Avalanche Warriors Sled Hockey Comes to the Grand Valley

Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 11:04 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Avalanche Warriors Sled Hockey Club put on a Clinic in Grand Junction, helping veterans, and individuals with disabilities learn and play sled hockey.

“We just started kind of a club sport for people with disabilities to play hockey. There wasn’t really a lot of club sports around for people with physical disabilities in the Grand Junction or even the Grand Valley besides a little bit of skiing. So I wanted to try and get more of a community out, people can join up, have a little competition and get some exercise, like build some self-esteem, you know, just getting out is the main objective here.” Keegan Reiley said.

The Avalanche Warriors work with the Colorado Discover Ability Organization as well as the River City Sportsplex and Veteran Affairs to help get players out on the ice.

“We want to open this up to anybody with a disability, it doesn’t matter what kind of disability you have, we have even a lot of cognitive disability kids come out, and or adults, and we split the ice where you know, less professional people will be on one side, and more will be on the other. But we’re encouraging vets to come out,” Reiley said.

When it comes to playing on the ice, the Avalanche Warriors help teach players how to use the sleds and sticks, as well as how to maneuver. But once someone gets out on the ice, the physicality is still there according to Reiley.

“Just like any player, and you can still do hockey stops, you can still like push really hard, you can still flip the puck, you know, so it’s a very aggressive sport still. And everybody has to be in full padding. And we’re still like checking each other. Everybody’s passing the puck around just shooting goals really hard. So I mean, it’s still like a very competitive sport with a lot of physical contact.”

On top of the River City Sportsplex donating time on the ice to the Sled Hockey players but some members of the Colorado Mesa University Hockey Team also volunteered to come help out some of the players

“A community of people are coming together, a couple of CMU player hockey players are coming out to volunteer for us. So that’s helped out immensely, too. That’s just one example of one more organization that is providing, you know, some volunteers to come out and make this happen,” Reiley said.

The group will have one more sled hockey clinic at the River City Sportsplex Saturday morning.