AUSTIN (KXAN) - For many in Texas, ice isn't a common sight, unless its in a drink or a sno cone. But those in the know say interest in hockey is growing, even here in Austin.
At the Chaparrel Ice Arena in North Austin Wednesday, hockey enthusiasts were busy slashing their way around the rink. Many driving long distances for their precious ice time.
Hockey players will tell you its the fastest, roughest, and most exotic and complex of games. They don't care if you don't get it, because they do.
Most, but not all, start when they're young.
"We've played every other sport and there's something different about being a hockey parent, a hockey player," said Janna Holley, who's son plays. "It takes a lot of skill and a lot of commitment."
Ryan O'Malley, a Boston fan naturally, is an instructor and player. He began as a fourth grader and has seen his adult league triple in size lately.
"I think seeing a game in person, you can watch all the hockey on TV, but when you go to a game and all that atmosphere, there's nothing like it," he said.
Chaparrel has been hosting hockey for 15 years. Their youth league ages are 3-18, but all ages are booking up the ice.
"Oh it's grown incredibly," said Angie Vaught, director of the youth leage. "We've had a tripling of our numbers. The adult program is huge, we have 30 teams. We have 250 youth players in the program."
So why don't the masses in Texas get on board with the game?
"Just because it's not a part of their culture," said one player.
"They don't play it, they don't see it a whole lot around here," said another.
Hockey is not the most TV friendly sport and is fast and tricky to follow. But how can you not love a game whose penalties include: roughing, hooking, tripping, and slashing?
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