game was their first time playing together.

It will take time for them to click as a team.

“After a few games, we will get our chemistry,” said Sophia Wilkerson, sophomore.

Girls Involved in Hockey

Sophia Wilkerson is a sophomore at Leesville Road High School.

She has been playing hockey for the Junior Canes since she was seven years old.

Wilkerson is the only girl on the Leesville club hockey team.

“It’s cool being the only girl, but it can be scary,” said Wilkerson.

Even though she is the only female, Leesville is proud to have Wilkerson representing us on the ice.

Wilkerson is an essential part of the Leesville hockey team.

“She’s a great player… she played pretty well in the first game,” said Fitzsimons.

Hopefully, in years to come more girls will get involved with high school hockey.

Leesville Students Opinions on Hockey

Even though it was only the first game, the Loonies really showed up to support the hockey team.

The hockey games give students the opportunity to watch and support their fellow classmates.

“I like that friends come to watch me,” said Wilkerson.

It also gives students a source of entertainment to enjoy with their friends.

“It was a great time to spend with my friends” said Christian Shaw, junior.

Attending these games are also very cheap. 

“I definitely recommend everyone to go the hockey games,” said Shaw.

Upcoming Hockey Games

Although the Pride did not win their first game, there are plenty of other games for the Leesville hockey team to redeem themselves.

Leesville will compete against other schools in the Triangle Area, including our rivals Cardinal Gibbons.

The Pride will face the Crusaders on May 24th. 

Several of Leesville hockey players are counting down the days until the big game.

“I’m most excited to play Gibbons because it’s a big rivalry. They beat us last year and there was a big fight, so we need to get payback” said Fitzsimons.

Agreeing with Fitzsimons, Wilkerson said “I’m excited to play Gibbons…I know a few people on their team”

The theme for this game will be black out.

It is essential that the Loonies show up and show out for this match up. 

The hockey team needs Leesville’s support.

The Impact of The Triangle Hockey League

The beginning of the Triangle Hockey League has truly increased the amount of opportunity to play hockey in Wake County.

“I like being able to continue to play hockey in the off season” said, Wilkerson.

It also allows students to make friends and play with different people.

“You can meet a lot of new people” said, Crocker.

The Triangle Hockey League has made such a positive impact among fans and athletes.

Hopefully, club hockey will continue in the future, but as of now the kick off to the school hockey season has been a good one.

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