STRIDE's Sled Hockey Team Scores Big at Empire State Games
STRIDE’s sled hockey team placed 2nd overall in NYS Empire State Winter Games February 1-4, 2019 at Lake Placid Hockey facility. The capital region team has been gearing up for the Games with practices every Sunday at Albany County Hockey Facility - 830 Albany Shaker Rd., Albany, NY, 12211.
STRIDE’s team, the Capital District Sled Warriors competed against the Vermont Sledcats in the championship but fell short 0-2. Team member Max Sherman said “The team hadn’t been to the finals of a tournament in 5 years. Although we lost, it made us closer as a team with the experience of playing on the 1980 rink and using the same locker room that the Soviets dressed in. At the end of the game, we lined up on the blue line and received silver medals. Some of the parents were crying. Everyone shook hands and both sides truly respected each other. It was truly amazing to me that a team of 14-54-year-olds with a wide range of hockey/physical and mental abilities reached this level of success and takes care of each other so well. They exemplify what it means to be a team and a family.”
Capital District Sled Warriors (originally Bethlehem Sled Hockey) was founded by Tom and Kim Wilson, of Slingerlands for their son and other teenagers with physical disabilities 12 years ago to make hockey accessible to those with lower limb disabilities. STRIDE Adaptive sports took over the fledgling team in 2009, and the team has grown exponentially since then comprised of youth and adult players. Just as fast-paced and physical as stand-up hockey, sled hockey follows most of the typical ice hockey rules with the exception of equipment. Players sit in specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades, and each player uses two sticks instead of one. The team is now made up of 15 members plus 2 pushers with a varsity and junior varsity squad and includes numerous wounded warrior veterans.
STRIDE Sled Warriors attend numerous tournaments annually, trailoring their gear behind the STRIDE vehicles; they also host home & demo games as a member team of USA Disabled Hockey. Sled hockey is a Paralympic sport and STRIDE Adaptive Sports is a U.S. Paralympic training club.
The team is open to disabled veterans looking for a new sport. Newcomers are invited to join the team on the ice to try the sled on the first weekend of practice of each month. If you or someone you know is interested, please RSVP to at [email protected] or call our office at (518)-598-1279.