Adaptive athletes and coaches will gather at the Campion Ice House in Hailey on March 6-7 for a sled hockey and wheelchair curling clinic.
Developed in Sweden in the 1960s, sledge or sled hockey has been a popular Paralympic event for many years. The Campion Ice House is a popular venue for curling in Hailey.
Local nonprofit Higher Ground supplied the sled hockey equipment for a clinic in Boise on Feb. 8 that brought players out onto the ice during an Idaho Steelheads game intermission. The event was co-sponsored by the Challenged Athletes Foundation,
The Challenged Athletes Foundation has since 1994 raised more than $110 million for people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries, according to the organization.
“With nearly 200,000 Idahoans living with disabilities, these clinics are vital to our state,” CAF-Idaho Regional Director Jennifer Skeesick said. “They provide an opportunity to strengthen the existing adaptive sports community in Idaho and empower individuals with permanent physical challenges to try something new in a safe space.”
Higher Ground provides recreation, therapy and continuing support for military veterans and other adaptive athletes.
“This collaboration with CAF and their similar mission of recreation for all is a partnership we hope to continue,” Higher Ground Logistics Coordinator Justin Safley said.
According to the press release, most medical insurance does not cover adaptive sports equipment, making the cost of equipment an obstacle for many people with physical disabilities.
“By partnering with organizations like Higher Ground and making adaptive sports equipment readily available, CAF-Idaho ensures clinic attendees can focus on acquiring new skills, increasing self-esteem and enhancing their quality of life,” the release states.
The Boise event at CenturyLink Arena drew nearly 20 adaptive athletes of all ages and abilities who received coaching and mentoring from members of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, including 2014 Sochi Olympic Team Captain and three-time Paralympian Andy Yohe and Paralympian, Purple Heart recipient and Pat Tillman Award recipient Josh Sweeney. Paralympians Sean Halstead and “One-Arm” Willie Stewart were also in attendance.
The Campion Ice House event will feature Yohe and Muffy Davis, a seven-time Paralympic medalist (alpine skiing and cycling). Davis is a member the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame and National Disabled Skier Hall of Fame, as well as a District 26 representative in the Idaho Legislature.
Also in attendance will be Taylor Lipsett, 11-time U.S. National Sled Hockey Team member and three-time Paralympic medalist; Rusty Schieber, U.S. National Wheelchair Curling Team coach and Marc DePerno, U.S. National Wheelchair Curling Team lead.
For more information about events at the Campion Ice House, go to haileyice.org/.