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    Hockey heals heroes

    Player Passes Puck

    Photo By Spc. Brian Lang | Luke McDermott glides around the edge of the ice hockey rink and passes the puck to a...... read more read more

    SAN ANTONIO, TX, UNITED STATES

    02.08.2014

    Story by Pfc. Thomas Love 

    205th Press Camp Headquarters

    SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Rampage Sled Hockey Team and the Colorado Avalanche Sled Hockey Team squared off at The Ice and Golf Center at Northwoods in San Antonio, Feb. 8, 2014.

    Four sled hockey teams have formed in the U.S. enabling the injured to still compete on the ice.

    The Rampage Sled Hockey Team is a joint effort between Operation Comfort and the San Antonio Rampage offering a therapeutic and competitive sled hockey team for injured soldiers.

    “They go out on the ice and they are free out there,” said Kelli Roberts a recreational therapist and adaptive sports coordinator for Operation Comfort. “Adaptive sports as a whole really gives these guys a sense of hope and purpose.”

    “After being injured and separated from your platoons or squads, you’re always worried about your brothers overseas instead of focusing on getting better,” said Rico Roman of the San Antonio Rampage Sled Hockey Team and 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team member. “So when you come to this locker room you’re part of a team again and that's the best part of it. You share the same camaraderie and esprit de corps. That's what makes it special.”

    San Antonio athletes Jen Lee, Josh Sweeney and Rico Roman were selected to compete in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, along with two Colorado Avalanche players Tyler Carron and Nikko Landeros.

    “It's awesome playing with these guys, they teach you a lot,” said Luke McDermott, a medically retired Marine Corps corporal. “I'm actually going to Russia in March to watch them play and I can't wait. It's going to be a blast.”

    Sled hockey is a very physical sport that started as a rehabilitation tool for male and female athletes with a physical impairment in the lower part of the body.

    Because the players are subjected to checks and hits that traditional hockey players are, they wear much of the same protective equipment, including helmets with full face masks and protective padding.

    The sport follows most of the same rules as the International Ice Hockey Federation with a few modifications. For instance, athletes use special sleds with blades mounted to the bottom enabling them to maneuver on the ice while they propel themselves using two shortened hockey sticks.

    Sled hockey sticks are traditionally shaped on one side and equipped with metal spikes on the other to dig into the ice and move the sled forward.

    The game started with an early Colorado lead only to be tied up in the second period from a Rampage goal by Luke McDermott with an assist from Michael Horning.

    The Rampage managed to take the lead in the 3rd period thanks to another goal by McDermott. Colorado was able to stay in the game and tied it up just before the end of the 3rd period.
    With the game still tied up through overtime, the Avalanche's Landon Squibbs was able to make the game winning shot in an exciting sudden-death overtime shootout that resulted in a 3-2 defeat for the Rampage.

    All wounded soldiers in the San Antonio area with a physical impairment in the lower part of the body are welcome to try out sled hockey. They can contact Operation Comfort at www.operationcomfort.org for more information.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.08.2014
    Date Posted: 02.18.2014 20:08
    Story ID: 120787
    Location: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US 

    Web Views: 76
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