There was a brief pause in competition today during the Sled Classic as players cleared the ice for about a dozen young people to try sled hockey for the first time.
The majority of first-timers were from John F. Kennedy School in Newark, a middle-secondary special education school. The students had world-class instructors including Paralympians Jack Wallace, Kyle Zych, Noah Grove, and David Eustace, and Paralympic hopefuls Malik Jones, Griffin Lamarre, and Kelsey DiClaudio.
“I’m about to be in tears,” said Tati Pizarro, a teacher’s assistant at John F. Kennedy School. “Even though they have a limitation, it’s important that they don’t feel segregated.”
The kids were given hockey jerseys by the Devils, the host of this year’s Sled Classic.
After a few minutes, when the kids had gotten their bearings with the help of their instructors, organizers tossed pucks into the rink and the kids began passing them around and skating more confidently.
“They were very excited- a little nervous in the beginning, but now they look like fish in water,” Pizarro said.