Ice skaters pay Santa a visit

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 06:36 PM

When he showed for an afternoon of skating at the Triangle SportsPlex ice arena in Hillsborough on Saturday, 7-year-old Dallas Andrews said he was surprised to see Santa Claus there, too.

Santa Claus was sitting in the center of the ice in an arm chair in his red-and-white suit. Children and adults skated in circles around him, while others lined up in the center of the ice to visit with him.

“It was great seeing Santa and telling him what I want,” said Dallas, who said he asked Santa for a kit that is used to catch bugs.

He said Santa asked him “Have you been nice?” and he repiled that he has. He loves skating because you can “go really fast,” he said.

“I fell a few times – you can tell,” Dallas said, as he pointed out some ice that remained on his clothing.

The Triangle SportsPlex has been holding the “Skate with Santa!” event since the facility opened in 1995, said Mary Catherine McKee, membership and marketing manager for the Triangle Sportsplex.

The event was held Saturday during one of the rink’s public skate times, which can draw as many as several hundred people, McKee said. She said that this year, the facility’s hockey director Ken DiOrio was Santa Claus.

“It’s a fun thing for the kids,” McKee said. “And Santa’s from the North Pole, and there’s a lot of ice there, so Santa obviously knows how to skate.”

Shannon Andrews, an Elfland resident and Dallas’ mother, said she took her son and some of his friends to go skating.

Andrews said the event was a chance for the children to have fun, and also to get some exercise instead of sitting around playing video games.

Seeing Santa allows them to get in the holiday spirit, she said.

“I just think it’s good to have fun with the magic of Santa before they’re too old to believe,” she said.

Eleven-year-old Julie Park of Chapel Hill said it was great to see Santa, especially since she had just received new ice skates Saturday morning.

She said she enjoys skating, and hopes to take lessons in January.

“It’s like, it feels so good,” she said.

Chris Pacilio, a manager and the Zamboni driver at Triangle SportsPlex, said his son went out on the ice to visit with Santa.

Pacilio’s 4-year-old son Christopher Pacilio Jr. liked visiting Santa, he said, but was a bit hesitant on the skates. Pacilio’s 1-year-old daughter Natalie was too young to skate with Santa on Saturday, he said.

Christopher asked Santa for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. Pacilio said Santa told him he would “see what he could do.”