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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clinic: The Good (There is no Bad or Ugly)

On June 23, we had our annual sled hockey clinic at our rink, LA Kings Icetown, Riverside. This year, our clinic was a "Paralympic Experience" because we are now officially a Paralympic Sports Club. We had at least 53 people try out sleds. (!!!!) Several of them were trying it out for the first time. First, a huge thank you for the volunteers who helped out, including:
  • Bishop Amat high school hockey team 
  • Mr. Tivey and some of his students from Cajon High School 
  • Several members of the Junior Reign bantam and midget hockey teams
  • The Swope family

Also, our never ending gratitude to our fabulous coaches Andrew Hodge ("Hodgie"), Jim Edelbrock, and our ever-so-faithful Geoff Estabrooks, who is at almost every single practice as an on-ice volunteer. 

Since I am delivering "Thank Yous," I can't get away without thanking Bakersfield's sled hockey team who came out to help at the clinic and brought sleds, along with Oxnard's Riptide sled hockey team who let us use their sleds. Also CAHA sent sleds for our clinic as well (thanks Kellie)! We couldn't have had a clinic without your help, all of you!

It was a huge day, and I am thrilled at smoothly everything went. Yes, some who were there will question the word "smooth," because there were some hitches. However, considering how everything could have gone, I think getting that many people fitted in sleds and on the ice, with no major injuries...or tears, I'd say "smooth" is appropriate. (Although, one of the adult team members did complain the next day of soreness due to a hit during a scrimmage, but--it's hockey. editor's note: The team member who delivered the check didn't even remember it when asked about it.)

For those who are new to the program, here are some details. We have two teams: a U-18 team (kids) and an adults' team. They practice at the same time, sharing the ice, but they are coached differently, according to age, appropriateness, and maturity. Sled hockey is a physical sport, and the adults play full-contact sled hockey (the kids, not so much). 

We do have some donated hockey gear if you do not have your own. Of course, there is no promise we have your size in everything, but we might, so ask. The team fee is $50 a month to help pay for ice time. If you want more ice time to work on speed, power, or skill, you can go to the rink's puck play sessions that happen almost every evening for $12.50 each session. Sled hockey is intended as an adaptive form of ice hockey for people with mobility disorders, and we have/have had a wide-variety of disabilities on our team including
  • single and double amps
  • spina bifida
  • spinal cord injuries
  • cerebral palsy 
  • OI (brittle bone disease)- note you will need clearance from your physician to play.
  • skeletal dysplasia
  • TBI
  • Missing sacrum
  • Clubfeet (talipes)
  • Polio survivors
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Able-bodied individuals (people with no mobility disorder can play, but many tournaments limit the number of non-disabled individuals who are on the roster. For instance, an upcoming tourney limits the roster to 18 players, and only up-to 3 non-disabled individuals).

Some up-and-coming notes:

Our team is practicing during the summer. Every Tuesday. Ice time is usually 7:40-8:40, but if you arrive at the rink at 7:40, you will be flogged unless you drove to the rink with all your gear on, strapped to your sled. Yes, I know a few of you with hand controls in your cars could possibly do that, but don't press your luck. Be sure to be there early enough to get your gear on so you can hit the ice at 7:40 on the dot. However, make sure you check your e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter for the ice time for the current week. e-mail Todd at if you aren't sure.
Next practice dates:
  • June 25
  • July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
  • August 6, 13, 20, 27
  • etc.

USA Hockey membership is due by the end of August in order for you to be on the team this coming season. Membership is free for disabled athletes for the first year. Check with Todd and Christie about using your free membership. You cannot utilize your free membership online, so make sure you check with Todd or Christie about how to register.

All players, volunteers, and coaches must register with USA Hockey prior to September 1 to practice with the team in September.

If you are already on the team and have already used your free membership, go here to register online. Registration is currently $40 plus a small CAHA fee (I can't remember how much, but I will update this when I get the info). Print out your confirmation and bring it to the next practice.

We are currently raising funds for a tournament our adults team is gearing up for in November. We are working with The Kings to raise some of the funds, and the adults will appearing at the Kings' sled hockey team in Kings jerseys for that tourney.

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