Local hockey team made up of athletes with disabilities has their annual fundraising game

Maryland

The Hagerstown Kodiaks hockey team had their third annual fundraiser game to help people with disabilities get on the ice.

The Kodiaks hit the ice Saturday night at the Ice and Sports Complex in Hagerstown for the annual game. The team is made up of athletes with disabilities from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Players range from ages 6 to 60. Each athlete is seated on a sled that has two blades, which allows them to balance as they race around the rink. The hockey sticks they use have small spikes on the top that help them propel on the ice and handle the puck.

“We have double amputee single amputee, a little bit of everything, it’s amazing,” Dan Lavalliere said, the general manager of Ice and Sports Complex.

The money raised at this  event helps support their yearly program. Rink officials say they’re happy to be part of the support. “Its just a wonderful event to come out to, watch, hang out, be a part of and as a general manager I love hosting it and helping them out in any which way I can,” Lavalliere said.

The founder for the team is legally blind. He says his disability didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion and he created this team to get that message out to other people with disabilities.

“It does get to me, this is my passion for this and for everyone on the team it does a lot for them because some of them aren’t able to do a lot of other things,” said Kodiaks President Mike Barnhart, who went on to say how the team also serves as an outlet for players to talk about what they go through every day.

“Missing a limb or spina bifida, cerebral palsy, they can communicate together with what they’re dealing with and how they fix things on the ice its a whole different story its a whole team, a whole family.”

The next event at the Ice and Sports Complex for the team will be a “sledathon” in May.

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