On Thursday the Warriors Hockey Club finished their 2023 season. But rather than skating to the finish line, they capped off another good year with a twist on the traditional game of hockey.
Sled hockey is a Paralympics version of the sport, most commonly played by people with disabilities. Players sit on a sled with two skate blades on the bottom, and use two sticks with metal picks on the end to move around the ice and hit the puck. The Warriors partnered with the Chicago Hornets to experience the unique style of play.
Chicago Hornets hockey
“We’re an organization that provides the opportunity for kids to play hockey with physical disabilities. So we have a range of physical disabilities from single amps, double amps, spinal bifida, and a lot of different muscular diseases. But it gives an opportunity for kids who normally don’t get to play the sport, the opportunity to play the sport,” said Jim Smith, the head coach of the Chicago Hornets.
The Hornets have players of all ages and by using sleds, it levels the playing field.
“So, you’ve got seniors that are, you know, 17, 18 years old and they’re getting beaten by five and six-year-olds. So it’s a very humbling experience, but it also teaches them to give back to the game. Hopefully, when they get done after school and stuff after college and maybe come back or they have their own families to coach and maybe get involved with disabled hockey and know a little bit about it,” said Smith.
Skill difference on the ice
The Warriors were impressed by the slick moves the Hornets showed on the ice.
“So it’s pretty crazy just to see their skill level and how they can move so fast compared to all of us and just like how they can shoot it much better than us. And it’s cool to see,” said Owen Cope, a senior player for the Warriors.
“It’s crazy because like we go out here once a year if you get the chance to do it, and it’s something that over the course of the game you can get used to, but to see people like move that quick and have those kinds of hands, it’s crazy. It takes so much practice probably,” said Luke Peters, a junior player for the Warriors.
Perfect finish to the season
After a long season, the group said taking part in this game was the perfect way to finish off the season.
“It’s fun. Little events and get-togethers with my teammates after a tough loss last week and then just kind of like a fun way to end the season and go out strong,” said Cope.
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