Sled Hockey | VideoAlan Miller | 1/21/2013
It`s called sled hockey. Each player has one or two sticks. One side is used to slap the puck, and the other side has spikes to move ahead. Those without the upper body strength or balance can be pushed along. And they`re having the time of their lives.
"You think about a child with a mobility impairment. They may not be wheelchair-bound but it may just be a simple limp or something like that, that they just can`t acquire that speed. You get them on the ice and it`s complete freedom. They can go so fast and just move and have a feeling and sensations they may have never had before," said Jackie Mrachek with Dreams in Motion.
But hockey, you ask? Isn`t that a bit dangerous?
"We`re hockey players, not ballerinas. You start by getting out on the ice, playing with your friends, and seeing what you can do. I mean, this is the beginning of hockey right here," said player Hunter Berreth.
Dreams in Motion has a goal of creating both recreational and competitive leagues. For now, you have players of all ages on the ice, including a little four year old who`s excited to be here.
"It`s a confidence booster, for sure. She`ll talk about it for days after this. She`ll be over the moon. She just loves being able to go out and do stuff with other people," said mother Kristin Eckroth.
" It`s just nice getting out of the house, or even getting out of the chair, or even being out on the basketball court. It`s just getting a lot more room to move around. And it`s almost like a lot more freedom," said player Dayton Farley.
The biggest obstacle is the cost of the sleds. Depending on individual needs, they can cost from $1,100 to $1,400 each. There are eight sleds now, and there`s a goal of 24, so organizers can even accommodate shift changes without any delays.
It`s not as easy as it looks, if it looks easy at all. But just like any hockey game, it gets very tiring.
It didn`t take long to find that out, and I`m sorry, Hunter, for taking a tumble on top of you. It`s obvious these kids are tougher than you think.
"I was helping Aggie, pushing her when we were doing wheelchair basketball and her feet are flying, and I keep asking her, `Are you okay, are you okay?` And all she could say is, `Go faster. Go, go, go! I`m fine!`" said mother Pam Berreth.
And it`s clear they`re eager to play.
While Dreams in Motion may receive some loaner sleds from USA Hockey for the upcoming season, the board is looking for some financial backing to get sleds to keep. To find out more about the program, go to www.dreamsinmotioninc.com.