Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
NY RANGERS SLED HOCKEY TEAM WELCOME TWO INTO THEIR HOCKEY COMMUNITY Print E-mail
Written by Peter Quartuccio   

Wounded Warrior and Young Hopeful Participate in Team Practice and Scrimmage


TARRYTOWN, NY — The New York Rangers Sled Hockey Team welcomed two newcomers into their practice facility in Tarrytown, New York this past Thursday, January 7, Ben Wolken, a member of the Wounded Warrior Project, and Sam Greenberg, a 1st grader from Greenwich Village, New York.  With former NY Rangers player, Brian Mullen on hand to help at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility, two people with very different backgrounds came out to try the Adaptive Sport of Sled Hockey.

            Sam is a 6-year-old (“6-and-a-half,” he corrected me) New Yorker who too took part in his first sled hockey experience.  Already an athlete—Sam is a blue-belt in his Karate class— he chose sled hockey as his next sporting endeavor because, in the words of his father, “he likes going fast.”  It took some time, but Sam achieved a few good heads of steam on the ice.  What's more, even when surrounded with former and current paralympians during the team's scrimmage, a look of cool confidence never left his face.  After leaving the ice, Sam confirmed what that look suggested: he’d be back. Indeed, the experience received a shining endorsement from Sam, for when asked by his father how it went, Sam responded, “Can we come back tomorrow?”

 

            Ben Wolken is a Marine who was wounded in combat by an IED in Iraq several years ago.  A native of Brewster, New York, Ben initially found it very difficult adjusting to his new life as a disabled person.  Feeling isolated and alone, he admitted that his personal problems got him into a lot of trouble.  However, Ben soon found a way to deal with his troubles and alienation: participation in the Wounded Warrior Project.  Through their dedication and commitment to bettering the lives of veterans, Ben discovered a myriad of sports adapted for people with disabilities, one of which was sled hockey. Urged on by his hockey-loving wife, he decided to give it a go, and with an invite from the New York Rangers Sled Hockey Team, he took the ice in a sled for the first time.  After some initial issues with steering the at-times unwieldy sled, Ben seemed to get the hang of it, especially towards the end of the evening during the team scrimmage.  Ben received advice and encouragement from all of the Rangers, a fact which he gratefully acknowledged afterwards.  While he stated that it was “tiring” and admitted that he had trouble stopping, one could hear in his voice a shift from self-deprecation to growing confidence towards the end of the interview.  In fact, when asked if, in the event a team was short on players, he would consider suiting up and playing in the upcoming NESHL event in Danbury, Connecticut on Sunday, January 10, Ben was anything but dismissive.  That kind of confidence, along with the bravery it took to break out of his doldrums and participate, is the mark of a proud Marine, and the hope and sense of community that this practice engendered in him is what the Wounded Warrior Project is all about.

 

            For more information about the Wounded Warrior Project, the NESHL, and other adapted sports events, please visit www.WoundedWarriorProject.org, www.NESHL.org, and www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org

 

Photos by Carter Farmer

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2010 22:44
 
2nd Annual "Crank to the Finish" 8 Mile Handcycling Race Report Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

     On Saturday November 7th, 2009 at 9:30 am under the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, NY, the 2nd Annual "Crank to the Finish" 8 Mile Handcycling Race had 24 racers participate in the sole Handcycles only race in New York State. Sponsored by the Wheelchair Sports Federation, NYC Parks & Recreation Department and USOC Paralympic Academy, the 2nd Annual Race is designed to offer advanded hancyclers as well as novices the opportunity to race against each other for prize money. The overall winner was Ricardo Corral who covered the 8 mile course with a time of 29 minutes and 15 seconds and took home $250 in prize money.

The other winners included:

  • Overall Female - Helene Hines - 32 minutes 55 seconds - $250
  • Men's Open - Peter Hawkins - 37 minutes 31 seconds - $200
  • Women's Open - Minda Dentler - 37 minutes 18 seconds - $200
  • Men's Masters - Joseph Mendez - 40 minutes 40 seconds - $200
  • Men's Quad - Carlos Guzman - 37 minutes 30 seconds - $200
  • Veteran's - Edwin Lopez - 54 minutes 0 seconds - $200
  • Juniors - Nia Bets - 1 hour 10 minues - $100

     On behalf of Race Director, Joe Mendez, I'd like to thank all the volunteers from Long Island University, Columbia University and the American Red Cross group from Cordoza High School. We could not have done it without you.

We look foward to the 3rd Annual Race in 2010. For more information on Handcycling, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org or send an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

All photos were taken by Carter Farmer.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 December 2009 04:03
 
3rd Annual NY Jets v NY Giants Wheelchair Football Game - Summary Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

Group Photo NY Giants & NY JetsOn a perfect day to play football, the NY Jets beat the NY Giants, 27 to 26 to win their 3rd Annual Wheelchair Football Game.  Sponsored by the NFL teams, the NY Jets and NY Giants, the two teams played a hotly contested battle on Saturday November 21st, 2009 at 11 am on a field specifically built for Wheelchair Football at Diamond in the Pines in Brookhaven NY.  The hard top surface of this 80 yards x 22 yards field allow the wheelchair athletes to use their speed.  With the help of volunteers from Stonybrook University, St. Charles Rehabilitation Hospital and the Town of Brookhaven, the teams played each other closely with the NY Giants taking a big lead at half-time 26 to the NY Jets 14.  The NY Jets, however came out hungry in the 2nd half and scored 13 unanswered points to take the lead and win the game.  Jason Soricelli's two touchdowns helped the NY Jets win the game and garnered him the MVP trophy for 2009.  Two Al Youakim Spirit Awards were given to the coaches of each team, Jason Corrao, coach of the NY Giants and Bill Hannigan, winning coach of the NY Jets.

A special thanks to Chili's for coming out and feeding over 100 spectators, volunteers and adaptive athletes.

If you'd like to learn more about Wheelchair Football, please contact me or go to www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.

We look forward to next Spring and our first 6 team Wheelchair Football Tournament with teams from New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Boston coming to play.  Details will follow.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 02:07
 
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