Posts Tagged ‘sledge hockey’

teamusa000

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.”~George Burns

Well this wasn’t expected but here it is.

I’ve literally been surprised by with the news that Team USA Sledge Hockey’s Taylor Lipsett and team captain Andy Yohe have announced their retirement from the sport.

Over the last four Paralympic Games, Team USA has captured the gold medal three times. Andy Yohe being team captain in 2014 and in 2010. Back to back gold medal victories for Team USA.

It appeared as if Team USA had constructed a dynasty in sledge hockey with so many gold medals won whether at the World Championships or at the Winter Paralympic Games.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would hear about them leaving the sport NOW. Yeah sure, maybe ten or fifteen years, but I never thought it would be now. I am actually stunned right now as I write this.

Via Facebook, both Lipsett and Yohe made their statements on the situation as well as shared with them the online web article announcing their departure from the sport.

Andy Yohe said “Time to pass the torch on to the younger generation of sled hockey players in the US. I know the team is in good hands.”

Taylor Lipsett left a statement saying “Well I suppose it’s time to make it official… I have decided to officially hang up the sled and call it a career. It’s be an amazing 10 year ride, with ups and downs, but fortunately for me I was blessed with more ups than downs, and blessed with amazing teammates, many of which I know will be life long friends. I never dreamed of being able to represent my country when I was growing up until that divine intervention on a Sunday afternoon at the grocery store with Cheryl Lipsett! The last 10 years have been the most amazing years of my life both on and off the ice, but it is time to start a new chapter and focus on my family and my professional career. It will always be an honor to have been so fortunate to wear the red, white, and blue and the USA across my chest for so many years! And to have won a couple world championship gold medals and 2 Paralympic Gold Medals to top it all off! Thank you to USA Hockey, US Paralympics, all of my teammates over the years, my friends and family, and most important my Wife, Antonina Lipsett, who has sacrificed so much over the last 10 years to allow me to pursue my dreams! Thanks so much, and know I will always be cheering on Team USA!”

I never really did get much of a chance to sit down with Taylor Lipsett, since he is only a few hours away. But I have met him a couple of times before. I’ve shook his hand multiple times and spoke briefly but not as much as I would have liked. I had always wanted to sit down with him and talk about what it was like to be on the national team as well as what it took to get there.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet Andy Yohe both on and off the ice in Houston, Texas. I played along side of him as sides were chosen and he was the best influential player there for both Austin and Houston teams. After the one time playing on the ice with him, everyone else who was in a sled was totally inspired. I remember some players attempting to copy his style of play, wanting to be a better player.

Man to man, player to player, I can say to both of them….. Thank you for all that you have done. Thank you for representing this great country. Thank you for inspiring countless people both disabled and AB’s. Thank you for wonderful talents that you have given to the sport.

The sport will not be the same without either of you two on the ice. But we will cherish the memories of those times that you were. The both of you are ice warriors and will be immortalized by the sport that you played in the hearts and minds of colleagues, friends, family, and supporters. We wish both of you the best in your new journey.

Thank you Andy and Taylor.

http://www.usahockey.com/news_article/show/401531?referrer_id=752796

 

usagold2014

“With every set back there’s a chance to come back.” 

The 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia are now over.

Most importantly the gold medal match between USA and Russia was televised on NBC. 

I am given to understand that NBC used during the Olympic Games the duet “Incredible” by Céline Dion and Ne-Yo. Hell, if you want inspirational and incredible… they SHOULD have used it for the Paralympics.

However there was a lot involved and a lot on the line today as both gold and bronze medal matches went down. 

The semi-finals found USA against No. 1 seed Canada. And host nation Russia took on Norway. 

Team USA had previously lost to host team Russia and they had to take on their arch rivals Canada for the semi-finals. 

After the unusual and humiliating loss to Russia in the preliminaries, USA woke up and took their frustrations out on Canada winning  the match 3-0.

And so it was that Canada would play Norway for the bronze medal match. USA would again face Russia for gold. 

Let me explain why I said that a lot was on the line. 

  • Team USA took the gold in 2010 in Vancouver with a win over Japan. The team actually went 5-0 and shut out everyone they played outscoring them 19-0. USA was playing both to defend their gold medal and to become the first team ever in the Paralympics to win back to back gold medals in sledge hockey. 
  • Canada in 2010 on their home ice walked away with nothing, winning 4th place.
  • Norway had earned a medal in every Paralympics sledge hockey tournament since the sport was introduced and inducted into the Paralympics back in 1994. It didn’t matter what color the medal was. They had won a medal in every tournament. 
  • Canada had something to prove. They wanted their pride back after getting spanked by USA and being shutout. Norway’s medal streak was on the line. 
  • Norway however (and unfortunately in my opinion) lost their streak as Canada won the match and earned the bronze medal for 2014. History was changed. 
  • Not only was USA playing for back to back medals, but also taking into consideration that if they would win in Sochi, they would have the record of winning gold in the Paralympics three out of the last four times. 

Team USA’s Josh Sweeney (Texas) in the second period of the Gold Medal match was the one and only player that scored during the entire game. And that was enough for USA to become victorious. 

sweeney

Josh Sweeney (#13) scores on Russia, making the game 1-0. The only goal scored.

 

Watching the … what was called.. the Victory Ceremonies where they handed out the gold, silver, and bronze medals to USA, RUSSIA, and CANADA.. it was an amazing sight to behold. 

Although I could not help but notice the depressing frowns on the faces of the Canadian team members. I didn’t get that at all. 

Russia was right there with their silver medals and in front of their home crowd. It was like THEY won the gold… considering that the one fact that Russia did not have a national team 3-4 years ago, then they end up hosting the Games, and then make it to the Gold Medal match their first time playing in the Paralympics? Holy crap on a cracker!! 

Yeah… “incredible” indeed. Again, THIS is where that song needs to be played. 

I’m actually proud of Team USA. I am also really proud that I know a lot of these players on the team, and I have met in person many more. These are your people who are incredible. 

These are the ones that should make you think twice if you think your life sucks from time to time and that things aren’t going the way you want them. Inspiration overload. 

2014 Paralympics Gold Medal Match- Sledge Hockey

 PBS Sled Hockey Documentary “ICE WARRIORS

5362556718_a8f774db14_z“I can enjoy anywhere, and I can leave it.  Life is about moving on.“~Waris Dirie

Recently the most uncomfortable and the wildest decision was made for me and my life. This included a complete and total change in what I am doing in life, particularly in my spare time. 

It definitely was not easy, and it is not easy to deal with the consequences of making that decision but right now I feel that it is the RIGHT decision for me.

And who knows for sure … I may come back. But for now my hockey career comes to a close. “I’m hanging up those skates.” if you will.

I’m not going to go into what all caused this decision and I’m not going to spit fire at anyone. I just felt that with the entire scope of things for this season and the way things have not worked at all in my favor that I need to step away from it and hope to find something else that will occupy my time and be just as fun and rewarding as possible like sledge hockey was for me. I was trying to look at the bigger picture that was standing behind the picture that was in my face.

My sledge is already returned and so I have nothing holding me back. I’ve told those whom I felt needed to know and now its just time to move on. 

Of course I shall miss being a part of the sport. The people that I’ve met throughout the years because of it have been phenomenal. The experiences that I’ve had from the sport were once in a lifetime. Including being a part of a team that would enter their first ever tournament in 2012 and face difficult opponents and come out  with a 3-3 record and winning 3rd place and earning a bronze medal. 

My one and only award for sports. And nobody that knew me thought it would happen. But it did. 

However one thing is just eluding me. And that is the possibility of joining Team USA on the national level of the sport. Or at least trying out for the team.  With my absences being noted this year from practices due to one reason or another and my not being able to go to the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in Boston, its all been a huge set back for that one specific goal to try out for the national team. But of course its not just that. And its not worth getting all involved about everything else. I choose not to. 

Who knows though… I may return to the sport later in the future. For now though its time to leave.

For those of you who have been reading this blog and have been supportive…. a great big special thank you goes out to you. Those of you that I know and those of you who stay silent. 

And now as the Paralympics are going on in Sochi and Team USA is advancing closer and closer to the medal rounds of the tournament I cheer that they take it to top! 

GO USA!!

So I take the next step from here and now. I do not know where that foot will land. But the biggest part of getting over that reticence. 

 

end-of-the-road-1

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”~ Unknown

Tonight has just been gruesome. Filled with tears and the wonderment of what’s going to happen in the future.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I am going to have to sit down without distraction and decide what is going to be the best decision for my life.

Trust me, I don’t wish this battle on any one.

My sledge hockey career has come to a stop. Based on the fact that I have gotten sick many times or have been broke with no money to go travel to Houston at certain times  since the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

To be honest, I have not been on the ice at any capacity since our trip to Houston in May of last year. It has almost been a full year!!

And there has been a lot of personal factors along with that. Outside of failing health.

El Jefe, my wonderful friend and neighbor, passed away suddenly April of last year. He was my solid source of transportation for many seasons. After he died, I was nearly caught in a mess where I would no longer have transportation to/from practices. A few times I was lucky and fortunate enough to be able to catch rides from other teammates or another neighbor with a vehicle. But it got out of hand quickly and got real old fast for those who were driving here to come pick me up. And I had to let that go, so that I wouldn’t ruin the personal relationships I had with them.

Family would seem to be the logical step. But not in an unstable environment. Especially since my brother-in-law died one week later after El Jefe. My sister would not be able all of the time to handle her two children and come and pick me up for practices. Even though she did try last season.

THIS season… practices have been on Sunday mornings at 8:00 AM. And as much as I tried and pleaded and begged to get them to change it to a later time in the day, the team took what was given to them. And that very much was a factor as not too many people were wanting to drive all the way to get me and then drop me off at practice that early in the morning on a Sunday.

Not a lot was in my favor this season. Including the last trip to Houston a few weeks ago where (as I understood) they were going to be watching certain players as they played because so many people wanted to go to Boston in April for the tournament. Someone… is going to be cut. Too many interested players and only a few select spots on the team, according to tournament rules. There’s not ENOUGH players to make a SECOND team to go either.

The fundraising efforts that I attempted to carry out on my own with the help of another and split it… failed. We weren’t even close. So financially, I wouldn’t be going to Boston even if I was in excellent physical condition.

But I am not. It was explained to me that even if I got back on the ice tomorrow, I would have to be in peak condition for tournament play in less than two months. And it doesn’t seem all that possible as I am still unable to get on the ice.

So with all of this being a disappointing season. I do not know if I will ever see the ice this season. And with the way things are set up with the team as they are right now, transportation to/from practices and events … it just isn’t there. Its not in the cards.

Therefore I have been in tears, battling with the thought of whether or not to end my sledge hockey career with the Austin Blades.

This is a heavy burden as I sift through everything and attempt to make these life decisions with a clear mind.

 

autoinsurancemoneyroll150x150

“Fundraising is very, very time-consuming.”~Arlen Specter  

Dear readers: 

For most of you who have been around long enough, you know that I have been doing my best this season to raise enough funds so that I and the other assistant captain of the team can go to the USA HOCKEY DISABLED FESTIVAL  in Boston this  coming April.

Our original cut date was supposed to be the 31st of January. However with just a week and a half remaining and the lack of donations in the past few months (sadly), the two of us honestly did not see that we would reach our goal in that short amount of time.

We had even trimmed our goal by $1,000 and we’re still under 25% of reaching the full amount. We just did not know the right people to ask for donations and the nation’s economy is still pretty bad.

But all reasons and politics aside, we still want to thank those who read about our campaign through the blogs and thank those who tried to help spread the word. 

We also want to thank Author Jodi Ambrose and those good people up at Cape Cod Cookie Company for offering their personal incentives for this fundraising campaign. It was a fun deal for those to give to a good cause. 

Now we know that the website link will always and forever be available to receive further donations. We haven’t figured out how to “delete” the campaigns.

I will have it in the Blogroll for a little while longer, but I after this post …. I will not be advertising the link. Eventually though, it will be removed from the Blogroll. Unless its found a different purpose later on in the future.

If you still wish to donate or are the kind of person that likes to wait until the last minute, NOW IS THAT TIME!!!

We will be letting the ship sail at MIDNIGHT PST…. tonight!! For those of you who do donate and I receive the e-mail that you had done so before the cut off date, then your donation amount will be considered towards those incentives. 

And for those of you who find it too late and still wish to donate, I think that the idea that we had was to hold the money for the next season in case there are plans to go to the next tournament in 2015. So your donation money will still go towards the Austin Blades sledge hockey team, specifically for me and for my partner in crime in this adventure. We thank you in advance!!! 

No matter what, we will always be thankful to everyone who supports us, whether it be financially or moral support or whatever. We love you all. Thank you most sincerely!! 

 

Our donation page:

http://www.gofundme.com/2t2pvs

 

dfw

“Rape, mutilation, abuse, and theft are the natural outcome of a world in which force rules, in which human beings are objects.”~ Chris Hedges

Recently, it has been in the news about how the sled hockey team located in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area had equipment stolen from them.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/video/9359854-equipment-stolen-from-dfw-sled-hockey-team/

It becomes more and more surprising for me that there are more people in this world who are so low that they have to engage in criminal activities such as these.

And now all the extra equipment for the Dallas team is gone and they have to rebuild.

I decided personally as a member of a sledge hockey team, as well as being part of the Texas Sled Hockey League, that I would put this out there to everyone in the world to read about. Hopefully with your kindness that is within your heart, you will be able to help DFW Sled Hockey get back to where they used to be.

Send your donations to the address below:

SWAA
Attn: Sled Hockey Equipment
PO Box 1389
Hurst, TX76053

numbers

“I’m not great at dating, but I need to do it to relax.”~ Lena Dunham

Why women do you torture me so???

In the moments after the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup, I came across a fan who was cheering for them the whole way.

A few actually. I proceeded to tell them that NHL is nothing, and that these NHL players should attempt something more courageous and bold like sledge hockey. There’s no flexible glass in sledge hockey if you hit the wall.

They were impressed. I offered autographed photographs of me playing the sport. Some accepted, others rejected the offer.

So as I am sitting there checking to see if there was any other sledge hockey program in their individual areas, I noticed that one of them who had accepted the offer and sent me an address had actually sent me the address of a Super Cuts.

Umm, really?? REALLY?????

The only benefit of this doubt that I can think is that the information was old. There was a typo in the address that was sent. The Super Cuts is now a residential area. OR that is where this person works.

If the truth is none of the above, then I have to say that this is a brand new low in behavior in this situation.

This crap is just confusing. And again, if its none of the above… its just WRONG!!!!!!!