BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — It's slap-shots, cross-checks and goals for some Brevard County kids who otherwise wouldn't be able to compete.
- Sled hockey is geared toward athletes with disabilities
- Breard's Space Coast team is getting ready for annual tournament
- Players get the chance to play in rough, but rewarding sport
Sled Hockey is geared toward athletes with disabilities. And just like the regular sport, the competition is fun and fierce.
Players get the chance to play a rough but rewarding sport. And thanks to their dedication and determination, they are not letting a disability keep them in check.
"It's honestly the most fun I've had, ever," player Tripp Skinner said. "I just love the competition and pushing myself."
Skinner plays for the Space Coast Blast Sled Hockey team. He suffered from spina bifida as a child, and has little use of his legs.
Five years ago the 17-year-old was introduced to the sport.
"I can't run, so this give me that feeling of speed," he said.
"One of the slogans they use is 'put your ability on ice,'" head coach Brad Cervi said.
Sled Hockey began at the Space Coast Iceplex in 2008.
There are now 20 players.
They use sleds and specialized sticks with 'metal teeth' on the tips to get traction down the ice. Some players who can't do it themselves are helped by pushers in protective gear.
"They are able to play the game as I do, just in a different form," Cervi said.
Players get penalized if they ram others with their sled. It may seem a little different, but it's still hockey, a full contact sport.
"I am playing this until I die, until I physically can't play it anymore," Skinner said.
The fifth annual 3-versus-3 Sled Hockey Tournament is coming up in a couple weeks. All proceeds will benefit the team and their travels to play others across the country.