A leader in growing disabled hockey in Southern California, Sarah Bettencourt found a way to keep hockey in her life after retiring with 100 percent disability from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012. In early 2014, Bettencourt discovered sled hockey while at a monoski camp, and soon after founded the San Diego Ducks Sled Hockey Club. She currently serves as the team’s director, manager and team captain, planning events and also participating in them. Through these roles, Bettencourt encourages other disabled athletes to try sled hockey and spends time instructing new players on basic skills. Bettencourt uses her training as a former Marine captain to lead her team with high standards and long-term vision both for the club and disabled hockey on a larger scale. A member of the U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey Team, Bettencourt helped organize the Pacific Sled Hockey League and create a sled hockey division within the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League. Over the past two years, she has hosted multiple sled clinics, and currently speaks to various organizations about disabled hockey while organizing demonstrations in the Southern California area. As an advisory council member for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, she is helping promote and establish the National Wounded Warrior Center in Mammoth Lakes, California. While she is a participant in sled hockey, Bettencourt’s long-term goals include growing all aspects of disabled hockey. She is currently working to start standing/ amputee and blind/visually impaired hockey programs, in addition to high school and collegiate disabled leagues.
The Disabled Athlete of the Year Award recognizes a disabled athlete that has displayed incredible dedication to disabled hockey in the United States.