What a year!
Our hockey club became a recognized and official Paralympic Sport Club. This opens our program up for grant and training opportunities put on by US Olympic and US Paralympic Committees. It helps us network with other people in the sports community, and being part of a Paralympic Sport Club helps us get discounts at certain businesses.
|Our Paralympic Sport Club banner at the rink|
We had our annual clinic on June 23. Fifty-three people tried a hockey sled, many of them for the very first time. We had a lot of help from Bisop Amat's high school hockey team, and several other volunteers came out to help. Here are a few pictures from our clinic.
In addition, we had athletes who went to clinics to demonstrate the sport and help teams/programs in other parts of Southern California. Nick and Andrew went to a clinic in Cathedral City where they were joined by a few members of the Phoenix Coyotes to demo the sport. Nick and Joshua went to a clinic in Oxnard, and Nick went to a clinic in Bakersfield. Each time, we brought some of our extra sleds and gear in the "sled hockey mobile."
We had a few fundraisers. One fundraiser, sponsored by Glen Ivy Hot Springs, brought $5,000 to our team by selling passes to the spa. The Kings helped us by purchasing the mugs travel coffee mugs for us to sell. They even set aside space on their website to sell the mugs online, LAKings.com/sled. You can still purchase one or several and drink coffee like a King!
|Mike Richards proves his good taste by taking a picture with one of our coffee mugs.|
The Kings also helped us by donating auction items including a team signed jersey, signed pucks, and other items. They took up a collection during the sled hockey demo at Hockey Fest as well. They have been super in supporting sled hockey and helping our team. They donated jerseys and the personalization when our competitive adults team went to the NHL Sled Classic.
In addition, we received several grants and donations, including one from Sempra Energy, one from the Ontario Reign Booster Club, and the Yucaipa Masonic Lodge.
In September, we invited to do a demo at LA Kings Hockey Fest. Yes, the first hockey game played on that ice this season was our sled hockey scrimmage! We balanced the teams between kids and adults, less-skilled and more-skilled players, and had a great time. Both Daniel Carcillo and Ben Scrivens dropped the pucks to start the periods, and after the scrimmage, they got into sleds to play with our athletes and others.
|Charlie, Brian, and Wes outside of Staples Center before HockeyFest.|
|Charlie, Brian, and Wes on the ice at Hockey Fest.,|
|Ben Scrivens gets some sled hockey pointers from Pedro.|
|Not exactly Staples Center, but it will do for a Kings locker room.|
|The team. Top L-R: Wes, Summer, Todd (manager) Terry, and Andrew.|
Bottom L-R: Charlie, Joshua, Nick, Brian, and Pedro.
In addition, we practiced for fifty weeks out of the year. Our coaches and volunteers have been phenomenal. Andrew Hodge, who is USA Hockey's Coach in Chief for Disabled Hockey for the Western Region, has brought our adult team from a ragtag bunch of people to a respected and competitive team that can compete at a national competition. Jim Edelbrock has taken a bunch of kids who have never had the opportunity to play a competitive sport before and turned them into hockey-loving awesomeness. Our on-ice volunteers Jake Kent and Geoff Estabrooks have also been very helpful.
|Jake with one of the kids.|
Off the ice, the Swope family take the initiative to help new athletes and keep the equipment in working order. In addition, many of our events could not have happened without countless volunteers and helpful people.
Recently, we got a nice donation of broken stick shafts we can use for our sled hockey sticks from the folks at Hat Trick BBQ. They also gave us a BBQ set to auction off.
Looking forward into 2014, we have several things on the agenda.
1. Solidify our relationship with the LA Kings and become the official LA Kings Sled Hockey team.
2. Have a 3 on 3 tournament for our U-18 athletes (inviting sled hockey U-18 athletes from Phoenix, Oakland, Oxnard, Las Vegas, and Bakersfield to participate).
3. Have demo game at Honda Center after the Ducks v. Wild game on January 28. We will play the Corona Norco Stingrays, putting them in hockey sleds.
4. Have a demo between periods at the Kings v. Panthers game on March 22.
5. Have a potluck breakfast to watch the gold medal Paralympic sledge hockey game on March 15 (hopefully USA will be in this game).
6. Possibly going to the Disabled Hockey Festival in April in Boston.
....and many more events on the schedule including our annual clinic, sending one or more players to USA Hockey's Select Sled Camp, helping San Diego establish a program, having some tournaments, fundraisers, and fun. Always have fun.
For more information on any of these events, for how a potential athlete can join the team (or at least try it out to see if you'll like it), or to find out how to volunteer or sponsor the team, contact Todd at IESledhockey@aol.com or LAKingsSledHockey@gmail.com. You can also call (909) 863-1000 and ask for Todd.
We're also on Facebook here for our specific LA Kings Sled Hockey team, and here for all the programs in Southern California. In addition follow us on Twitter at SoCalSledHockey.