Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | Women's Hockey
Written by Jessica Thompson
Photo by Danyca MacDonald
The Carleton Ravens replaced their skates for sleds to experience the feel of the popular para sport known as sledge hockey.
The experience was enhanced more when one of the Para-Olympians and Canadian National Sledge Hockey team players, Marc Dorion, shared his wisdom and experience behind the sport. On top of the Carleton Ravens being mentored by a team Canada athlete, there were also team Ontario and up and coming players.
Marc Dorion has been a member of the national sledge hockey team for 11 years, the youngest person to make the roster at the age of 15.
“What we are trying to do with the Carleton Ravens and other teams, is to get them out on sleds, we get them to really gain an appreciation and awareness for the sport. It is one thing to see pictures of it or on the TV, it looks great, but to really gain an appreciation for speed, physicality, and challenge of the game you really need to get on a sled and try,” said Dorion.
These opportunities are organized by the Sledge Hockey of Eastern Ontario, SHEO, and the association that Dorion works for. Programs are also held at Jim Durrell arena Sundays from 11:30 until 1:30 for the beginner program and then from 1:30 to 3:30 for the intermediate program.
“Players will leave with knowledge of the sport and awareness of how to get involved”.
When asked what his funniest memory was of teaching people how to play sledge hockey, Dorion could recall many.
“One girl ran into the boards on one side, turned around ran into the boards again, lost control of her stick and it ended up over the boards in the players bench, she then fell over, but now had no stick to help herself up, we helped her out, but that was the funniest thing I have ever seen.”
Cory Montgomery, an up and coming sledge hockey player, views the sledge hockey program as a way to show people something knew. He explained “I always played hockey growing up and then when I ended up in the wheel chair it was sort of just the natural transition, plus it is one contact sport that I can still play.”
“A lot of people do not know about sledge hockey, like they know it exists, but they don’t know a lot about the sport,” said Montgomery.
The Carleton Ravens not only struggled with the new sport, they found a new respect for sledge hockey players.
“It was a lot of fun, I give a lot of credit to the sledge hockey players, it is a lot more difficult than it looks,” Ellyn McCormick.
“It was really funny to watch because the team was consistently tipping over, from the sidelines it looked like an easy sport, but in a reality it is really difficult. I wish I could’ve joined in, it looked like fun,” Kaylie Welk.
“The sledge hockey experience is a great team builder and an eye opening, educational experience for our varsity athletes,” Shelley Coolidge, Head Coach of the Carleton Ravens women’s hockey team.
The sledge hockey experience taught a lesson that the girls had to experience hands on to truly understand, “The only limitations you have in life,” said Dorion, “are the ones you set on yourself.”