Todd Nicholson and Harvey Lord, developmental coaches and former members of Canada’s national sledge hockey team, were in Calabogie to introduce this sport to injured solders and veterans as part of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing – National Capital Division’s Winter Sports Clinic.
Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing – National Capital Division’s Winter Sports Clinic was held in Calabogie last week. Seven Canadian and three American soldiers participated in the event as well as about 20 ski instructors.
Seven Canadian and three American soldiers participated in the event as well as about 20 ski instructors.
“Many goals were scored, a number of sledge collisions occurred, prosthesis came off, and some egos were bruised, but all had a great time,” said Nicholson, Canada’s former sledge hockey captain.
“In reality, we are always looking for new recruits, both those with disabilities and able bodied, and venues such as this give us the opportunity to do just that.”
The Winter Sports Clinic, in its third year, is a week-long event held at Calabogie Peaks with a primary focus on skiing and snowboarding.
Other activities such as evening Mountain Cat rides, adaptive swimming, and this year sledge hockey, took place. A spousal program complements the clinic and has received positive feedback.
“Although the main focus is skiing, this is not our primary objective,” explained Clay Dawdy, Adaptive Snowsports director for the Calabogie program.
“Rather the focus is to regain self-confidence and self-esteem post injury and to develop peer and mentor relationships that will benefit the soldiers.”
Positive feedback was received from the American contingent at the clinic.
Chris Werhane, adaptive adventures co-ordinator from Colorado, attended 15 clinics this season and said “the Calabogie Peaks facility and mountain was the most adaptive user-friendly that he has attended this year.”
Sarah Wade, the chief organizer for the United States participants, said she looks forward to coming back next year with a much larger USA military and instructor contingent.
Hockey sledges were donated by Renfrew Community Living, and Greater Madawaska Twp. literally rolled out the “red carpet” to allow for wheelchair access onto the reserved ice at the Calabogie rink, Dawdy said.