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Dartmouth Men and Women Help in Sled Hockey Event for Veterans

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By Pat Salvas

WEST LEBANON, N.H. – In what has become an annual event for the Dartmouth men’s and women’s hockey teams, members of both made the short 10-minute drive to Campion Rink for an afternoon of sled hockey on Monday.

The event is planned by Dartmouth athletic trainer Nicole Humann and the organization Northeast Passage, bringing veterans and others with disabilities together to participate in an inclusive afternoon of sled hockey.

Designed for veterans and individuals with mobility impairments, the group organizes sled hockey events to introduce the sport to individuals who otherwise may not be aware of it.

“Once again we had a great turnout of veterans and volunteers for the sled hockey clinic held at Campion Ice Rink,” Humann said. “This clinic gives the veterans a chance to try a new sport and especially for those newly injured, to adjust to their ‘new normal’ in a very positive way.

“Additionally, hosting this clinic provides the volunteers a great opportunity to thank our veterans for all they have sacrificed for us,” Humann added.

Numerous men’s and women’s players donned their Big Green sweaters and took to the ice to help the sled hockey players get adjusted to their new equipment.

It wasn’t just on-ice activities where the Dartmouth student-athletes lent a hand. With classes taking place on Monday, players rotated in and out of Campion to help in any way possible. Some got to the rink early to unload the truck and bring in all the equipment, while others helped prepare players in their new gear to play.

U.S. National Sled Hockey Team player Taylor Chace, a Hampton Falls, N.H., native, ran the event on the ice, organizing drills to teach players the necessary skills associated with this brand of hockey. An all-tournament selection at the 2012 Sled Hockey World Championship for his part in helping the US claim gold, Chace served as a perfect ambassador for the game he loves. 

Dartmouth women’s head coach Mark Hudak, a veteran himself, even tried his hand at sled hockey, while men’s coach Bob Gaudet was active in the prepping of new sled hockey players.

“Volunteers included representatives of both the Dartmouth men's and women's hockey teams, Northeast Passage from UNH, USA Hockey representative, Campion Ice Rink staff, VA representatives, Louisa Howard and many more. Everyone worked together seamlessly to allow this event to take place and they deserve our thanks and appreciation,” Human said following the event.

Northeast Passage's motto is to "Empower individuals with disabilities to 'Define. Pursue. Achieve.' their Therapeutic Recreation and Adaptive Sports goals."