UConn Women’s Basketball wasn't the only Connecticut team playing for a national title in Tampa, Florida this weekend. Away from the Amalie Arena, the Gaylord Wolfpark are playing for the Adult National Sled Hockey championship.
“Four years ago we were 1-15, this year, we’re playing for the national championship,” Wolfpack coach Damien Fox said.”
Among the handful of names on the roster: two Paralympics gold medallists and several women’s national team members, past and present, including fourth-year player, Rachel Grusse.
“Sled skills in and of itself take about a year and that’s no including, like, puck handling and learning the game,” Grusse said of her challenges learning the game. “And I knew almost nothing about hockey going into it so, learning the rules was just as much a part of everything as the game itself.”
Now, Grusse is a seasoned veteran and enjoys the game for how it can be played by people of all abilities.
“It’s really freeing, I feel, to be able to just play the sport as everybody else on the ice does,” Grusse said. “You get somebody in a sled and it equalizes it and makes it so that we’re all on the same playing field and we all have to overcome the same obstacles and we’re able to play competitively together, which I think is really, really cool.”
The Gaylord Wolfpack is a part of the Gaylord Sports Association, which provides adaptive sports opportunities for people through Connecticut.