CARY -- There’s nothing unusual about a group of hockey players getting together to skate in the early morning of a hot Triangle summer, not anymore. For a decade, Rod Brind’Amour led on-ice workouts for his Carolina Hurricanes teammates throughout the offseason.
Thursday morning, 10 players gathered at the Cary Ice House?// to prepare for the impending hockey season. Not a single one played for the Hurricanes.
It’s easy these days to look around the Triangle and see the ways hockey’s roots now run deep in this area, but the group on the ice Thursday was as good an indication as any -- 10 minor-league, college and junior players, led by former Hurricanes forward Bates Battaglia and his brother Anthony.
Chad LaRose has been skating with this group, although he was a no-show Thursday. Joe Corvo has shown up a few times. Not this day, though, when an almost completely organic group of Triangle-raised hockey players went through drills and scrimmages without a Hurricane in sight.
“We just started skating this summer, Anthony and I, and a couple other guys came out,” Battaglia said. “There were only like five of us. All of a sudden, I don’t even know who they are, guys just started showing up.”
Sean Spero, 19, grew up in Cary watching Battaglia play for the Hurricanes. He went to the Hurricanes’ camps. And now, 10 days away from returning to his Boston-based team in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, the defenseman has been getting quality time on the ice with Battaglia and LaRose and Corvo.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Spero said. “You can’t get this kind of experience anywhere else. There’s no better skate to go to. It’s fast-paced and you’re playing with the best.”