STRIDE Sled Hockey Team Wins New England Tournament with Thrilling Double Overtime Goal
(Westfield, MA, April 26) – Capital Region athletes skated past their disabilities and scored a winning goal for equal opportunity in sports on Friday at Amelia Park Arena. The Capital District Sled Warriors, a program of STRIDE Adaptive Sports in West Sand Lake, won their first tournament in five years with a thrilling double overtime goal in the championship game against the New York Rangers at the 21st Annual New England Invitational Sled Hockey Tournament. Captain Stefon Stillwell captured the winning goal in a 6-5 victory. Earlier in the season, the team also competed in the NYS Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid, winning a silver medal.
The 21st Annual New England Invitational Sled Hockey Tournament is held at the Amelia Park Rink in Westfield, MA. Sixteen teams from Delaware to Ontario, Canada, competed in junior and adult divisions for the Amelia Cup Championship Trophy. Contests in four divisions — senior, intermediate, junior and recreational run Friday morning 7am through Sunday when the championship games are held.
The team (originally Bethlehem Sled Hockey) was founded by Tom and Kim Wilson of Slingerlands for their son and other teenagers with physical disabilities twelve years ago to make hockey accessible to those with lower limb disabilities. STRIDE Adaptive sports took over the fledgling team in 2009, and the team has grown exponentially since then. Just as fast-paced and physical as stand-up hockey, sled hockey follows most of the typical ice hockey rules with the exception of equipment. Players sit in specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades, and each player uses two sticks instead of one. The team is now made up of 15 members plus 2 pushers with a varsity and junior varsity squad and includes numerous wounded warrior veterans.
STRIDE Sled Warriors attend numerous tournaments annually, trailering their gear behind the STRIDE vehicles; they also host home & demo games as a member team of USA Disabled Hockey. Sled hockey is a Paralympic sport and STRIDE Adaptive Sports is a U.S. Paralympic training club. The team has been gearing up for the tournament with practices every Sunday at Albany County Hockey Facility – 830 Albany Shaker Rd, Albany, NY 12211. The team is open to Capital Region athletes with disabilities who are looking for a new sport. Newcomers are invited to join the team on the ice to try a sled on the first weekend of practice each month. Anyone interested can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call STRIDE’s office at (518)-598-1279.