Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Saturday in the Park, Wings of Steel Sled Hockey

This past Saturday we signed up to travel by bus from the Skate Zone in Voorhees to Central Park in New York with the Wings of Steel Sled hockey team to play the New York Rangers sled hockey team.
What is Sled Hockey? It looks like this:

Playing according to official hockey rules and clock times, the player sits in and is strapped in a seat that is mounted on an aluminum frame which is mounted on a blade similar to an ice skate’s blade. The players move around the ice by pushing off on two shortened hockey sticks with metal teeth on the end to grab the ice.
Sled Hockey is an adaptive team sport for disabled athletes, or athletes with different abilities. It’s all in your perspective.
Our Virtua Wings of Steel have had a several winning seasons. One year we had players on the Gold Medal winning USA team at the 2010 Winter Paralympics.  Holding an authentic Olympic Gold Medal is a truly awesome feeling.
But like all organized sports, as the years go by and the face of the team changes, so does the outcomes of the games. This season we don’t seem to be winning as many games but the spirit and drive to play  is always there. This sport provides an opportunity for athletes of different abilities to actually play and participate in an organized sport rather than to sit on the sideline and watch as others play.
Here’s a picture of my grandson Mike passing to one of his team mates, Robert Vettese, aka, the “beast”.

The young lady standing behind the small player from the Rangers’ team is called a ‘pusher’. It’s the pusher’s job to make sure the player gets around the ice and is able to play and hopefully get to pass and shoot the puck. Just like able-body hockey, there are checks and crashes into each other on the ice and the boards. The pusher is usually manning the sled of a player with different mobility issues or who might be more fragile than others and can not tolerate a check of another player in a sled. It can be a contact sport at times. It's hockey, there will be checks.

Both teams suit up outside while the Zamboni cleans the ice at the Trump Lasker Ice rink.

Special appearance by Isaiah Beck, who’s missed most of this year because of medical conditions.  Isaiah hopes to be back in a sled in January!

Loading up the Bus!

We had a great day for hockey. It was brisk and cold, perfect for ice sports. And of course, the park was quite beautiful, all decked out for autumn.

Wings 2, Rangers 0.


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