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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year of the Dragon and the Year of the Hockey Sled

Nicholas was born in 2000, the Chinese Year of the Dragon.  Yes, I know that Chinese (Vietnamese, Korean, etc.) New Year is a little later in our calendar year than Western New Year.

When I was pregnant, I painted a castle on his wall.  When I learned my baby would have spina bifida, I thought it was all very apropos because he would have many dragons to slay in his lifetime.  Maternal Fetal Surgery- dragon 1.  Birth and brief stay in NICU- dragon 2.  Detethering surgery- dragon 3. Shunt surgery- dragon 4. Laminotomy surgery- dragon 5.  That was before he turned one.  He learned to crawl, walk, and slayed dragons in many areas of his life.   He has had a few more surgeries stemming from his shunt, he has had some physical therapy issues, educational issues, social issues, and other dragons.

Guess what?  2012 will be the Year of the Dragon again!

This time, Nicholas is looking forward to meeting some great dragons this year.  First, the sled hockey team he started recently joined up with the Junior Reign Hockey Club (mascot?  Dragons, of course).

Nicholas' story is echoed in all of our athletes.  Some have been slaying dragons since birth, and others woke up in a hospital bed after a bad accident.  Spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, amputations, spina bifida, and other issues.  Those are diagnoses our athletes have endured.  Sometimes they become like labels.

I have another label:  Hockey player!

Practices of the Junior Reign Sled Hockey Team start on January 9 at Ice Town in Riverside, and all are welcome.  They will be every-other Monday after that.  We have seven sleds for Nicholas and his teammates to borrow, with more coming shortly, thanks to a recent jersey auction and other fundraisers and donations.  We have safety equipment for athletes to borrow as well.  Eventually, you might want to get your own helmet and equipment.  For now, you can simply use one of ours.  All you need to bring is....yourself.  Wear warm clothes in layers (you are going to an ice rink) and close-toed shoes such as tennis shoes.

The team has open-enrollment, so you can choose to join at any time.  Once you choose to join the team, you will need to join USA Hockey as a player as well.  The first year of USA Hockey membership is free for disabled players.  Tell your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. about it.  This is the first sled hockey program in Southern California, so by joining it, you are part of sled hockey history.

2012 is already shaping up to be the Year of the Dragon, indeed!

For more information, go here, or e-mail

Other News:
Don't forget the clinic in Oxnard on January 28 and the clinic in Bakersfield on January 29.  Contact Rhonda at for more info on the Oxnard clinic, and Scott at for the Bakersfield clinic.  These are coming up quickly, so mark your calendar now and make plans to be there!  Pre-registration at the clinics is not mandatory, but it is suggested, since it will streamline the amount of time it takes you to get out on the ice on the day of the event.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sled Hockey Night at Ontario Reign Game

First, before you read about our sled hockey night, can you do us a favor?  Can you go to this page on Facebook and vote for Todd J.'s video under "Health and Fitness?"  If we win, it means $10,000 for our sled hockey team.  Vote daily from now until December 30, and please pass this info along to your friends, family, and co-workers as well.

Now...on to sled hockey night at the Ontaior Reign game...

The newly minted Junior Reign Sled Team took to the ice on Saturday, December 10 during the first intermission of the Ontario Reign game.  Though the sledders hadn't been able to practice since September, they demonstrated what sled hockey was all about.  Elina, Nick, Josh, and Kyung-Moon from the Junior Reign team, and Brock, Will, and Little Mel from the Junior Riptide team showed the crowd of 7,916 people what sled hockey was all about.

Above: Elina, being pushed by Tristian, Little Mel 
show off in front of the crowd.

This happened because a special donor, Byron Marquez, had set up a jersey auction to benefit the team. He is also a big supporter of the 66er's dance team, and he knows the struggles disabled people have had, especially physically disabled, in getting sports teams in the area.

Members of our sled team, plus our coach and the hockey 
director at Ice Town thank the donor with a plaque during 
the Ontario Reign game.  

Since there was going to be a jersey auction, the management of the Ontario Reign decided to have an on-ice demo with our sled team.  That would have been easy enough, except for the fact that we only had two sleds total.

Enter USA Hockey!  We had applied for a grant for five sleds for our team.  USA Hockey gives away several grants like that every year with the stipulation that the team will use the sleds sometime during the year.  We did not know about the jersey auction when we applied for the grant.  By providence, we got the grant just in time, and Randy Kwapis of Mobility Sports was gracious in getting the sleds made and shipped to us as soon as he humanly could.  We received the five sleds on Thursday, and the on-ice demo was on Saturday.  Yes, it was that close.

The Reign comped the sled hockey players tickets, and we all got to sit together as a team.  When the game started, the athletes and their families went downstairs to get ready for the on-ice demo.  Since the sleds were brand new, none of them had been pre-adjusted to the athletes' height.  We had each athlete use a borrowed helmet and borrowed gloves and elbow pads.  Two of the athletes had their own, but the rest had to borrow from the team's supply.

Members of the team and their parents sit together 
waiting for the time to go downstairs and get ready for 
the demo.

Luckily, it was "teddy bear toss" night.  That's where people bring stuffed animals to throw on the ice after the home team scores their first goal of the game.  The stuffed animals get donated to a charity.  In this case, the stuffed animals got donated to Toys for Tots.  A lot of hockey teams do this for a home game during the Christmas season.  Not only did Toys for Tots get a load of stuffed animals, since the goal was scored while we were getting ready, it bought us some time in getting ready.  Whew!
All lined up and waiting to get on the ice!

The team lined up at the Zamboni gate, and as soon as the bell sounded to end the period and the Ontario Reign and Las Vegas Wrangler players left the ice, our sled players got on.  The demo was short; it was only five minutes.  Apparently, there are strict rules for how long the intermissions can be, and the home team has to get all the on-ice demos and displays over, and get the Zamboni to finish resurfacing before the time is up.

Not only was the team on the ice, but they projected close 
ups on the jumbo-tron for the audience to see.  
This is a picture taken from the jumbo-tron's display.

The people cheered wildly for our players!  It was so encouraging to hear.

Not only did we have a great time, but we bring the team luck.  They beat the Las Vegas Wranglers 5-2.

The jersey auction happened after the game.  Players came out and people bid on the game-worn jersey off their backs-sweat and all.  Winners of the auction also got a pair of hockey socks, and some players had other items to throw into the auction such as Los Angeles Kings tickets, and a motor scooter.  The lowest winning bid was $450 and the highest winning bid was $3,000.

At the jersey auction after the game.

Also in the News:

The Oxnard Junior Riptide Sled Team had a float in the Camarillo Christmas Parade on December 10.  This event helped raise awareness of the program, and it helped elevate their profile in the community.  The team will be holding a free sled hockey clinic on Saturday, January 28.  Riding on the float was Kyung-Moon, Brock, and one member of the Junior Reign Sled Team, Nick.  They sat in sleds and waved to the crowd.  The weather was beautiful, and many people could be heard along the parade route saying things like, "Sled hockey?  What't that?" and, "I read about this in the paper," and "It looks like fun."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....Sled Hockey!


In a word, that is what we have been. There are a lot of sled hockey events in the planning stages. Here is a schedule:

Saturday, December 10- Camarillo Christmas Parade- parade begins at 10:00 AM.  Come see the float to publicize the Junior Riptide Sled Team. For more information, contact Rhonda at

Saturday, December 10- Sled Hockey Night at the Ontario Reign game.  Some members of the Junior Reign Sled Team will be doing an on-ice demo during one of the intermissions, and the proceeds of a jersey auction will go to the Junior Reign Sled Team.  To buy tickets, go here, or contact Todd at  Loud Jumpy Kids, an organization that makes knot bracelets to help raise money for charity, will also be having a fundraiser that night to benefit the sled team. See their website here for more info.

Monday, January 9- Junior Reign's first practice 7:00-8:20 at Ice Town in Riverside.  We will have at least seven sleds available for you to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis.  We also have helmets and pads.  For directions to the rink, go here.  If you have questions, contact Todd at

Monday, January 23- Junior Reign practice, 7:00-8:20 at Ice Town in Riverside.  The team will practice every-other week on Monday nights from 7:00-8:20.

Saturday, January 28- Free Sled Hockey Clinic at Channel Islands Ice Center in Oxnard.  Check in begins at 12:30, and the athletes take the ice from 1:15-3:15.  Directions to the rink are here.   Any questions?  Contact Rhonda at .

Sunday, January 29- Free Sled Hockey Clinic at Bakersfield Ice Sports Center.  Times TBA.  Contact Scott at  for info.

Float building:
We have been working hard to build the float for the Camarillo Christmas Parade.  Well, the Waidmanns have been working hard, and we've pitched in here and there.

Here, Steven, Little Mel, Nick, and Brock paint the trailer white so it can resemble a hockey rink.

Here, Rhonda and her friend paint the hockey markings on the trailer while Todd and Lee cut plywood hockey stick decorations.

Here, Brock, Nick, and Sam paint the risers the sleds will sit on.

The float will be ready for the parade, and we've had so much fun making it!  I hope it brings a lot of publicity to the Oxnard program.

Breaking news:
Dave Davies has been named coach of the Junior Reign Sled Team!

Dave is on the left in the green shirt, standing with Nick, and Matt Dunaev, the hockey director of Ice Town.  They are excited to get the Junior Reign Sled Team started!  Matt has shown incredible leadership and insight in helping us get the program off the ground, and Dave, who is a level 4 USA Hockey coach, is excited to begin teaching our team the basics of sled hockey.

So, yes, busy.  That's the most appropriate word for us!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

December 10-- a Big Day for Sled Hockey

If you live in Southern California and like hockey, you should be at one of the two (or both!) of the sled hockey events on December 10.

First, SoCal Sled Hockey will be in the Camarillo Christmas Parade.  It will start at 10:00 A.M. and will feature our Junior Riptides Sled Program from Oxnard.  Click here for more information about the parade.   You can also find out how to be in it, or where the cheering section will be along the route by contacting Rhonda Waidmann at  The parade will bring exposure and publicity to our sled hockey program.

Pretty Camarillo...

Second, the Ontario Reign will be having a Sled Hockey Night, featuring an intermission demonstration of some SoCal Sled Hockey players, and a jersey auction to support the Junior Reign Sled Team in Riverside. Loud Jumpy Kids will be selling knotted lace bracelets at the game to help support our program as well.

The jersey auction and knotted lace bracelets will help the team buy sleds, sticks, and equipment, and donations are tax deductible.  Tickets to the Ontario Reign game range from $10 to $50, depending on where you want to sit in the arena.  The Reign will be playing the Las Vegas Wranglers that night.  You can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster here.  We appreciate everyone who can come and cheer us on when we have our athletes on the ice during intermission.  We also appreciate anyone who can purchase a jersey at the auction. They make great Christmas gifts.

Invite your friends, family, co-workers, bosses, classmates, neighbors, church members, club members, musicians, waitresses, store clerks, etc.  You get the idea. If you have purchased tickets and you want us to know you'll be there, let Todd know what section you are sitting in by e-mailing him at   Also, e-mail Todd if you would like some materials to send/give to people you are inviting.

Both of these events should be loads of fun.  We hope to see you at one or both events.  They are about 2 hours of driving distance apart...and their start times are 10:00 A.M. for the parade and 6:00 P.M. for the Reign game, so it is possible for a person to be at both events, with time in the middle of the day to spare.  Of course, we understand that the holidays are a busy time and if you can only go to one, choose the one that's right for you.  We have the best fans, and the greatest athletes.  We know you have big hearts.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ventura County Clinic Set for January

Great news!

The Ventura County branch of SoCal Sled Hockey is planning a free clinic on January 28 at the Channel Islands Ice Center in Oxnard.

It all started when Nicholas Jenkins, the kid who started the Riverside team, auditioned for a role in a television show.  He didn't get the part.  Didn't even get a call back.  Still, he was excited that Brock Waidmann, a kid who has spina bifida just like him, got the part.

Brock taking a second to pose for a picture after 
falling over on a hockey sled.  

Nick's dad contacted Brock and invited him out to the September 4 SoCal Sled Hockey clinic.  Brock and his mom, Rhonda, came out, along with his three brothers.  They fell in love with the sport.

Brock in light gray, with his two brothers, playing sled hockey

Nick in the red helmet, with Brock in the light 
gray at the September 4 clinic in Riverside.

Still, living in Ventura County, the family was realistic in their assessment of the program.  It was fun, but way too far for them to drive for regular practices and games.

The family took the bull by the horns and decided to start a team closer to them.  Their first choice was the ice rink in Oxnard, and the people at the ice rink have been very supportive of adopting a sled hockey team.

Recently, the rink added the sled hockey team as a component of its hockey program, the Junior Riptides.  Now, people in Southern California have two choices for sled hockey: Riverside and Oxnard.

Plan to come out to the Channel Islands Ice Center on January 28 to help kick-off and celebrate the new team!  More details about time and clinicians to follow...

Map and directions to the ice rink in Oxnard.

Rhonda and Mel Waidmann, the team mom and dad of the 
Ventura County branch of SoCal Sled Hockey.  

For more information about the the clinic, you can contact the team at and/or check out their event page on Facebook here.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Orange and Blue

The Junior Reign Hockey organization has accepted us into their program, so we are officially the Junior Reign Sled Team.  It's very exciting!

It has been a long road to get here from the very first idea of starting sled hockey in Southern California.
Nick and Steven sporting the Junior Reign jerseys.  Fish out your orange and blue clothes!

One of my friends in Michigan had sent me pictures on Facebook of her son playing this amazing sport called sled hockey.  This was about three years ago. My son, who has spina bifida like her son, saw the pictures and said, "Mom, that's the sport I really want to play."  I had to admit, it looked like a lot of fun.  I could see why he would be interested in playing it.

At that point, there were no sports team programs specifically for physically disabled kids in the area.  Actually, except for our program, there still are no other sports teams for physically disabled kids in the area.

When my son saw the pictures of sled hockey, I started calling the rinks around.

"Do you have a sled hockey program?"

Next rink:
"Do you have a sled hockey program?"

I called many rinks around the area and I got the same response.  Luckily, I was letting my fingers do the walking rather than wasting gas.

Finally, I got smart and called USA Hockey.  "Hi.  I'm in Southern California, and I wanted to know which ice rinks in my area have sled hockey."

Their response was, "There are no rinks in your area that have sled hockey.  Would you like to start a team?"

That is where it all began.

Our first clinic was in May of 2009.  PossAbilities sponsored the ice time, and USA Hockey sent out sleds and a couple of athletes: Dave Conklin, a Paralympic gold and bronze medalist in sled hockey, and Ray Free of the Sacramento Lightning.  It was a rollicking success.  We had about 40 people get in sleds for the very first time.
A group shot of some of the participants of the 2009 clinic.  

Organizationally, we were on cloud nine that we were able to get so many people out.  We thought we'd be able to pair up with some other disabled sports programs and get added on as another branch of their overall programs, but that just wasn't going to work out.

We had out second clinic in May, 2010, and this time about 80 people got into sleds.  Our third clinic was in September, 2011, and about 60-80 people got into sleds.

Still, although sled hockey is obviously a very desired sports program, it's been difficult to move past the clinics and get the team going, so our athletes can learn, drill, improve, and eventually play games and tournaments.

That is why teaming up with the Junior Reign organization will be such a win-win for us and them.  They get the distinction of being the only Southern California program with a sled component.  We get the organizational and fundraising backing of an established hockey program, along with the support as we navigate the waters.

We are very excited, and we feel this is an extremely positive step forward.  No, it's not even a step.  It's a second wind in the middle of the marathon, allowing us to sprint toward our goal of establishing an actual team and program for physically disabled kids (and adults).

Nick, the very first time he got to try out a sled at our 2009 clinic.  He was 8 years old.  

Nick at the most recent clinic in September, 2011.  He is now 11, and it's high time we get this program going into a regular team.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A New Sled

I can't wait for the day when getting another new sled will be "old hat" to us. For now, getting a new sled is a day of celebration!

We got a new sled!!!

It's not exactly "new."  Still, it's a sled, and I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The package came by UPS, and we knew it was coming.  Still, when the box got here, I had just pulled into the driveway, coming home from work, so I had a momentary lapse of understanding.

A package?  Why are we getting a package?  It's not close enough to Christmas...

Oh!  Yes, now I remember!  It's our sled!

Nick, Todd, and I opened the box.  Nick was excited, until he realized it was not all in one piece.  Don't worry Nick, we have tools!

Yep, we had our very own "Colorado Sled Hockey" sled.  It's nice of them to send us one that's marked.  That way, we'll be able to use it when we beat them in a game in a couple of years.  When we do, we have plans to point out that we beat them using one of their sleds.

It's not quite all put together, but it's together enough that you get the picture.

As an added bonus, they also sent us three face masks to go on our mask-less helmets!  That was a big surprise, and we are thrilled.  I'm not sure when the last time was that a face mask thrilled me.  Maybe this is the very first time it ever happened.  See!  It was a momentous day!

We have many thanks for the fantastic people with Colorado Sled Hockey.  If you want to find out more about their program, click here.  To summarize, the association has about 40 sleds, and they are sponsored by the Colorado Avalanche.  They have an adults' team and a kids' team.  When we went to the USA Hockey Western Sled Hockey Conference, we met Corey Fairbanks and Bruce Grandchamp.  They are both wonderful guys, and they bragged a lot (well...Corey bragged a lot) about winning the 2011 National Sled Hockey Championship.  Two members of the US National Team are from their team.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Western Sled Hockey Conference

Nope, not in Paris, France.  Not even close.  This conference was in Vegas, and despite the fact that casinos such as Paris (pictured) and Bellagio were in the vicinity and calling us, a bunch of people from sled hockey programs in the Western United States (and some from states that might not be considered exactly Western) descended on Las Vegas for the first ever Western Sled Hockey Conference put on by USA Hockey.

One treat of the conference was that the entire US National Team was there in Las Vegas with us.  They had practice every evening, and they also had a social activity with the rest of us (not to mention meeting them in the elevator and lobby because we were all staying at the same hotel).  It was important to see how good sled hockey was done.  Most of the programs represented dealt with beginner and intermediate players of the game, and it was  good to get tutorials about how the excellent players cradle the puck and turn their sleds.  

Since all of this talent was in Las Vegas, it was a good time for the Vegas sled program to hold a clinic.  I doubt this little boy knew he was being helped by Josh Pauls, one of the best sled hockey players in the world.  The boy in the background probably didn't realize he was getting his sled adjusted by Bill Sandberg, the equipment manager of the US National Team.  

The conference itself was extremely informative.  There were sessions about creating a sled hockey organization, equipment management, coaching (both on and off the ice), fund raising, off-ice training (shoulder and back exercises), and many other topics.  

There were many people from California, including us, Kay Robertson, Rhonda and Mel Waidmann (starting a program in Oxnard), Kellie and Chris Hays (Disabled Hockey Pacific District Director), Steve Laing (CA USA Hockey Pacific District Director), Scott Hay (starting a program in Bakersfield), and Trooper Johnson (starting a program in Oakland).  Above is a picture of all of us plotting how we're going to take over the world... or at least organize sled hockey in California.  

In addition to the seminars, we had some on-ice time to try the sleds and learn coaching/playing skills to take back to our programs.    Above, Keith Blase is using Taylor Lipsett and Taylor Chace to show us skills.

We even got to try out sleds and see how difficult the sport was.  We mastered getting around on the ice pretty well, but stopping was another story!  It is very difficult to use sticks to make yourself move and for puck handling at the same time. Many skills take the use of both sides of the body, both sides of the brain, and the ability to multi-task to another level. Our sled hockey players are super intelligent in order to play this game well!

The Waidmanns also got on the ice.  They came out to our clinic in September, and their kids loved it so much they have committed to starting a program in Oxnard, closer to their own home.  

 Of course, being Vegas, we did have some time to play in other ways as well.  Above, Kyung-Moon Shin, a South Korean transplant to California, eats sushi with Brock Waidmann.  We're in the background, enjoying our sushi as well.  

We didn't win big at the slots or cards in Vegas.  However, the information and contacts we got from the conference were so incredibly valuable that we feel much richer. More importantly, our program will be richer as well.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

DisAbility Sports Festival 2011

We had a great time at the DisAbility Sports Festival on Saturday, October 1.  We had a sled hockey booth where people could sign up for more information.  Some interesting contacts were made, including many people who were unfamiliar with the sport, or did not know that we were playing it out here.  Hopefully, those contacts will translate into more athletes, more support, and more resources.  The photo above is what our booth looked like.  We had a sled on display, flyers, and a sign-up sheet.

Maybe in the coming years we can actually demo the sport at the Festival.  The problem is that Cal State has no ice, even on the coldest winter day.  There are some options for a sled hockey demo.  One option is to outfit some sleds with roller equipment.  Mobility Sports sells roller accessories so that we could modify the sleds for gymnasiums and so on.  They use wheels like rollerblades, and instead of the ice pics, the sticks have crutch tips on them to move across the floor.  Below is a selection of some of the modifications they offer.

Another possibility is to use synthetic ice.  Here is a link to one of the many businesses that sells synthetic ice. It looks like each sheet is about $50, so for $500 or $1,000 we could have a surface that is good enough to demo sled hockey on.  

Of course, all of those options are pie-in-the-sky right now.  We're still raising money to buy the basic equipment such as sleds, ice time, helmets, and pads.  We're in no position to purchase the equipment to demo the sport without ice.  Still, a person can dream, right?

Aaron Moffett, the founder of the DisAbility Sports Festival has been a great supporter of our program from the beginning, and we are so happy to have his support.  In his opening remarks, he said that about 40% of able-bodied people get the Surgeon General's recommended 90 minutes of exercise each week, but only 10% of persons with disabilities get the recommended amount of exercise.  That is a travesty, and it's something we are working together to change!

Kyoung-Moon Shin, a member of South Korea's sled hockey team came out to the festival and helped us with our booth.  He also tried out archery.  He's pretty good at it!

Nick Jenkins and Brock Waidmann tried out wheelchair basketball, kayaking, handcycling, and archery.  They had a great day, but, of course, sled hockey is their love.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let's Raise Awareness and Raise Support...

On Sunday, September 4, we had our third free sled hockey clinic. The first one was in 2009 and about 40 people tried out sleds for the first time. The second one was in 2010, and about 100 athletes came out to play. Some of the people who came out in 2010 had come to our first clinic, but a lot of them were new to the sport. Finally, we just had our third clinic where about 80 people tried out sled hockey, and about 1/2 of those were returning athletes, while the other 1/2 were trying it out for the first time.

Obviously, it's a fantastic sport. When we get people coming out again and again to the sled hockey clinics we host, we know that they have caught the love of the sport in their hearts. When we get new athletes coming out to try the sport, we know that we have the potential to expand.

In this picture, Nick, the founder and visionary behind 
sled hockey in SoCal (in the red helmet), races to the puck 
against a person who is trying out the sport for the first time.  

Recently, I was discussing sled hockey in Southern California with a friend who lives in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania is a large state with a little over 12 million people, and it supports somewhere between 3 and 5 sled hockey programs (three that I know of for sure, and two others that have been viable in the past, although I am not sure they are still running).  

In contrast, Southern California, at a little over 22 million people, has over twice the population that Pennsylvania has.  We have 2 NHL teams: the Ducks and the Kings.  Yet, we have only one sled hockey program, (this one), and it is trying hard to hold its head above water with sleds it borrows once a year for a clinic.  Currently, we have 20 child-sized helmets and 20 pairs of adult-sized gloves and elbow pads.  One of our athletes has his own sled, and another athlete has his own hockey gear (helmet, pads, and sticks, but no sled).  

Southern California should be able to support this sled hockey program!  In fact, if Pennsylvania is any example, Southern California should be able to support six to ten sled hockey teams.  

Southern California alone has more population than any other state in the union, including New York (a little over 19 million and two to four sled hockey programs), Illinois (a little over 12 million, and two to three sled hockey programs), and Texas (a little over 21 million and (two to three sled hockey programs).  

Call to Action

So, here is where I tell you how you can help.  There are four ways to help.  All of them are equally necessary.  You might be able to do two, three, or all four, and I'll bet you can do at least one of them!

Way 1-- You can help by donating a sled, ice time, or new equipment to this team.  Sleds cost about $700-$800 each.  Ice time is about $350 an hour.  Equipment varies in price.  Some people wouldn't have any problem writing a check for one of those amounts, or even just pitching in $20, $50, or $100 towards these items.

Way 2--You can help by donating used gear to our team.  We're not picky at this point.  We need larger helmets.  We need face cages.  We need smaller gloves and elbow pads.  We need other hockey gear as well.  Many people have garages full of the stuff because their kids played hockey at one time.  If it's still in good condition, we'll be happy to take it off your hands.  

Way 3-- You can help by getting a business, club, church group, etc. to donate a big-ticket item.  Since sleds cost between $700 and $800, if a group of twenty people donated about $40 each, the group could cover the cost of a hockey sled for our team.  If a group of ten people donated about $35 each, it would cover the cost of an hour of ice time for our team.  If a company has more employees than that, then the amount per employee goes down.  You get the picture, I'm sure.  

We have materials you can use to talk with such companies and groups about donating.  If you would like to get our letter asking for donations so you can take it to places of business in your area, just e-mail us at

In addition, groups of hockey teams may be able to donate a partial sheet of ice once-in-a-while.  If your hockey team could give up 1/3 or 1/2 of the ice occasionally so our sled hockey team has a place to practice, it would help us greatly.  

Way 4-- We need volunteers who are willing to help athletes get into sleds, help push some of the less-skilled or less-able athletes around on the ice, and perform various other tasks.  We are currently looking for coaches as well.  I do not want to downplay this because donating time is often more valuable than donating money.  

Think of the one, two, three, or four ways you can help kick-start sled hockey in Southern California!  

To inspire you to greatness, here is the video to our latest clinic on September 4.  I hope you count the smiles and realize that sled hockey is worth every penny and every second people invest in it.  When you decide you want to help, please e-mail Todd or Christie at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Video from Last Sunday's Clinic

We had a great time at last Sunday's sled hockey clinic.  Somewhere between 60 and 80 people got out on the ice in sleds, including many people with physical disabilities, some siblings, friends, and family members (when you are all sitting in a sled, you are all equal), and some people with developmental disabilities.  About 2/3 of the participants were children and teens, while about 1/3 were adults.  Many of the people were trying out sled hockey for the very first time.  Here is a video we put together with footage and photos from the clinic.

Smiles and more smiles! Let's hope that soon enough we will have enough monetary support so that we can have more regular practices and events soon. If you have any ideas for raising support for our team, please contact us at  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sled Hockey Clinic on September 4

About 60 athletes got into sleds, many of them for the first time.  The clinic was held at Ice Town in Riverside.  It was sponsored by PossAbilities from Loma Linda University Medical Center and USA Hockey.  We had four clinicians: Rico Roman, forward from the US National Sled Team, Jen Yung Lee, goalie for the US National Sled Team. Dave Nicholls, goalie from the National Ability Center Golden Eagles sled team in Utah, and Kyung-Moon Shin from South Korea's National Team.  
                                             Above: Dave Nicholls gives a pep talk

                                              Above: Jen Yung Lee helps an athlete.

                                               Rico Roman gets going on the ice.

                                                 Kyung-Moon Shin shows how to play.

Many pictures are posted on Facebook's SoCal Sled Hockey page, so if you don't see the picture you love best here, check it out there.  

We had several volunteers come out, including a group of students from Western University, some players from KGGI's hockey team, along with Kellie Hayes and Charlie Furtch from USA Hockey.  They were so valuable!  We could not have pulled the clinic off without them!

Some of the more poignant moments from the afternoon are detailed below.  

Briget came to the clinic with her two daughters.  Though she uses a wheelchair, her daughters are able-bodied.  We were able to get all three of them on sleds so that the family could play together.  They had tons of fun out there and the clinicians even commented on how well all of them improved over the course of the afternoon.  

Sean was at the rink a week ago when we were tying up some loose ends to get ready for the clinic.  Hockey practice was going on, and we saw this kid who was walking around with forearm crutches.  We talked to him about the sled hockey clinic (it was coming up in a week when we saw him).  He happened to be at the rink because his brother is on a hockey team.  He was able to come to the clinic, and when he reluctantly got off the ice at the end of the clinic, he said, "This was the most fun I've ever had.  Ever."

Nicholas was the originator of sled hockey in Southern California.  After viewing some photos of a friend playing it in Wisconsin, he said, "That's the sport I want to play."  That was almost four years ago.  After trying to find a sled hockey program in Southern California and coming up empty, we started on of our own.  Nicholas was not only the inspiration, but he did a lot of the work.  He works tirelessly on publicity and fundraising.  He had a lot of fun at the clinic.  It was so nice to see him having a good time at the program he inspired.