NESHL in a Nutshell

 The NESHL is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2005 as a means for regional Sled Hockey teams to engage in competitive, sportsmanlike hockey. We are the first-ever organized, multi-state, adult sled hockey league in the U.S, with Teams from Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Western Mass, and Pennsylvania currently in our league.

Sled hockey, also known as sledge hockey, is the fast, exciting, rough-and-tumble version of ice hockey played primarily by people with lower limb mobility impairments. The game is essentially the same as “stand-up” ice hockey, the major difference being that the players use a sled with two hockey skate blades mounted under a seat.


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As expected PA defeated VT. PA's schedule had them moving up hill as the weekend progressed. The new PA coach (Scott)worked his squad through the paces required to battle against CT, NH and NY the following day. Although PA outshot VT 26-4, the Bugs couldn't match the Sled Cats enthusiasm.

 

Patrick Standen (VT netminder) had plenty of opportunities to break in his new trapper. Zach Jackson and Kevin Blaine (PA netminders) got to practice an "on-the-fly" goaltender switch!!! Vermont's deep bench was a combination of upcoming seasoned players AND many spirited newcomers. It is tough for a squad to be defeated so surely - the Vermontonians seem to know they are improving each game. Veterans Eric Gissendanner, Sandy Craig and John McArdle help sophomores Bryan Bathalon and Anna Wormer execute. It was not difficult to see that the entire VT team was having fun.

 

Story by Mike Doyle

 

 

 

10/30/10---Team and Player statistics/standings are now posted. Please let me know if you see any errors. Also looking for stories and pictures to post. Happy Halloween!!

 

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It's official...the Green Mountain Classic is over and was a huge success! I've noticed a huge jump in traffic to the site so I wanted to let you know I will be posting stories and stats as soon as I can. If you'd like to share your weekend's experience please feel free to write something up and send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I will put it on the site. Feel free to post your stories to our Facebook page as well! I will work to get the stats up on the site over the next few days.

Mike

 

 

Hello NESHL athletes, families, friends, and supporters!  The 2010-2011 Season is approaching and I wanted to share with you some dates, rule changes, and other information regarding what we’ve been doing this offseason.

 

The season will officially start with the Green Mountain Classic in Burlington, Vermont.  We will have a 3-day tournament starting on Friday, October 22nd running until Sunday, October 24th.  Each team will play 4 games over this 3 day period and we will have one championship game on Sunday with the top two teams.  The 4 games that you play will count towards your regular season statistics.  The two teams in the championship game will not have their stats counted towards the regular season.

 

After the tournament, we will play the next 4 months at the Newington Ice Arena in Newington, Connecticut.  We look forward to our new partnership with the folks at the Newington Arena and appreciate their hosting our league.  Make sure you check out their website for directions and additional information about their facility.  Our league games will be held on November 21st, December 12th, January 9th, and February 20th.  Game times will be similar to last season, starting at 10AM and continuing until each team plays two games.  Hotel information for teams looking to stay the night will be forwarded to team coaches/managers.

 

Tom Carr from New Hampshire is also looking to host a tournament in March 2011 in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire.  These games will not be counted towards the regular season statistics.  We do not have any additional information on this, but as it becomes available we will forward it to everyone.

 

The Board has voted to make some changes to the rules for this upcoming season.  We have changed the timeout rule so that each team has one 30 second timeout per game.  Previously, only the team behind could call timeouts.  We also changed the rule regarding game forfeits and the keeping of statistics.  In the past, team and individual stats were counted when a game was forfeited, and a pick up game ensued.  Going forward, we will not keep individual or team stats when a game is forfeited.  Teams will receive a win or a loss in the team standings, but no individual stats will be kept.

 

I will be working on updating the website over the next couple of months leading up to the Green Mountain Classic.  If you see anything that needs updating (like the National Team Page), please send me a note with any updates.  Game schedules, new rules, forms, etc. will all be updated before the start of the season.

 

As you all know, Dale Wise has stepped down as League Commissioner, so we are looking for someone to take over this position.  This is an important role and one that we would like to fill as soon as we can.  If you know anyone who is interested, please contact Mike Doyle, the person in charge of this search.  We are also looking for interested companies or individuals who would like to help support the league.  I would be more than happy to discuss this in greater detail with you or your contact, so please contact me with any questions or potential sponsors.

 

That is all I have for now.  If you have anything to add please contact me, Mike Ciavarro, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.  I look forward to our upcoming season and to squaring off with you all again!

 

 

Two Classic Games Highlight Last Tournament of the Season

 

Written by Peter Quartuccio

 

WESTFIELD, MA—A total of 16 sled hockey teams from around the country, including one representing Canada, met at the Amelia Park Ice Arena in Westfield, Massachusetts on April 16-18 to play in what for most clubs was the final major tournament of the 2009-2010 season, the New England Invitational Sled Hockey Tournament.

 

The teams were split into Junior and Adult divisions, with the Buffalo Junior Sabres and Pennsylvania Hammerheads claiming the Junior division titles, and the latter featuring many 2010 Paralympians, especially in Pool A.  Pool B featured some top-notch talent as well, and was thoroughly dominated by eventual champions, the New York Rangers. The Rangers went undefeated at Amelia Park, dismantling their four opponents by a combined score of 29-2, including a 7-1 thrashing of the Connecticut Wolfpack in the Pool B Championship game.

 

Hot off their dominant showing and first-place finish the previous weekend at the Disabled Hockey Festival in Laurel, Maryland, the Buffalo Sabres were the sure favorite to win the Adult division.  The Sabres boasted a total of four Paralympians—Alexi Salamone, Adam Page, Mike Blabac, and Brad Emmerson—and seemed to pick up where they left off the week before, smoking the NEP Wildcats in their first game, 13-3.  But for one reason or another, Buffalo’s dominance ended there, as they simply didn’t have the punch they had in Laurel.  They battled a tough Ontario squad in their second game, edging past the Canadians 5-3, and in what turned out to be the tournament’s most exciting and well-played game, tied a game Pennsylvania team, 6-6.  The PA Center-Pedes seemed due for a good performance, as they were thoroughly outplayed in their first two games of the competition.  Returning Paralympians Tim Jones, Bubba Torres, and Jimmy Connelly alongside Junior National Captain Dan McDevitt came up huge in their matchup against Buffalo, with all of them providing major contributions on the ice.  Although they were manhandled in their first two games of the tournament (they were outscored by a total of 20 to 6), the Center-Pedes seemed undaunted and undeterred.  They played with confidence throughout their game versus Buffalo, with Torres providing the speed, Jones the power, and McDevitt the relentless pressure.  Not to be outdone, Connelly poured in three goals as well.  Buffalo’s Salamone and Emmerson had excellent games as well, and while the see-saw battle ended in a stalemate, no one can deny the winning qualities of each and every player on the ice. 

 

Buffalo’s opponent in the Championship game at Amelia Park, the NEP Wildcats, had a tough weekend at the Disabled Hockey Festival.  Though they played well by and large—thanks in large part to the performances of Paralympians Taylor Chace and Joe Howard—they were soundly beaten by the Sabres several times, prompting doubts as to the team’s legitimacy as a truly dominant squad (the Wildcats had recently won their third consecutive NESHL title and dominated a sled hockey tournament in Queens, New York).  They sought to dispel those doubts in Amelia Park, but got off to a decidedly rocky start, as they were trounced by their nemesis Buffalo in their first game, 13-3.  They started to turn the tide with their next game, which was a comfortable 10-5 victory against Pennsylvania.  The Wildcats’ third game was an out-and-out barnburner with Ontario, who seemed to be able to match the Wildcats’ considerable firepower.  Canadian Paralympian Brad Bowden had an incredible 5 goals, but he was matched by Team USA two-time Gold Medalist Joe Howard, who too scored 5 goals.  In the end, Howard’s teammates were just a little better than Bowden’s, as the Wildcats bested Ontario 9-7.  Next came the game all in attendance expected and anticipated: NEP v. Buffalo, one more time.

 

The rematch of the Laurel championship game between the two squads was marred somewhat by a brawl that ensued in the final moments of the game.  The details of the dustup remain cloudy, but one thing is for sure: the game itself was terrific.  A tough, physical, bruising affair, the Pool A Championship game fulfilled expectations and rewarded the immense anticipation.  The Wildcats, much to their credit, did not seem intimidated by the team that had utterly dominated them in recent history.  They matched Buffalo hit-for-hit, shot-for-shot, and save-for-save.  Despite two controversial no-goals—one of which was nothing short of criminal—the Wildcats remained focused and convinced that this Championship was for the taking.  They eventually cashed in on the occasionally sluggish play of the Sabres, and took the game and the title, 5-4.  No amount of punches thrown or landed in those final seconds could undermine the Wildcats’ achievement who, in their victory, effectively exorcised the demons of Buffalo dominance.

 

This past sled hockey season has been a remarkable one indeed.  The best of the best made their country proud by taking Gold on enemy soil, and the NESHL, the Disabled Hockey Festival, and the New England Invitational Sled Hockey Tournament featured some truly classic games and remarkable performances.  The quality of play continues to rise, and sled hockey fans have good reason to anticipate the start of next season.

 

 

 

 

Gold Medalists Return to Sled Hockey Is One of Many Highlights at the 6th Annual Disabled Hockey Festival

Written by Peter Quartuccio

 

LAUREL, MD—2010 has been a very special year for disabled hockey.  In January, EveryBODY Skates New Jersey visited every ice rink in New Jersey in only 54 hours to promote awareness of and opportunities for disabled hockey.  Their efforts were chronicled by periodicals on both coasts, including The New York Times and The L.A. Times, and virtually everywhere in between.  March saw sled hockey garner probably more attention and anticipation at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympics than at any other Paralympic Games, as teams played to packed houses throughout the competition.  And in the Gold Medal game, the United States became the first country to boast two Gold Medal winning sled hockey squads, as the U.S. knocked off Japan and returned to America World Champions.  The 6th Annual Disabled Hockey Festival, which ran from April 8-11, welcomed many of those Gold Medalists back into regional competition.  Alexi Salamone, Brian Shaw, Tim Jones, Taylor Chace, Mike Blabac, Brad Emmerson, and Greg Shaw joined their local teammates once again, and were sometimes pitted against each other.  It came as no surprise that the team with the most Paralympians—the Buffalo Sabres—took over the Adult Sled Hockey ‘A’ Group.  Buffalo did what no other sled hockey team has been able to do in seemingly forever: beat the NEP Wildcats.  The Wildcats have been used to victory lately, having dominated a March sled hockey event in Queens, New York and winning their third consecutive New England Sled Hockey Championship in February.  But even with returning Paralympian Taylor Chace, they were simply overmatched by Buffalo, whose speed advantage was obvious from the get-go.  They beat the Wildcats in the Final, 5-3, and finished undefeated.

            While much attention and adulation was given to the Gold Medalists, this event was not dedicated solely to sled hockey.  Hundreds of players from the four disciplines of disabled hockey—Special Needs, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Standing Amputee, and Sled Hockey—took part in the four-day festival.  Teams from New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, New England participated, and even Canada got in on the action, as their team of able-bodied players took on a standing amputee U.S. team.  Despite a whopping four goals by American Mike Logan, Canada won the hardly fought (and occasionally nasty) game, 7-5.  Special needs hockey showcased three groups, an ‘A’ Group, a ‘B’ Team, and a ‘C’ Squad, and enjoyed a remarkably high turnout from competitors and spectators alike.  Participants of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing hockey games were less numerous, but their passion and skill more than made up for it.  The strong turnouts for Special Needs, Deaf, and Standing Amputee Hockey suggests that, while they may not yet be as popular as sled hockey, they are a growing community that is embraced by players and fans alike.

            Many of the sled hockey teams who competed here in Laurel will face-off again in Massachusetts this Friday, April 16-Sunday, April 18 for the Amelia Park Sled Hockey competition, an event that every sled hockey player in America looks forward to—with good reason.  If you’re planning on visiting Connecticut or Massachusetts this weekend, don’t pass up the opportunity to watch terrific hockey and meet some amazing people.

 
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