Sled Hockey Game For Charity Today

For the third year in a row, Andover Boys and Girls hockey players will face off against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats sled hockey team in a charity game at home this Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Sled hockey uses the same rules as ice hockey but makes the game accessible for physically disabled athletes. Instead of skating, players use shortened hockey sticks to pull themselves across the ice on sleds.

Cara Daly ’13, a forward for Girls Hockey, said, “It’s a really nice event because it gives us the opportunity to see how difficult some things are for certain people.”

Tickets to the game will cost $4 each, and all proceeds will go toward donating a sled to Northeast Passage, which organizes sports and therapy programs for individuals with disabilities. Northeast Passage sponsors the University of New Hampshire sled hockey program.

Eddie Ellis ’13, Captain of Boys Hockey, said, “We’ve raised enough money in each of the last two years to buy the Northeast Passage sled hockey team a new sled, and we’ve brought awareness to sled hockey and other disabled sports.”

He continued, “We are hoping to achieve the same goal this year, so we hope that everyone comes out to watch.”

Last year, the sled went to Michael Downing, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. In September 2008, Downing lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan. Downing grew up as a stand-up hockey goalie and began playing sled hockey after returning home to Massachusetts from Afghanistan.

Taylor Chase, a defenseman from Hampton Falls, N.H., will be a key player for the Wildcats this year. Chase was partially paralyzed during a hockey game in 2002 and began playing sled hockey when he was introduced to Northeast Passage as a student at UNH in 2004. Chase now plays for the United States National Sled Hockey team, with which he won the gold medal in the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Tom Shannon ’12, Assistant Captain of Boys Hockey, said, “It’s a good experience to hear all of the Wildcats players’ stories because it makes us think twice about the fact that we are able to skate everyday on two legs when others aren’t.”