COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The eleventh annual USA Hockey Disabled Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday (April 9-12) in Buffalo, New York. Featuring a record 71 teams and over 1,000 players, the event will be held nearby at Northtown Center in Amherst with additional games to be played at the Cornerstone Arena in Lockport.
The Festival encompasses all four disciplines of disabled hockey: deaf/hard of hearing, special hockey, sled hockey, and standing/amputee hockey. The event will feature youth and adult sled tournaments; special hockey games; a blind hockey game consisting of players from Canada and the United States; and a new warrior division for standing/amputee teams comprised of service members who have been injured or disabled during service.
The fifth Toyota-USA Hockey Sled Hockey National Championship will also take place during the Festival and include several members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team competing against one another as members of their respective club sled hockey teams. The championship comes just a few weeks prior to the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team taking part in the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, which will take place April 26 to May 3, 2015, at HARBORCENTER in Buffalo, New York.
The largest disabled hockey event of its kind, the Disabled Festival continues to expand over the years. Last year, the event set records with 54 teams and over 500 players. The inaugural event in 2005 included 24 teams and nearly 300 players.
USA Hockey, in partnership with FASTHockey, will provide live streaming coverage of the 2015 USA Hockey Disabled Festival games taking place at Northtown Center, including the Toyota-USA Hockey Sled Hockey National Championship. Games will be offered on an individual pay-per-view basis. In addition, DVDs of individual games will be offered at USAHockey.FASTHockey.com.
Fans wishing to follow all the 2015 USA Disabled Hockey Festival action can do so online at Nationals.USAHockey.com and also via the new Toyota-USA Hockey National Championships app, available for Android and iOS devices. The Toyota-USA Hockey National Championships app is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
NOTES: For a complete schedule of the 2015 USA Hockey Disabled Festival, click here ... The mission of the Festival is to provide a fun and exciting weekend of hockey in a grand event as well as promote and grow disabled hockey throughout the country … The Festival, which takes part in different parts of the country each year, will take place in Detroit, Michigan, in 2016, and San Jose, California, in 2017 … The 2015 U.S. Deaflympic Ice Hockey Team earned the bronze medal at the 18th Winter Deaflympic Games, which were held March 28-April 4, 2015, in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia … The 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships will take place April 26-May 3, 2015, at HARBORCENTER in Buffalo, New York. For schedule and ticket information, click here.
Eight months ago, the Indianapolis Racers 12-Under Tier II boys team began its season. The journey had it fair shares of highs and lows, but it ended where few teams get to go — in the USA Hockey National Championship game.
Backed by fast starts throughout the tournament, Indianapolis got out to another quick start and never looked back en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh 98’s in the 2A championship game Sunday afternoon at Sharks Ice in San Jose.
Indianapolis wasted little time showing who the top team was on Sunday. The Racers potted two goals in the first period, started off by a scrum in front. Joey Bolger poked in the loose puck to open the scoring with 5:34 left in the first period. Will Schlagenhauf then poked in a backbreaker with less than a minute to play in the period. After a wraparound try was denied, Schlagenhauf picked up his teammate and cleaned up the mess in front.
The far post tap-in gave the Racers a 2-0 lead after one period.
“It was a great start,” Indianapolis coach Fred Knipscheer said. “We have been doing that the whole tournament. The kids didn’t show any nerves early, which was great to see. We have depth all the way through the lineup and we were able to use that again to our advantage today.”
Jack Knipscheer and Joey Barone assisted on the second goal. The unselfish play was a trademark of the Racers’ championship effort throughout their stay in San Jose.
“Fourteen of our 16 skaters scored a goal this week,” Knipscheer said. “It’s unbelievable. The boys knew their roles and really played outstanding hockey. Everyone on our roster had a part in us getting here.”
Matt Sawyer continued the Indy fun midway through the second period, scoring a power-play goal to extend the advantage to 3-0.
“We usually start games good,” Racers captain Riley Doyon said. “We all want each other to do well. It’s been a great experience. Right from the start, I always knew that we could do this.”
Sawyer lifted a wrist shot high into the top corner to end a strong power play with a goal.
The Pittsburgh 98’s came into the finals undefeated along with the Racers. The black-and-yellow clad bunch scored the first of two goals on the afternoon late in the second period.
Aiden Beck buried a pretty crossing feed from teammate Brendan Walkom to get the 98’s on the board with 1:31 left in the second.
Roman Kraemer tipped in the second Pittsburgh goal midway through the final period of play.
Nikita Slivchenko and Billy Harris each got assists on the score.
Justin Whited and Doyon each added goals for the Racers in the final period. Whited picked up a rebound next to the post and zipped behind the net to wrap in the pretty finish.
Doyon’s empty-netter started off the celebration with just less than a minute to play.
“It was crazy,” Doyon said about his emotions after the empty-netter went in. “I was just so happy that we did it. I just wanted the game to end so I could celebrate with my teammates.”
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.