KENT, Ohio- It’s a big weekend at the Kent State University Ice Arena.
“Hockey teams are coming in-- one team from Buffalo, another team from Pittsburgh and another team from Columbus, Ohio,” said Kent State Club Hockey Assistant Coach Zachary Nowak.
But this will not be an ordinary hockey tournament.
“This weekend we are having our second annual Sled Hockey Tournament,” Nowak said.
That’s right -- ice hockey played on sleds. Kent State Club hockey team will take off their skates and strap into a sled. Their opponents will be children with disabilities and veterans who know a thing or two about sled hockey.
“You see what you take for granted like being able to skate and you kind of see the joy they still have from still getting to play,” said Kent State forward Rubin Chavarrio.
It’s a 4-team tournament.
“You get points per period so if you win a period you get one point; if you win the game you get two points,” said Nowak.
Each team will get to play two games on Saturday and one game on Sunday.
“Whoever has the most points at the end of the tournament will be our tournament champion; they will get their trophy,” Nowak said.
It sounds simple for anyone who plays regular ice hockey standing up.
“I think it’s a pretty awesome experience, very humbling. You kind of take their vantage point of playing and how much fun the game of hockey is for everyone,” said Kent State forward Xavier Sudlow.
Now try sitting down and playing without any skates on your feet. That’s the challenge.
“I think the most difficult thing is in real hockey we miss the pass or something we can just kind of loop around and go get it; we miss a pass out here, it’s kind of dead. I don’t know what to do with myself,” Chavarrio said.
It’s for sure a big weekend full of fun and fellowship that brings athletes of all different skill levels together with their love of hockey.
“To me it’s hockey and it’s a pretty awesome experience,” Sudlow said.
The tournament is open to the public and it is free to attend. The event takes place all weekend at the ice arena on the Kent State campus.