Sled hockey a quietly burgeoning sport in ABQ
February 25, 2018 06:45 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – People come to the Land of Enchantment for all kinds of reasons: The weather, the landscapes, the culture…but the ice?
That was the case for Tom East. He came to New Mexico looking at a job transfer, but his criteria for moving somewhere involved his passion.
"Before I even took the job, I was looking to see if they had sled hockey," East said.
He had cancer as a child, and lost his leg at the young age of 10. It prevented him from being able to participate in sports as a kid, but now he wants to help ensure others have that experience – through sled hockey.
"I think it gives them a chance to get out and go move easily and fast on the ice, and to exercise and do something they can't easily do," East said. "When I look back on it, I thought that was probably the most important thing for me was being a part of a team."
Sled hockey is just like regular hockey, except participants sit on sleds. It's a program East says he would like to help build right here in New Mexico.
"I would like to see it grow," he said. "I'd like to see both an adult team and a youth team."
With a partnership of East, Joe Hansen and New Mexico Hockey, sled hockey is now up and running at the Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque. While bringing the sport to New Mexico involves work from many volunteers, East acknowledged a few in particular including Wendy Hart, who helps to manage and maintain equipment; Michael Aragon, who East says hasn't missed a practice and tournament; Ben Hopp, a skater who helps to push sleds for those who may not be able to; and the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, which helps to support equipment and time on the ice.
The activity isn't just for the disabled; it's for anybody who doesn't feel like they can play traditional standup hockey. Those people can grab a sled…and maybe even spot East on the ice.
If you're interested in learning more, East can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: February 25, 2018 06:45 PM
Created: February 23, 2018 09:38 PM
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