GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Junior Sled Wings are proving anyone can play hockey, even if they have different abilities.
"It gives them, you know, a chance to be with people that look like them," said Steve Kozlowski, head coach.
Players maneuver around the ice by sledding instead of skating, and using their hockey sticks to guide them. Kozlowski says players have just as much competitive spirit and angst as anybody else. His hopes have always been for them to compete at the highest level, and they'll be doing just that next week in Pittsburgh for the National Disabled Hockey Festival. It's the largest Sled Hockey tournament in the nation, with 66 teams from around the country.
"We want to be the best junior team in the country, but just to play our game and do the best we can," said player Cate Evans.
She calls hockey one of the best adaptive sports for people like her. The team has played a great season against some tough teams.
"I know we crushed a few teams that we hadn't been able to beat for the longest time," said player Alexander Frost.
The Grand Rapids Sled Wings are sponsored by Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports along with the Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation.
The Sled Hockey National Championship game takes place Thursday, April 21, and will be streamed live on HockeyTV.com.