Clark Henson moved to North Carolina in January of 2016 after studying accounting in Cincinnati. As a child growing up in Chicago, he got involved playing hockey with his neighborhood friends and their parents.
“My parents never played and didn’t know anything about it,” Henson said. “I had to learn about it on my own with the help of neighbors.”
Henson began playing at the age of three and now has twenty-two years of experience under his belt. He even spent a year playing hockey in college.
After moving to North Carolina, Henson’s mother found out about the Pinehurst In-Line Roller Hockey Group through Facebook. He began playing with the group in October of 2016.
The group began about ten years ago after a private group of individuals raised money in 2005 to build the rink.
When the Henson first joined the group in 2016, each player had to pay $5 a night to play. The money was used to pay for the use of lights on the rink.
“Because there are a strong number of players, we can play with lights for free now,” Henson explained. “The Village of Pinehurst has been graceful even to let us use the lights for free.
Last summer, Henson stepped up as the leader of the group, taking over scheduling and running tournaments. He runs all schedules past Dave White – the Adult Sports Program Advisor who approves the tournaments and schedules.
“We have people who come and play from different lifestyles who have different jobs,” Henson said. “For two hours we get to forget about that and just play and joke around. We blow off some steam.”
The group plays on Sunday and Wednesday nights. On those days, Henson will send a message out to the group via text to see what goalies and players will be participating.
“It takes a couple hours to round everyone up,” he said.
Henson makes sure to take a head count of who is arriving.
Henson’s goal is to breathe some new life into the group. He has already helped to host two tournaments last year, bringing hockey teams from the southeast to Pinehurst.
He is currently hoping to have new members join the group.
“We have people ages eighteen to seventy that play with us,” he said. “We have all skill levels. There’s no experience needed to join… We have some regulars who play every week.”
Some members of the group are in the military. Even when they are deployed for a couple of months, they come back and join in as though they were never gone.
Those who wish to join the Pinehurst In-Line Roller Hockey Group must be eighteen or older to play. They must be able to register online and sign a waiver as well as have their own equipment.
The group plays on Sunday and Wednesday nights from 8:00PM until 10:00PM.
“We have doctors that play. Every profession plays,” Henson said. “None of that matters. People who like to play come out and have a good time.”
For those who would like to participate in the group, contact Clark Henson at (513) 913-0327.
There will also be a children’s hockey clinic held for children of all ages on Fridays from 6:00PM until 7:00PM for several weeks in the early spring.
To sign up a child for the clinic, contact Rob Deegan at (910) 992-2902. Children must have a helmet, in-line skates, shin guards, gloves, and pads. Old equipment can be donated for later use.