William Hollcraft watched his grandson weave his way through about a dozen other children Friday, jersey down to his knees, in a makeshift mini-hockey rink in the parking lot of PNC Arena.
The floor of the rink was the parking lot pavement, perfect for 4-year-old Camden Norris, who loves hockey, but isn’t so fond of ice skating.
He took skating lessons once upon a time, but didn’t like it, Camden said. For now, he’ll stick to playing hockey in the garage or at the annual Caniac Carnival.
“I like playing hockey and bouncing,” Camden said amid an array of inflatable rides and games at the Carolina Hurricanes fan festival presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. He’s no stranger to the fan festival and has been attending Hurricanes games with his grandfather since he was less than a year old.
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“We’ve been here every year. We used to go to Greensboro,” Hollcraft, of Durham, said of the team’s first two seasons in North Carolina played at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Victoria Rodriguez, 12, was the first in her family to become a Hurricanes fan after they moved to Raleigh from northern Virginia.
“She started us on the trend with the Hurricanes. Now she’s passing it on to her 5-year-old sister, and then they’ll pass it on to the 10-month old,” her mother, Lisa, said motioning to her youngest daughter in a stroller clad in a Hurricanes shirt and red bow to match the family. “The fact that we can come out here, the kids love it, and we can celebrate the Canes, is great.”
As children raced between inflatable rides and games, Amy Lineberry, a season-ticket holder for eight years from Raleigh, took a half day off from work to claim her spot in front of the arena’s East entrance nearly a half hour before doors were set to open for the Red-White scrimmage.
Clad in a Nathan Gerbe jersey, she stood with her mother, Pam Lineberry, who traveled from Greensboro, for the event. They’re regulars, who spent nearly two hours online Thursday picking games and seats for this year’s tickets.
“The only year we missed (the Caniac Carnival) was the lockout year,” Amy Lineberry said. “The highlight is the scrimmage. We want to see who’s going to fill Jordan (Staal)’s spot.”