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Saturday, March 31, 2012

About Sled Hockey in Southern California

You might have received a flyer about sled hockey from the Ability Expo in Los Angeles.  We could not afford or secure a booth before the event, but we did go and pass out flyers to the attendees who went on Friday.  We were also able to leave some flyers at The Amputee Connection booth, the NAPA Center booth, and The Triumph Foundation booth.  Thanks to those organizations for allowing us to use your booth space for our flyers.

If you are curious about sled hockey in Southern California, there are four programs at differing levels of organization.
San Diego

The Riverside team is called the Junior Reign Sled Hockey Team, and it has practices every other Monday at IceTown (10540 Magnolia).  The next practices are April 2,  16, 30, and May 14 and 28.  The team currently has 13 sleds and gloves, helmets, and elbow pads to borrow.  The team accepts athletes ages 5 and up, and most of the current athletes are adults (although we do have some children).  It is free to come to Riverside and try out a sled to see if you will like it.  Come on out and you can borrow a sled, sticks, and pads.  After the first practice, if you decide to join the team, there is a $25 monthly fee to help pay for ice time.  If you want more information about the Junior Reign Sled Hockey Team, contact Todd at

The Oxnard team is the Riptide Sled Hockey team, and it is just starting up.  In fact, their first practice is April 7, and the next one is April 14. (Note the change in date.  Previously, it the first practice was April 4, but because of shipping problems with their new sleds, they moved the first practice back to April 7.)  They are in the process of fundraising for more sleds and ice time.  They practice at the Channel Islands Ice Center.  If you have questions about the Riptide Sled Hockey Team, contact Rhonda at

The Bakersfield team is under development.  They had a clinic in January and have very limited equipment.  If you live close enough to Bakersfield to practice there, you could get in on the ground floor of the team.  When they are ready, they will be affiliated with Bakersfield Ice Sports Center.  If you would like more information about the Bakersfield program, contact Scott at  You could also contact Brian Rathfelder on Facebook for information.

The San Diego team is perhaps the least developed.  They have had some clinics and are busy raising support. We are hoping they will be able to have an event soon, and we will keep you posted on the next event they have.  If you would like more information about the San Diego program, contact and he will get you in touch with the right people.

Sled hockey is a very fun sport that allows athletes to get out of their wheelchairs.  We are very proud of all of the programs in Southern California.  We hope you can find a program that will be right for you.

FYI- we are also on Facebook.  You can join the group SoCalSledHockey, and/or you can also join the groups for Junior Reign Sled Hockey Team and Riptide Sled Hockey Team.  Click on the links and they will take you to those group pages.  You can also follow us on Twitter: SoCalSledHockey.  This is a good way to find out information about upcoming events. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oxnard Team Kicks Off on April 4

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."-Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 4...April 4...April 4... why does that date sound so familiar?  
Let's see...

On April 4, 1581, Sir Francis Drake finished circumnavigating the globe.
On April 4, 1841 William Henry Harrison died from pneumonia, the first US President to die in office.
On April 4, 1917, the US Senate voted 90-6 to enter World War I.
On April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's record.

No. Those are important events, but they don't ring a bell.  What I remember about April 4 is the U2 lyrics from Pride (In the Name of Love)

Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/they could not take your pride.

Those lyrics were written to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, and that song has burned April 4 permanently into my brain.

Now, here's another reason to remember April 4 (if you read the headline to this post, you already know):

Drum roll please....

April 4 is the very first practice of the Riptide Sled Hockey Team.  They practice in Oxnard at Channel Islands Ice Center, the same rink where the clinic was held in January.  There is a map to the ice rink on the side of the screen.

The practice begins with a warm up at 12:45PM, and the team will hit the ice from 1:15-2:15.  Athletes need to bring their own hockey helmets.  Those who don't have helmets can purchase one from the rink.  Athletes do not have to pre-register, but it would be helpful to get a head count ahead of time (and make sure there is a sled available for you).  Contact to pre-register or to ask any questions.

Yay!  Applause! Fireworks!

This has been a labor of love for Mel and Rhonda Waidmann, who have been tirelessly working on getting this team started for many months.  They have held car washes and fundraisers at restaurants (where the team gets a percentage of the proceeds from the sales for a particular night).  They have gathered donations from businesses and individuals, and they have coordinated with the director of the ice rink.  It's not easy, yet they have done it all with gracefulness and unyielding energy.  They finally had gathered enough money to order their first sleds for their team.

There is a lot of work ahead for the Riptide Sled Hockey Team, but the Waidmanns and their friends and family can take pride in how far they have come so quickly.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. once wisely said, "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase."  There will be more battles to fight, more hills to climb, and more cars to wash.  Let this be the first of many practices and the first of many sled orders.

Another thing King said was, "Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." Those of you who have worked to make the Riptide Sled Hockey team happen, my hat is off to you.  You are making this world a better place, one hockey stick at a time.

Meanwhile, the Junior Reign Sled Hockey team has been practicing at Ice Town in Riverside every other Monday night at 7PM. They just got a shipment of three more sleds, so they are making room for you. The next practices are March 19, April 2, April 16, April 30, and May 7. The first practice is free, so come try it out. Sleds and equipment are available for you to borrow.  You do not need to pre-register, just come out and get in a sled.  Sleds are first-come, first-served, and, if there aren't enough sleds, athletes who are physically disabled get the sleds before athletes who are not physically disabled.

...and, since some of you now have the song in your head, let me end with this video.