COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The eleventh annual USA Hockey Disabled Festival concluded on Sunday (April 12) and was a success on all fronts. The three-day event saw a record 71 teams and nearly 1,000 players participate in the largest disabled hockey event of its kind.
“The 2015 USA Hockey Disabled Festival was a smashing success,” said J.J. O’Connor, USA Hockey Disabled Section chair. “It was wonderful to see so many athletes with a disability coming together for the largest disabled hockey event ever. Our goal was to provide an opportunity for the participants to leave with a smile on their face and I believe we reached our goal.”
Highlighting the Festival was the fifth annual Toyota-USA Hockey Adult Sled Hockey National Championship that saw the Colorado Avalanche claim their second-ever title and first since the inaugural event in 2011. Led by current U.S. National Sled Hockey Team members Tyler Carron (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.), the Avalanche defeated the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Blackhawks and fellow national team members Kevin McKee (Chicago, Ill.) and Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) in the championship game, 4-2.
Carron, Landeros, McKee, Roybal, and the rest of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team will return to Buffalo for the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship, which will take place April 26 to May 3, 2015, at HARBORCENTER.
The Festival encompasses all four disciples of disabled hockey; deaf/hard of hearing, special hockey, sled hockey, and standing/amputee hockey. This year’s event also included a blind hockey showcase game for the first time in Festival history. The demonstration game featured players from the newly formed Courage USA team playing alongside their Canadian counterparts from the Toronto Ice Owls and Les Hiboux de Montreal.
The USA Hockey Disabled Festival, which takes part in different parts of the country each year, will return April 6-9, 2016, in Detroit, Michigan.
NOTES: For complete stats from the 2015 Toyota-USA Hockey Adult Sled Hockey National Championship, click here … The mission of the USA Hockey Disabled Festival is to provide a fun and exciting weekend of hockey in a grand event as well as promote and grow disabled hockey throughout the country … The inaugural Festival in 2005 included 24 teams and nearly 300 players … For more information on the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, click here. For complete coverage of Team USA, click here … The 2015 USA Hockey Sled Hockey Jamboree will take place at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, June 19-21, 2015. For more information, click here … For more information on the Blind Hockey Showcase game, click here … Nominations for the 2015 USA Hockey Disabled Athlete of the Year are due April 19, 2015, and can be found here.