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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.  

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