Story of the week
Roster Named for 2018-19 U.S. Women's Development Sled Hockey Team
Our options this week’s header picture were pictures like the one above of USA sled hockey star Kelsey DiClaudio that are three years old, or pictures from the most recent Paralympics, featuring the one woman in the tournament playing para ice hockey... who was not an American.
We’ve talked before about how para ice hockey (sled hockey in the US, sledge hockey in Canada) deserves more coverage and support. Today’s announcement from USA Hockey that their Women’s Sled Development team would finally become “fully part of USA Hockey” is definitely a step in the right direction.
While sled hockey is nominally a co-ed sport, the US National Team, like most national teams, has no women on this season’s roster. Putting 18 women squarely in the eye of USA Hockey may make it easier to change that in the future.
In the short term, an interview with DiClaudio from last year by Kirsten Whelan highlighted the differences between the US National team and the Women’s Development team, and gives a glimpse of what recognition will mean to these 18 athletes:
“They get all these snacks and all this chocolate milk and all this everything,” she laughed. “We just got a trainer. We don’t even have an equipment guy or anything like that. So it’s kind of ‘just get out there and play’ with the women’s team. You put on your jersey, represent your country, and get out there and play. You’re just playing for the love of the game, basically.
Nothing feels better than coming home as world champs! Words can’t describe how much this group means to me.❤️ #WPIHWC2018 pic.twitter.com/MdkF6Ztcfb— Kelsey DiClaudio (@kelseydiclaudio) May 7, 2018
The larger goal however, is the recognition of women’s sled hockey as a sport on its own. Last week we linked to a few stories about tryouts for the Women’s National Para Ice Hockey Team, and their fight to be recognized by Hockey Canada. The Women’s Para Ice Hockey World Cup in May still featured a Team Europe. The Beijing Paralympics are four years away — let’s hope by then USA Hockey will be sending a full team of women to compete in a women’s para ice hockey tournament at the Games.
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European club hockey
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