Mar 14, 2010

Day Two - Sledge Hockey

On the second day of the Paralympics I went to the Korea vs. USA preliminary sledge hockey game. It was a great game, and a real experience for me, the first time I'd seen sledge hockey. Most of the rules are the same as ice hockey (icing, interference, high-sticking, holding), but some are different (teeing --> when a player hits another player with their sledge at a 90 degree angle). The players are incredible at handling and passing the puck, something that surprised me. They will also often dribble the puck underneath their sledges, which also surprised me. The game was also very vicious. Players will poke each other with the grips on their sticks, and smack into each other at every chance. Overall, it was really cool, especially since we were sitting at centre ice.
One player had an especially excellent game, Steven Cash. He is the USA goalkeeper, and performed his best with a shut-out. Cash got cancer, and had to have part of his right leg removed at the mere age of 3. Nothing could stop him though, he followed his dreams all the way to becoming the Paralympic SportsMan of the Year in 2009. His other achievements include winning bronze at the 2008 World Championships, winning gold at the 2009 World Championships, and being the starting goalie in all of the games in the 2007-2008 season. Cash also coached a summer camp for young sledge hockey players, where I'm sure he inspired the masses. Steven Cash has overcome life-long difficulties to do what he loves, an achievement that we could all learn from.

Top Image: Clear boards and ice floors make the penalty box and team "bench" accessible.
Middle Image: The teams set up for a face-off.
Bottom Image: The ref throws down the puck.

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