Mike Doyle (at left) played in the International Paralympic Committee
Winter Games in Sweden last March and will be on the first U.S. team to
compete in sled hockey at the Paralympics in Japan. Mr. Doyle, a 42-year-old
electrical engineer from Warrington who lost his leg at the age of 20 in
a motorbike accident, holds six medals in swimming won in Paralympic Summer
Games--one gold, three silver and two bronze.
Prepping for the Paralympics
Just before the Winter Olympics began in Nagano, the Class of '23 Ice Rink showcased a relatively new winter sport that is also headed for Japan: Sled Hockey, a new event in the Paralympics to be held March 5-14 in Nagano.
The Paralymplic Games, for elite athletes with disabilities, have been held since the 1960 Olympics in Rome, usually within a couple of weeks of the Olympics at the same host site.
The basics of sled hockey are the same as ice hockey, with a net, a puck, and five players plus a goalie maneuvering on ice at high speed. The difference is that the players, many of whom have various lower-extremity disabilities, use their arms to propel themselves by digging the picks, on the ends of two short hockey sticks, into the ice and pulling themselves forward while seated on a sled that glides on the blades and a metal bar in the front, about three inches off the ice.
A local figure in the sport is Mike Doyle, left, who commutes to Long Island to play in one of the few Sled Hockey teams available--and is now trying to form a local team; for information see www.sledhockey.org.