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, Maryland, Vermont, 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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Mar 18, 2010---U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team Falls to Sledge Team Ontario, 2-1, in a Shootout

From USA Hockey website:

BURNABY, B.C. - The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team fell to Sledge Team Ontario, 2-1, in a shootout in the first of a three-game exhibition series here this morning. The exhibition games are being played in conjunction with the Paralympic Winter Games sled hockey tournament that is currently taking place in nearby Vancouver, B.C.

The U.S. opened the game's scoring one minute into the second period with an unassisted goal by Kevin McKee (Eldridge, Iowa). But Sledge Team Ontario tied the game less than three minutes later.

Following a scoreless third period and overtime, the teams went to a shootout. Team USA got a goal by Daniel McCoy (Cheswick, Pa.), but Sledge Team Ontario scored twice to earn the victory.

U.S. goaltender Dany Hefley (Wexford, Pa.) made 13 saves in the losing effort. Both teams will face off again tomorrow (March 19) at 10 a.m. PDT.

NOTES: The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team will be in attendance as the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team faces Norway tonight (March 18) at 7 p.m. PDT in the semifinals of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. For more information including a live game blog, photos, and features, visit usahockey.com... The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team captured the Western Sled Hockey League title last month, beating out teams from Utah, Colorado and Arizona ... The U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team and Sledge Team Ontario played a two-game exhibition series last October in Rochester, N.Y., with each team winning once ... For the U.S. National Junior Sled Hockey Team roster, click here.

 
Mar 18, 2010---Sled hockey prepares for semifinal versus Norway

From US Paralympics website:

Alex Clark March 18, 2010

Chace_getty

Team USA faces Norway on Thursday for the right to play for gold.

The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will compete for a medal at this year’s 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The question to be answered on Thursday night is for what color medal it will be vying.

Team USA and Norway are facing off in the Paralympic Winter Games semifinals for the second consecutive tournament. In Torino, Italy, in 2006, it was Norway who emerged with a 4-2 victory and a ticket to the gold-medal game. Nine players on the U.S. squad were part of that team, and all believe this year’s version of Team USA has improved since four years ago.

“We’re a young team now, but a lot of us gained a lot of experience four years ago,” said Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas), who leads Team USA with four goals in its three games so far. “We’re faster and better conditioned, and we’re capitalizing on more of our chances.”

The U.S. advanced to Thursday’s game after claiming Group A’s top seed with a 6-0 victory over Japan on Tuesday night. In three preliminary-round games, Team USA has yet to surrender a goal while scoring 14 of its own. Norway, on the other hand, enters Thursday’s affair stumbling, having posted a 1-1-0-1 record in Group B, including a shootout victory over the seventh-seeded Sweden and a 5-0 loss to Canada.

But Team USA cannot expect a free pass to Saturday’s gold-medal game. The U.S. posted a 1-1-0-1 record against Norway during the 2009-10 season, with its only regulation win coming in a game in which Norway’s star Rolf Pederson did not play due to suspension. A plucky team that has participated in every gold-medal game since sled hockey was introduced to the Paralympics in 1994, Norway is sure to put up a fight.

“No one is overlooking Norway,” added Lipsett. “They have a good team, and Pederson’s been one of the best in the world for a long time now. We’ve worked hard over the last few years to make the gold-medal game in every tournament we play in, and we hope to do that here too.”

One final piece of fodder for Thursday’s match-up: these were the same two teams that met in the title game of the International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last May. Team USA took the contest, 1-0, with the game-winning goal coming off the stick of captain Andy Yohe (Bettendorf, Iowa) with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation.

Thursday night’s game may prove to be even more pressure-packed.

 
Mar 17, 2010---Day Three: Canada and Germany Win Four of the Six Medals Awarded at Whistler Creekside for the Men’s and Women’s Standing Slalom

written by Peter Quartuccio

After a seemingly endless string of delays at Whistler Creekside, site of the Alpine Skiing events at the 2010 Winter Paralympics, action got under way Monday the 15th for the Men’s and Women’s Standing Slalom event. It was an unexpectedly warm day in Whistler, but neither the competitors nor the crowd who packed the place seemed to mind. Both the Men’s and Women’s classes were dominated by Canada, who took home two medals in the Women’s Slalom, and Germany, who won Silver in both the Men’s and Women’s events. For the Men, New Zealander Adam Hall ran the table, leading after his first run by over two full seconds and edging past Germany’s Gerd Schonfelder for the overall time. Schonfelder’s excellent second run put him only half a second behind Gold Medalist Hall. In the Women’s Standing Slalom, Canada reigned supreme, occupying two of the three places on the Medal podium. Canadian Gold Medalist Lauren Woolstencroft dominated the event, winning by an enormous margin of 6.38 seconds. Teammate Karolina Wisniewska narrowly missed Silver, as German Andrea Rothfuss’ time bested Wisniewska’s by a margin of 49 seconds, forcing the latter to settle for the Bronze. American skier Allison Jones recovered from a 7th place position after her first run thanks to a very strong second run. In fact, when she crossed the finish line her second time down the course, the time she posted put her in first. Unfortunately, her time didn’t hold up, as she wound up finishing in 5th place overall. Allison’s finishing slot, however, was the best among all American skiers that day, both Men and Women. The best American performance in the Men’s class belonged to Monte Meier, who finished 8th.

For more coverage of the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.

 

 
Mar 16, 2010---U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team Shuts Out Japan, 6-0, at 2010 Paralympic Winter Games

 

From USA Hockey website:

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team defeated Japan this afternoon, 6-0, in its final preliminary-round game of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. With the win, Team USA improved to 3-0-0-0 overall and earned Group A's top seed entering Thursday's (March 18) semifinal round.

Six different players scored for Team USA, which will face the loser of tonight's preliminary-round showdown between Canada and Norway for the right to play in the tournament's gold-medal game.

"We're continuing to improve with each passing game," said Ray Maluta, head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "We connected on more of our prime chances tonight, and only committed a handful of mistakes."
 

japan cov 2

Team USA celebrates Greg Shaw's goal.
Photos from the game
Video: 
Josh Pauls | Steve Cash

Team USA jumped out to a 1-0 lead just one minute into the game. After receiving a pass from Tim Jones (Mt. Ephraim, N.J.) at the offensive blue line, captain Andy Yohe (Bettendorf, Iowa) skated to the top of the right circle and slid a pass to Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) in the high slot. Page's first shot attempt failed to get through, but he collected the rebound and snapped the puck low to the far post for his first goal of the tournament.

Greg Shaw (Park City, Utah) gave Team USA a 2-0 lead late in the opening period. After intercepting a pass at the U.S. blue line, Taylor Lipsett (Mesquite, Texas) broke through the neutral zone on a two-on-one rush with Shaw. When the Japanese defenseman engaged with Lipsett, he slipped a pass to Shaw, who fired a shot past the glove of Japan goaltender Mitsuru Nagase.

Five minutes into the second period, Alexi Salamone (Grand Island, N.Y.) notched his third goal of the tournament on the power play, cutting through traffic between the faceoff circles and scoring over Nagase's glove to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead. Lipsett collected his team-leading fourth goal of the tournament eight minutes later, holding onto the puck on a two-on-one rush and shuffling a shot past Nagase's blocker for an unassisted tally.

U.S. goalie Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) turned aside a breakaway chance by Japan's Daisuke Uehara to send Team USA into the second intermission with a 4-0 advantage. Cash made five saves in 30 minutes of action before being replaced by Mike Blabac (Buffalo, N.Y.) at the start of the third period.

Team USA extended its lead to 5-0 four minutes into the third period on the first goal of the tournament by Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.). The four-time Paralympian escaped a defender at the Japanese blue line and fired a hard wrist shot over Nagase's blocker. Nikko Landeros' (Berthoud, Colo.) first career goal five minutes later closed out the scoring.
 
Mar 16, 2010---Tim Jones: On the Edge

 

 

written by Peter Quartuccio

You can see video of it on the internet through various websites: near the end of a sled hockey game between the United States and Canada in May of 2009, a melee erupts after American Taylor Chace crashes into Canadian goaltender Paul Rosen. The benches clear, and after the initial surge is squelched by the referees, a player in a U.S. jersey, his number not in view, lands a clean left into the mask of a Canadian player, prompting the fight’s first aftershock. It came as no surprise to those who know him that that unnumbered player turned out to be Tim Jones, an intense competitor whose flat affect belie a fighter’s heart. Indeed, from his difficult upbringing to his physical disability and emotional issues, he has been engaged in a 22-year fight to contain and ward off his manifold demons. His face and manner evince this struggle, albeit in a somewhat muted fashion. His almost ubiquitously horizontal lips and unthreatening yet stern countenance gives off an impression of distance. He rarely speaks more than two consecutive sentences, and a true laugh (not one of his single-shot scoffs that punctuate some statements) is seldom heard. In his own words, he “battles [his] emotions,” and hates “to show weakness.” But as this statement suggests, Tim Jones is far from devoid of emotion, regardless of how hard he tries to tell the world otherwise.

Tim was born with what he termed a mild case of spina bifida, a congenital birth defect in which the spinal cord protrudes through the spinal column, and often results in neurological disorders. Tim’s case was such that he could, with the help of braces and determination, walk: he has done so practically since birth. Tim was adopted by a white foster mother in a predominately white neighborhood in New Jersey called Mount Ephraim, where he found himself the object of racism at a very young age. While he experienced prejudice outside his home, inside of it was thankfully a different story. Tim credits his grandmother for the open-minded and accepting nature of his foster mother, a nurse, and her siblings, saying that she preached to her children “not to judge people by the color of their skin but how they are as a person.” Despite the absence of domestic racism, Tim’s family life was nevertheless a difficult one. His two siblings, Ryan, 21, and Patty, 30, are adopted and disabled as well, Ryan with a learning disability and Patty with mental retardation. On top of that, Tim was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at the age of 10, which roughly corresponded with his mother’s disclosure that he was adopted. His anger and frustration with this information was aided by his illness, and they manifested themselves in fits of rage that were so intense, the police had to be called on several occasions even though he never physically harmed members of his family. Instead, he took out his anger on inanimate objects, often punching through walls in his home, and, ultimately, on himself. Tim admitted that throughout much of his life, he swam against a seemingly never-ending current of anger, trying to cope with it as best he could, but often found himself powerless to prevent another outburst.

Sports represented an outlet. Through sports, he could channel his aggression and his anger onto the playing field, or in Tim’s case, the basketball court. Tim’s first love was basketball, and he played stand-up ball despite his disability for the better part of 9 years. It was during a basketball game that he caught the attention of local sled hockey coaches, one of whom was Norm Jones (no relation), who coached the New Jersey-based Wings of Steel team. Despite his initial reservations (“I thought they were crazy” was his response to their advances), Tim accepted their offer and began playing sled hockey at 12 years of age. Norm remembers, “You could tell pretty early on that he was something special,” and so to help him realize that potential Norm “worked him pretty hard.” Tim met another pivotal figure in his life during this process, Wings of Steel head coach Tom Brake. Throughout Tim’s tenure with the team, Tom would drive Tim to games and practices, and during those years grew to become a father figure of sorts. “Tom was my mentor,” Tim said, adding that he still turns to his old coach for advice today.

A natural athlete, Tim quickly translated his athletic ability from the basketball court onto the ice, and within a few years simply became too good for the team and the league in which they played. Tim moved on to playing with club teams across the nation, including one backed by the Chicago Blackhawks, and in the 2005-06 season, just 5 years after he played sled hockey for the first time, Tim became a member of the United States National team roster. There he met some of the greatest sled hockey players in the world, many of whom took Tim under their respective wings. Tim lists Joe Howard, Kip St. Germaine, and Lonnie Hannah as the most important figures during his first year with the team. He was particularly appreciative of the efforts of Hannah who, seeing Tim’s potential to be a great forward, moved himself from forward to defenseman so as to make room for Tim and make possible his growth as a player. As Hannah predicted, Tim flourished as a forward, and allowed his speed—the strongest part of his game—to shine through. Many consider him to be the fastest player on the team, meaning that he may be the fastest sled hockey player in the world.

The ice has served as a refuge for Tim, who still feels self-conscious of his disability when he is off of it, saying “I hate when people stare at me when I’m walking.” While in his sled, however, he loves being the focal point, the object of both adulation from fans and disdain from opponents. “I like to play on the edge,” Tim said, and it is clear that while speed is certainly his greatest strength, it is his toughness and intensity that defines him as a player. Unlike so many of us who suffer a drop in performance when angered, Tim seems that rare breed who is actually better when made mad, when he is feeding off the emotions that led him into so much trouble earlier in his life, channeling them onto the ice and into the game. And it is here that sled hockey has made its greatest impact on Tim’s life, for in concentrating his intensity, his aggression, his pain on the sport, he has learned to cope with his past and to deal with his emotions without having to suppress or battle against them. The rules of sled hockey required control, so by handling his emotions on the ice, he soon learned how to manage them off of it as well. “[Sled] hockey has taught me discipline,” he said, and realizes that he has become “more mature” thanks to his years of experience on the ice. In short, sled hockey made it possible for him to use his emotions, instead of merely being at the behest of them.

In saying this, it must be said that Tim still battles with his problems, but thanks to sled hockey and its cumulative effect on all aspects of his life, he seems to have his issues under control. He told me that he prays to his now-deceased grandmother in moments of indecision, so that he does not act impulsively and “do something stupid.” He recognizes his love for mother and his family, even if he doesn’t always agree with them. He said that over the past few years, he has welcomed God back into his life, a presence that he admittedly neglected during his most troubled years. This too has contributed to a more contemplative, less rash person. He is now a part-time coach with the Wings of Steel, back where it all began. If not a completely changed man, Tim is certainly a grown one. “Without hockey,” he acknowledged, “I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” And when asked if, after all of his troubles, trials, and tribulations, he is proud of the person he sees in the mirror nowadays, he paused, and then stated with his trademark deliberateness, “Before [hockey], I would say no. But now, yes, I am.”

For more coverage of the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.
 

 

 
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