The U.S. National Sled Team is set to compete at the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge this week in Calgary, Alberta at the WinSport Athletic & Ice Complex. Beginning the 2012-13 season as the two-time defending International Paralympic Committee sledge hockey world champions, Team USA has been injected with a shot of new blood. Four new comers have been welcomed the national squad for this tournament, and none younger than 15 year-old Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.).
Earning a roster spot on the U.S. National Sled Team may not be a common goal for many fifteen-year-olds, but Farmer has done just that. The teenager from Tampa, Fla., said that while he had always enjoyed playing sports and staying active, becoming a part of Team USA was not in his original plans.
“I started playing five or six years ago and I was just looking around for disabled sports in the Tampa Bay Area,” Farmer said. “The Tampa Bay Lightning had a sled hockey program and I just started from there.”
Gaining valuable experience while playing for the Lightning helped Farmer to develop his mature skillset. Armed with excellent speed, a hard shot, and advanced hockey sense, Farmer is able to make an impact all over the ice. He said, however, that his favorite part of the game is when he is right in the middle of the action.
“I think playing with the puck is probably one of my biggest strengths,” the forward said.
While he has continues to improve on the ice, Farmer noted that he has experienced tremendous personal growth throughout his time with Team USA as well. He has looked to several team veterans to help him as he transitions to the game on the international level.
“Just being 15 and playing here is pretty awesome,” he said. “I’m playing with a bunch of older guys and everyone knows what they’re doing. So far it’s been a great experience this season,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of great coaching; lots of fun off the ice.”
Now that he has found his comfort zone and proven himself to be a force on the ice at such a young age, Farmer is determined to achieve success while representing the U.S. Showing his dedication and determination to reach the pinnacle of his sport, Farmer laid out his vision in very simple terms.
“Long-term goals? Just win as many gold medals as I can.”
Tag(s): World Sledge Challenge