If your plans over the next several nights include the Cirque du Soleil show at the Covelli Centre, be sure to focus on #9 during the hockey skit — he’s Jimmy Hake from Boardman. Before Wednesday’s opening show, he told us about his unorthodox career.
“I’ve been skating since I was, like, 5 years old. I’ve been on skates my whole life,” he said.
Those skates have brought Hake to downtown Youngstown, where he’ll be performing in the Cirque du Soleil Crystal show through Sunday.
“I started back in August. I helped them with the creation a little bit, but I’ve only been on tour for a couple months now,” Hake said.
His family still lives on Hopkins Road in Cornersburg where he grew up. While he’s in town, Hake will sleep in his childhood bedroom.
After graduating from Boardman in 2001, he turned pro, joined a circuit and has made a living by roller skating.
“Actually, I trained at a skate park called Vertigo Skate Park. It used to be in Boardman on McClurg Road and then it shut down, and that’s why I moved away. I didn’t have a place to train anymore.”
Hake now lives at Camp Woodward, not far from State College, Pennsylvania.
“It’s like the largest action sports camp in the world. That’s where I train. They have resis and foam pits there, and a really good place to learn.”
Hake has spent most of his career on roller skates, but the Cirque du Soleil show is on ice skates.
“The transition, yes, is definitely different from in-line skating. Turns are different, it’s a little more difficult to make some turns, but I’m making the transition pretty good and I’m loving it.”
His parents, along with some cousins and good friends, were expected to be at Wednesday’s show. He said that is part of the fun of being home.
That, and Handel’s ice cream and pizza.
“I mean, you have to go with Wedgewood, that’s the best around.”
If you’d like to see Hake in Cirque du Soleil Crystal, there are shows Thursday and Friday night at 7:30, Saturday at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and a 1:30 matinee on Sunday.