LITTLETON - It went from an idea to a reality in 2002 when a group of adult sled hockey players decided to share their game with kids. In the decade plus since the Colorado Sled Hockey Association has grown to a program serving 40 youth players throughout the Denver metro area.
"I always dreamed of playing hockey on a standup team, and I've always dreamed of playing hockey anyway," 12-year-old Paul Stoiber said.
When Paul was six months old he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. His twin brother Larry started ice skating and playing organized ice hockey when he was six years old. Until Paul found the Colorado Sled Hockey Association he was left to watch his brother play.
"I always envied my brother when he played and I didn't," Paul said.
Paul got a chance to experience sled hockey when he was 7 years old. Paul knew immediately that he had found his sport.
"I'm still playing because the first year I tried it I felt like it was the greatest thing that I've ever played," Paul said.
The Colorado Sled Hockey Association provides kids with the equipment needed to participate. The program is sponsored by the Colorado Avalanche.
"You know sled hockey is hockey. I mean, the kids are out here playing hockey. You've got to pass. You've got to shoot and you've got to skate. It is hockey," said Corey Fairbanks, executive director of Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation and one of the founders of the Colorado Sled Hockey Association.
The sled hockey program is open to both youth and adults.
For more information about the program, visit www.coloradosledhockey.org or www.coloradoadaptivesports.org
The program is a non-profit and operates on donations from the community.
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