From the Jamestown Sun
By Alexandria Cremer
Tyler Nordick was one of 11 members from the community who played sled hockey Sunday at the Eagles Arena in Jamestown.
[quote_left]”He gets so excited about it he can barely stand it,” said his mom, Caryn Claflin, teacher at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown.[/quote_left]
Sled hockey is a sport designed for those with disabilities to be able to play ice hockey. Sled hockey has an adaptive sled that anyone can sit in and be strapped into.
“It’s really supportive for those that maybe have to use a wheelchair,” said Denise Jensen, recreation coordinator for the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown. “We had several students out there that typically use a wheelchair that could actually sit in the sled.”
This year was the second time ACC teamed up with Dreams in Motion, a nonprofit organization based in Mandan, N.D., that provides youth and young adults between the ages of 2 to 25 with mobility barriers and/or visual impairments to enjoy recreation and sporting opportunities.
“Our kids had a really good experience that they probably would not have had the opportunity to do in any other case because we don’t have our own sled-hockey equipment,” Jensen said. “It was a really fun time and we couldn’t get our kids off the ice.”
Dreams in Motion began offering sled hockey in 2012 after being inspired by Hope Inc., a similar organization in Fargo.
John Renauld, sled hockey coach for Dreams in Motion, works with kids for two hours on the ice — first practicing various skills and exercising — then playing a scrimmage match together.
“He gives them a little free time, so we are out there for a good two hours, but it doesn’t really seem like it; our kids don’t think it’s long enough,” Jensen said, laughing.
Dreams in Motion strives to give those with disabilities confidence and to help them grow emotionally and physically, said Annette Kaip, president of Dreams in Motion.
“You think about any time that anybody has been part of a sports team or an organization that worked together towards a goal, it’s so satisfying,” Kaip said. “I mean a lot of kids are missing out on that, and so Dreams in Motion is working to give them that experience.”
Jensen said that ACC in Jamestown is hoping to take sled hockey for its community one step further.
“Our goal and our dream is to hopefully get to that point where we can build sled-hockey teams throughout our community who could compete against each other and have fun,” Jensen said.
The next step is getting the community on board, said Laurie Skadsem, systems navigator at the ACC.
“We are hoping to be able to do some awareness and then do some fundraisers so we are able to afford it,” Skadsem said.
Kaip said each sled costs around $1,000 to $1,200. Other fees, including a trailer, ice time and unforeseen costs of starting up teams, would also have to be budgeted for, Skadsem said.
Skadsem said sled hockey is part of a statewide initiative to implement recreation for Anne Carlsen Center students across North Dakota.
Other initiatives include Annie’s House in Bottineau, N.D., which provides a center for the needs of skiers with disabilities and iCan Bike, an activity that uses adaptive bicycles to teach those with disabilities how to ride a bike.
Dreams in Motion offers several other sports activities, including curling, soccer, basketball, tennis, dancing, skiing and track and field.