BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Players took to the ice at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Saturday for a sled hockey clinic. It was a free instructional clinic for the Wounded Warriors and people of all ages with physical disabilities to enjoy the game. Organizers said the clinic introduced the sport of sled hockey to the coast.
For some people it was the first time ever being on ice. For others, like Carrolle Burton who anxiously waited to get in the sled, it brought back memories of when she played field hockey in college.
"I played goalie, so when they mentioned this, it was like, wow I really want to try this. It looks like it's going to be fun," said Carrolle Burton.
Players strapped on their helmets and gloves. Once they had the sticks in their hands, it was game on from there.
"There's not a lot of physical activities for disabled people to do, and this would open up an area. And it also hooks up with hockey, and I'm a big fan of the Surge," said Burton.
Pucks were passed as players glided across the ice trying to make a goal. Noreen Hansen is an instructor for the Southern Amateur Hockey Association in Georgia. As she helped teach she was also helping Clinic Coordinator Col. Tom Adams spread awareness about sled hockey on the coast.
"Not only are we able to allow people the opportunity to play hockey get some exercise and enjoy the sport of hockey, but it's really about bridging the gap between able body individuals and disabled individuals," said Noreen Hansen.
Col. Tom Adams said, "We're so privileged to be able to introduce that to the coast. Use this hopefully as a frame work to be able to perpetuate, organize a team. Have a team along the coast and be competitive and who knows where this might go."
Burton said she hopes this hands on experience is here to stay. As for the on-ice challenge, she said she hopes to do this more often.
"A lot easier than what I expected. A lot of fun! A lot of fun," said Burton.
Players from the San Antonio Rampage Sled Hockey Team and Airmen from Keesler were also volunteering during the clinic.
The Mississippi Surge hosted the clinic. If you'd like to participate in sled hockey or help make the program permanent on the coast, you can call Colonel Tom Adams at 228-238-5433.