Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
USA Hockey Sled Classic (NY)
Written by John Hamre
Published: 11/9/2012, 09:29 PM
Updated: 11/10/2012, 12:35 AM
Sled hockey hits the ice
Think that with the pros on the sidelines there’s no ice hockey to watch this weekend? Think again.
At Northtown Center in Amherst, players from around the country – including some world champions – can be seen checking and banging into the boards at the NHL Sled Hockey Classic through Sunday.
“Sled hockey is no different than stand-up hockey in terms of the determination, the effort, the hitting, everything else,” said Brad Roethlisberger of Green Bay, Wis., who will be officiating eight games through the weekend.
What sets these hockey players apart at first glance is that they have all lost limbs – whether from serving in the military, contracting a disease, being injured in an accident or being born that way.
So, instead of standing upright on skates, these athletes move on aluminum “hockey sleds” while fastened into plastic bucket seats, using short hockey sticks to control the puck.
For many, the sheer joy of being on the ice, competing, along with the camaraderie with fellow players, can be exhilarating.
“It’s a blast being able to get back on the ice. Hockey’s my sport of choice,” said Bo Reichenbach.
The 24-year-old Army soldier from Billings, Mont., lost his legs below the knee when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan earlier this year. Now on his way to recovery, he’s captain and goalie of the Washington Capitals, a team of players from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Timothy Hall, 23, also lost his legs in Afghanistan – in his case, after being hit by a mortar.
“When I was first hit, I didn’t think I’d be able to do that much. Sled hockey’s meant a lot,” he said.
For Steve Fortin of Wake Forest, N.C., sled hockey has fulfilled his childhood dream of playing a sport he grew up with in Maine. The father of three, who lost his left leg and hip to cancer, plays goalie for the Carolina team.
“It’s really cool, to completely understate it,” Fortin said. “Everything’s kind of worked out well,” he added. “It’s not how I planned my life, but I’ll take it at this point.”
This third national tournament features 14 teams, some as far away as Denver and Dallas, sponsored by the National Hockey League and bearing the names of NHL teams.
Three players from the Buffalo area played on Team USA, which finished first this year at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Norway, and also took home a gold medal at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010.
One of them, Adam Page, was born with spina bifida, a spinal defect that renders him paralyzed from the knees down.
“Sled hockey gives me the opportunity to play the sport I love and grew up watching on TV, and to be around people just like me,” Page said.
Jeff Sauer, the national team’s coach, gives the sport added credibility. He led the University of Wisconsin Badgers to two NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championships during his tenure, and he was honored last year with the NHL’s Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey.
“Sled hockey has rejuvenated me, because these guys are anxious to learn. They listen better than some of the pro players I’ve had over the course of time,” Sauer said.
The Buffalo Sabres sponsor three teams, including one fielded by athletes from the Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
Women play sled hockey, too.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Jackie Carter, of Hillsborough, N.C., who suffered a broken back in a car accident 10 years ago that left her paralyzed from the knees down.
Bryan Foley, whose legs were amputated after he was hit by a car three years ago, said the sport is therapeutic.
“Just the therapy alone from being around the guys, the camaraderie, is super beneficial,” Foley said. “Basically, you forget the disability when you’re out there. You’re competing at the highest level you can.”
Norman Page, Adam’s father, helps start and develop sled programs as a USA Sled Hockey volunteer so more people can be exposed to the sport and reap its benefits.
“We’ve been blessed to be able to do this and help others get on the ice,” Page said.
The tournament, which began Friday, continues from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
For information on getting involved with sled hockey, call 984-2585 or visit usahockey.com.
18th Annual Al Youakim Wheelchair Basketball Tournament
Written by John Hamre
The 18th Annual Al Youakim Wheelchair Basketball Tournament came to a conclusion on Sunday October 28th, 2012 before the Hurricane hit.
The 5 Wheelchair Basketball Teams that attended were the Bulova Nets (NJ), New York Nets (NY), New England Blazers (MA), NEPVA Celtics (MA) and Nassau Kings (NY).
The first day results were from Saturday October 27th, 2012 – 9:00 am to 6:30 pm
9:00 am Bulova Nets 66 v. Nassau Kings 56
10:15 am New York Nets 38 v. New England Blazers 44
11:30 pm New England Blazers 20 v. NEPVA Celtics 35
12:45 pm Bulova Nets 50 v. NEPVA Celtics 47
2:00 pm New York Nets 49 v Nassau Kings 59
3:15 pm Nassau Kings 55 v. New England Blazers 37
4:30 pm New York Nets 24 v. NEPVA Celtics 62
The second day results were from Sunday October 28th, 2012 – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
9:00 am Bulova Nets 61 v. New York Nets 32
10:15 am Nassau Kings 58 v. NEPVA Celtics 68
11:30 am Bulova Nets 63 v. New England Blazers 31
12:45 am 3rd Place Game - Nassau Kings 47 v New England Blazers 48
2:00 pm Championship Game - Bulova Nets 47 v. NEPVA Celtics 52
1st Place - NEPVA Celtics
2nd Place - Bulova Nets
3rd Place - New England Blazers
4th Place - Nassau Kings
5th Place - New York Nets
Class I - Dave Deas - NY Nets
Class I - Megan Anderson - NEPVA Celtics
Class II - Chris St Remy - Nassua Kings
Class II - Paul Cowan - Bulova Nets
Class III - Omar Benitez - NEPVA Celtics
Class III - Steve Yedlock - Bulova Nets
Best Free Throw Shooter - Paul Cowan - New England Blazers
Best 3 Point Shooter - Paul Ward - Bulova Nets
Fastest & Most Accurate Shooter - Chris Johnson
Most Valuable Player - Omar Benitez - NEPVA Celtics
Freddy Jones Sportsmanship Award - Kevin Eriksen - Nassau Kings
Al Youakim Spirit Award - Mike Zangari
Thanks to all of our volunteers and supporters for making this one of the oldest and most consistently run Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in the United States.
For more information please contact John Hamre at
Last Updated on Saturday, 03 November 2012 00:20
11th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament
Written by John Hamre
This past weekend, the 11th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament took place at the new Citi Field, home of the New York Mets in parking lot A. Two fields were stripped on the pavement and fencing was put up to resemble a true softball field. 5 Wheelchair Softball Teams sponsored by Major League Baseball franchises were in town to compete. The RIC Cubs, New England Rolling Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets and New York Yankees fought for the coveted "Kelly Cup", named after United Spinal Associations's former Executive Director, Jerry Kelly.
After playing 11 games in the shadow of the new stadium and hosting a clinic for over 125 kids with disabilities from the NYC Department of Education, the RIC Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox in extra innings to win the 11th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament.
On behalf of the players, coaches and Wheelchair Sports Federation, I'd like to thank Jill Knee, Danielle Parillo and the NY Mets for their continued support as well as the NYC Parks & Recreation Department. Without their help, we could not have a premiere Wheelchair Softball Tournament in New York City and one of the better events for Adaptive Sports in the United States.
2012 Final Results:
1st Place - RIC Cubs
2nd Place - Chicago White Sox
3rd Place - New York Mets
4th Place - New England Rolling Red Sox
5th Place - New York Yankees
2012 All-Tournament Team Awards
Pitcher - Alez Parra - RIC Cubs
Catcher - Larry Labiak - RIC Cubs
1st Base - Paul Smith - Chicago White Sox
2nd Base - Eric Phillips - Chicago White Sox
3rd Base - Kurt Smith - RIC Cubs
Shortstop - Joe Mendez - NY Mets
Left Field - Evan Thorn - Chicago White Sox
Centerfield - Curtis Lease - RIC Cubs
Short Field - Kalvin McClendon - Chicago White Sox
Right Field - Eric Wilkens - Chicago White Sox
Best Quad - JR Boyer - Chicago White Sox
Sportsmanship - Hector Bruno - RIC Cubs
Best Rookie - Jason Wheeler - Rolling Red Sox
Most Valuable Player - Paul Moran - RIC Cubs
Al Youakim Volunteer & Spirit Award - Danny Miller
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 17:59
Wheelchair Tennis Clinic (NJ)
Written by John Hamre
Participants, learn the basics of wheelchair tennis from Dylan Levine, center, a Paralympic wheelchair tennis player, who plays for the ITF Wheelchair pro tour. The event is sponsored by the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal in collaboration with the Paralympic Sport Club, the Children’s Lightning Wheels, the Wheelchair Sports Federation and USTA Eastern New Jersey. The three-hour tennis clinic was held at Rahway River Park and intended to encourage athletes, ages 10 years and older, with a physical disability, to become more active and be exposed to a new sport. RAHWAY , NJ 9/15/12 (Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger)
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 September 2012 19:07
U.S.wins five medals on day two of London 2012 Paralympic Games
Written by Administrator
August 31, 2012
LONDON – Team USA added five more medals its count on day two of competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, bringing its total medal count to 11.
Four years ago in Beijing, American archer and Army veteran Russell Wolfe (Widnoon, Pa.) competed in his first Paralympic Games. He finished 29th in his division and knew he wanted to
improve on that performance. On Friday morning under chilly conditions at the Royal Artillery Barracks, he did just that. Unfortunately for Wolfe, the afternoon match did not go as planned as he struggled with his form. The result was a 6-0 loss to Pellegrin, one of the favorites to medal in this event.
Team USA’s Joe Berenyi set a new world record on his way to winning the gold medal
in the men’s individual C3 Pursuit at the velodrome on Friday. After a hiccup at the starting line due to a mechanical issue, Berenyi (Aurora, Ill.) was issued a restart and proved his mental toughness by finish atop the podium with a time of 3:36.148. He set the world record earlier in the day during his qualification round.
Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, N.Y.) piloted Wes Dunham's Western Rose to a score of
70.235% in front of the Ground Jury of Kjell Myhre, Sarah Rodger, Gudrun
Hofinga, Freddy Leyman and Anne Prain.
Riding in Grade 1a competition, Ponessa produced a steady, rhythmic test with the 9-year-old
Oldenburg mare to earn fifth place.
Kicking off racing for the U.S. was single sculler Ron Harvey (Downingtown, Pa.), a
nine-time national team veteran and two-time Paralympian, Harvey lined up with Great Britain’s Beijing Paralympic champion Tom Aggar, who has been unbeaten since his 2007 world championship debut, and didn’t disappoint his roaring home crowd in the grandstands today.
Aggar won the heat with open water in a 4:56.65, with Korea’s Jun-Ha Park and Brazil’s Luciano Luna de Oliveira going two-three. Harvey finished fourth in a 5:05.45.
U.S. trunk and arms mixed double sculls teammates Oksana Masters (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Marine Corps veteran Rob Jones (Lovettsville,Va.), needed to win in order to advance to the
final and avoid the repechage. Instead, they finished second to defending Beijing Paralympic champion China, who set a new Paralympic and world best time of 3:54.92.
The U.S. duo will now need a top two finish in Saturday’s repechage in order to qualify for the final. France’s Stephane Tardieu and Perle Bouge advanced to the final from the first heat with a winning time of four minutes flat.
Swimmers Jessica Long and Navy Lt. Brad Snyder were golden Friday at the Aquatic Center.
Team USA claimed three swimming medals on the second day of competition, with Long’s world record breaking swim in the 400-meter freestyle (S8), Snyder’s first Paralympic gold in the 100m freestyle (S11) and Elizabeth Stone’s bronze in the 100m backstroke (S9).
It was a tough start to the London 2012 Paralympic Games for the U.S. Paralympic Women's
Sitting Volleyball Team. Team USA, the defending Paralympic Games silver
medalists, took on China, the reigning Paralympic Games gold medalists. Team
USA won the first set, marking the first time the U.S. has beaten China’s best,
and won eight of the first 10 points in the second set. But the Americans
ultimately fell 3-1, beginning competition at 0-1.
View highlights here: http://youtu.be/xQ58x4qFCSE
The U.S. will continue preliminary pool-play action on Saturday against Slovenia.
Track & Field
Two-time U.S. Paralympian Scot Severn (Unionville, Mich.), a U.S. Army veteran, won a London 2012 Paralympic Games bronze medal in the men's shot put (F52/53) on Aug. 31. He threw 8.26 meters for a score of 884, edging out the fourth place finisher Ales Kisy of the Czech Republic by six points and .03 meters.Two-time U.S. Paralympian Scot Severn, a U.S. Army veteran, won a London 2012 Paralympic Games bronze medal in the men's shot put (F52/53) on Aug. 31. He threw 8.26 meters for a score of 884, edging out the fourth place finisher finisher Ales Kisy of the Czech Republic by six points and .03 meters.
Women’s Wheelchair Basketball
The U.S. Paralympic Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team dropped its second game of the preliminary rounds to Germany Friday at the Olympic Park Basketball Arena. The final score of the closely contested game was 54-48. At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, the two teams
played for the gold medal.
Go Team USA!
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