Canada Paralympic success inspires young Alberta sledge hockey athletes

Novice players gathered in Calgary to watch gold medal game on Saturday.

The Paralympics have wrapped up in Pyeongchang, and Canada’s success is giving a group of young sledge hockey players inspiration that they too will one day make their marks on international ice.

Alberta kids show off sledge hockey skills 0:35 CBC News

By Sarah Rieger with files from Terri Trembath, CBC News Calgary March 19, 2018

The Paralympics have wrapped up in Pyeongchang, and Canada’s success is giving a group of young sledge hockey players inspiration that they too will one day make their marks on international ice.

The Calgary Venom, the city’s novice sledge hockey team, showed off their skills at the Stew Hendry Arena on Saturday with visiting Edmonton sledge hockey players, before gathering to watch the men’s gold medal game between Canada and the U.S.

With the Paralympics wrapped up in Pyeongchang, a group of young sledge hockey players are hoping to one day make their marks on international ice. CBC

The U.S. captured gold with a 2-1 overtime victory.

“It just inspires me, to like, keep working hard to just try and get there,” said 13-year-old Kale Crisp, who hopes to make Team Canada one day.

Kale Crisp, 13, has been playing sledge hockey for eight seasons. Terri Trembath CBC

“I think it would be really fun to represent the country… it’s kind of like the NHL of sledge hockey.”

Crisp is just one of dozens of kids between ages five and 16 who play junior sledge hockey in the province.

He’s been playing for eight seasons.

“My brother plays hockey, but I was born with a disability in my legs so I couldn’t play regular hockey. So I wanted to find a way for me to play,” Crisp said.

Caitlin Bergin is the head coach of the Venom. She said the Paralympics are a great way to inspire more people to get into the sport.

Caitlin Bergin is the head coach of the Calgary Venom novice sledge hockey team. Terri Trembath CBC

“I know that there’s kids out there who just don’t know about us, and we try to get the word out there as much as we can and then there’s a lot of towns throughout Alberta, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, that have a couple of kids, but not enough for a team,” she said. “And so getting the word out so that kids know that they have this sport available to them is really important.”

“I hope it gets the word out there, and they go out there and Google the sport and come out to play.”

Canada’s success at the Paraylmpics in Pyeongchang is giving a group of young sledge hockey players a boost in their stride. CBC

Bergin said the sport is for hockey players of all abilities — some players on the team have conditions like cerebral palsy, while others are able-bodied.

To find out more about sledge hockey, visit the Calgary sledge hockey website.

Source CBC News

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