Offbeat Sports Part 2: Roller Hockey Finds its Way to the South - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Offbeat Sports Part 2: Roller Hockey Finds its Way to the South

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Hockey is not typically the sport of choice in the South, but all it takes is a pair of roller blades to play it right here in the Pine Belt.


The growth of hockey in the South, begins with an attitude from the North.

"The South needs to learn how great hockey is, and we're here doing it one roller rink at a time," says hockey enthusiast Matt Rauch.

In 2002 a local group of roller hockey enthusiasts started playing recreationally at the Extreme Skate Zone in Oak Grove.

11 years later, roller hockey is a way of life every Thursday and Sunday.

"It's just hockey," says roller hockey enthusiast Jason Townsend.

"Really I came down and I was born and bred hockey and nobody really knew what it was until I found these guys and hey, now the highlight of my week," says Rauch. "Once or twice a week I can go out and get back what I love."

Rauch says he's been playing hockey since the age of eight.

When he moved to Mississippi in 2009 to pursue a graduate degree at Southern Miss, the Michigan-native was surprised to find something so familiar.

"I mean when I first showed up it was an immediate culture shock, and then all of a sudden I found a little slice of home," says Rauch.

It may not be ice hockey, but Rauch says the product on the rink is top-notch.

He is a roller blade guy after all.

"It's a perfect level of competition, it's a perfect level of seriousness and it never hurts to have a few more people who really want to get involved in a great team sport," says Rauch.

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