JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The action will be on the ice this weekend.
The Sitting Bulls Sled Hockey exhibition game and fundraiser will be held Sunday at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, 326 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown. Doors will open at 1 pm, with the game to start at 2:45 p.m.
The event is an opportunity to see sled hockey in action during a game between the Sitting Bulls and a team of local celebrities and educators.
“We want to get people out here and raise awareness that people with a disability can play hockey,” said Russ White, president and manager of the Sitting Bulls.
The Sitting Bulls will go up against Tony Martin, of WJAC-TV; Jordan Tracy, of WTAJ-TV; Bubba Conner, of Rocky 99; Al Steele, of Key 96.5; and Mike Stevens, of Forever Media Inc., along with educators from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and Claysburg-Kimmel, Forest Hills, Hollidaysburg Area and United school districts.
“For the younger players in elementary school, we let them pick a teacher to come and play against them,” White said. “It will be like a normal game, but at different times we’ll have the novice / junior line out there and other times it’ll be our adult team out there.”
Sled hockey follows all the same rules as USA Hockey, but the players sit on a hockey sled and use two specially designed sticks with picks on the end to propel themselves across the ice.
The team is comprised of athletes with disabilities from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Blair, Center and Bedford counties.
“A lot of people who haven’t seen the sport are amazed at the athletes who play,” White said. “If you ask the celebrities and teachers, when they get off the ice after the game, they’ll say they didn’t know how hard it was going to be. They’ll call me up the next day and say their shoulders hurt because your shoulders and arms are doing all the work. ”
In addition, there will be a basket raffle, a 50/50, a chuck-a-puck contest and a T-shirt sale. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the association.
“We don’t charge any of the players or families any money to participate in this program,” White said. “To put a player on the ice in our sport, it’s close to $ 1,400. The sled itself costs $ 800 and the rest is equipment. ”
He said the hope is that the game will spark an interest in others to join the team.
“We want to get more people into our program because once a kid or adult comes and tries it out, they usually stick around and play,” White said. “The camaraderie is there, and when someone new comes on the team, the younger players and adults take them under their wings. Everybody has a blast. ”
The admission fee is a $ 5 donation and includes the chance for a door prize and two tickets to a Pittsburgh Penguins game and $ 250.
For more information, call 814-244-1729 or email email@example.com.
Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @ KellyUrban25.