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KUSA - The Olympics may be finished, but Sochi still has its time in the spotlight.

Beginning with opening ceremonies Friday, the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take over the mountains, snow and ice in Sochi, Russia.

During these Games NBC will be providing TV coverage of the competitions, a first for the Paralympic Games.

One strong medal contender for the U.S. is the sled hockey team.

Sled hockey is hockey played on bladed sleds where players propel themselves across the ice surface with two sticks which have small spikes embedded on the ends.

"It's a disabled sport," Staff Sgt. Rico Roman said.

"There's all different disabilities. Amputees, spina bifida, you name it.

As long as you can't play stand up hockey, you can play sled hockey."

The rules are the same. Players skate, hit, play defense and attempt to score goals.

"The easiest way to describe it is your arms are your arms and legs if you think about hockey. You're using them to skate and handle the puck all at the same time," forward Josh Pauls said.

Comprised of 17 members, the sled hockey team looks to continue their international success. The team has been on the podium for the last few world championships and has won two of the last three Paralympic Games.

Physicality is a major component in hockey and the checks can be devastating.

"Checking at 30 mph, you're talking about small car crash collisions," forward Taylor Lipsett said.

The U.S. plays a physical game and they enjoy giving a hit or two.

"It's just one of those feelings trapped inside," forward Greg Shaw said.

"You get to relieve so much emotion, and everything building up inside of you in one check."

However there is some difference between standing and sled hockey checks.

"The shoulder gives; the metal sled doesn't give when it's hitting you in the chest. You're the one going down," forward Brody Roybal said.

The U.S. will play Italy, South Korea and Russia in their group stage. Their first game is March 8, against Italy.

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