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Paralympians Introduce People to Sled Hockey in Omaha

By Webmaster, 12/31/23, 7:45PM CST


OMAHA, Neb. —

Hoping to inspire the next group of Paralympians and find new members for Omaha's sled hockey team, nearly 30 skaters hit the ice at Baxter Arena on Saturday to try their hand in sled hockey.

"Today's event is our attempt to grow the sport more in the Midwest," Shawn Spencer, president of Midwest Amateur Hockey Association, said. "Omaha was the perfect place."

Saturday's clinic was hosted by five separate organizations, including Siouxland Sled Hockey, which says this is the largest event turnout they've had at any of their events, and the clinic featured skaters of all ages and experiences.

"Really, kind of the goal of today is just to feel comfortable in the sled," Jena Munson, board member of Nebraska Adaptive Sports, said.

But, the big draw of the day, the guidance of two paralympic gold medalists, including 3-time gold medalist and current U.S. National Sled Hockey team member Kevin McKee. Who said he got his start at a clinic like Saturday's clinic.

"My mom saw a flier of a local program that was doing a just like this, to try a sled hockey event," McKee said. "I went to it and fell in love with it right away."

Teaching the basics of how to push the sled and control the puck.

"I know when I first started, I met a Paralympian and saw a gold medal and I told my dad that that was a goal of mine and I wanted to make that happen," McKee said.

McKee hopes just one clinic participant will be inspired to pursue the sport he loves, and Omaha Owls team member Caiden Hansen hopes the same.

"We're pretty close to being able to travel," Hansen said. "We just got to get a few, a few things figured out, so I mean, I'm excited for when we get to start playing."

Before the Omaha Owls sled hockey team can officially travel and compete, they need a few more players added to their roster.

"The Omaha Owls they have eight, eight to 10 players," Spencer said. "We'd like to see them have 18 to 20 players."

But, even if the Owls don't roster a skater, Hansen said he's just grateful to learn from a gold medalist.

"It's awesome getting all of the advice from, you know, the people in the professional leagues," Hansen said.

Sled hockey is one of many sports offered through Nebraska Adaptive Sports. To find out how you can join the Omaha Owls or another sports team, click here.

Article by Maddie Augustine,  KETV NewsWatch 7