So what do a bunch of Northern transplants do after they've moved South, where ice rinks and hockey players are few and far between?
They play ice-less inline roller hockey, of course.
Hundreds of miles and many years removed from their former lives as recreational ice hockey players, a group of men with connections to Concord's Cannon School are reviving their interest in the sport. Not all the 11 members of the Beavers, as they call themselves, grew up in Northern parts. But most did, and they have found a couple of Southern brothers to complement their team, which is playing its first season in the Charlotte Sportscenter's recreation league.
Hockey on tennis courts
The idea to form a team started with some pickup games some Cannon staffers put together starting in October 2008. Leigh Northrup, the middle school director of academic technology, got the word out, and 20 people showed up for the first one.
The group brought their inline skates to the school's on-campus tennis courts, playing there a handful of times over the ensuing 12 months. One of the original players was sixth-grade math teacher Jeremy Mattsson, who grew up playing in roller hockey leagues outside Philadelphia.
"At first, we just wanted to see who could skate," Mattsson said. "People just started coming out, and (eventually) we realized we had enough for a team."
Adjusting to roller skates
Northrup, who played pickup hockey of all varieties (on ice and on the street) in his native Maryland, and Cannon's head football coach Donnie Hayes, a Florida native, started talking about putting a team together after they accompanied students on a field trip to a Pineville ice rink last January.
Since he was then the school's lacrosse coach, Northrup couldn't make a commitment in the spring, so the group rekindled its spirit last fall.
It was easy for Cannon School staff members to learn of the team, but others had to be recruited outside Cannon's walls.
Bill Diskin, Cannon's director of admissions, played youth hockey in Pittsburgh more than 25 years ago but had to adjust to playing on inline roller skates.
Like other players bred on ice, Diskin found that turning and stopping was much more difficult than he was accustomed to.
Former Michigan resident Jim Venos, Cannon's golf coach, had been off skates for about as long as Diskin. The first time he played on inline skates, Venos said, he wanted to see "if I could stand up, and do it without ending up in the ER."
Sporting a University of Wisconsin hockey sweater, Buffalo native Mark Kmidowski, the upper school's librarian, said he wears the maximum amount of protective gear "in case I fall."
"You have to go to work the next day," he quipped.
Age breeds optimism
One of the recruits is Jason Garcia, the only player native to Concord or North Carolina, who played roller hockey in Charlotte as recently as four years ago. His wife works with one of the team's players, Mike Fongemy, a pastor at a local church.
Other players are Eric Wilson, a Cannon school parent, Pat Moyer, Cannon's softball coach, and Craig Porter, a Detroit native and neighbor of Bill Diskin.
After a couple of months of practice in Cannon's auxiliary gym, the Beavers opened play Feb. 10 with a few players missing and dropped a 7-0 decision. A week later, a fully stocked Beavers team took a 3-2 lead into the third period but fell 5-3.
Believing the average age of their roster (mid- to late-30s) is probably 10 years older than the opponents they've seen, the players are optimistic about the team's improved play. And they're hopeful that old Beavers can be taught new tricks.