First State-wide Scrimmages of the 2014-2015 Season

We started the morning on Saturday October 11th at the Ellington Ice and Sports Complex with a meeting in the locker room at 9am. We were on ice shortly after and had a great Florida Sled Hockey Bandits (state-wide elite team) practice with some new and returning players. I definitely got the ‘warm welcome’ as we went through drills, small scrimmages, scenarios and more. Time to get to the next level!

After the Bandits practice, we had some time to recover and grab something to eat before the scrimmages. We had SUCH a great turnout! Coach Ron reported that we had 35 sled hockey players from 4 different programs– Florida Ice (Fort Myers), Lightning (Tampa Bay), Hurricanes (Spacecoast), and Tiger Sharks (Palm Beach). Full representation of many disabilities, all ages and different stages of playing, as well as more women joining the game. Wow!! We ended up having 3 full lines and 4 rotating goalies for both scrimmages, it was a lot of fun and it was great to see everyone there.

We continue to grow the program and if you would like to be a sponsor, volunteer or participate, please contact me! Hockey love ❤

Back to Hockey Weekends! Tampa Bay Lightning Fanfest and the Development Crew in Fort Myers

This weekend was the Tampa Bay Fan Fest! It was a fun time with games and activities for the kids, TB Lightning scrimmages, interviews with the players and more. At 2pm, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s sled hockey team went on the ice, where we collectively came from teams all over the state. slapshotIt was a carefree pace when we scrimmaged and always a good time to play at the forum. They even announced & put my name on the scoreboard for making the USA women’s sled hockey team! Humbled and this new chapter is so surreal! It was awesome to see some of my Florida Sled Hockey Bandits team mates and the kids from the TB team.

This picture is a snapshot of my puck handling on the ice at the Forum, shown on the TB Lightning Twitter and TB Lightning Vine channel (Sept 27, 4 days ago). Ahhhh, pretty sweet! Click on the blue links to see the few second video.

FSHAfter I headed home to quickly get changed to head down to Fort Myers to be ready to go on the ice again the next morning, (go where the ice is!) The practice at the Skatium is mostly developmental sled hockey players and I like to go to these practices to help motivate them. I have mentored since I have been in middle school; it’s still one of my favorite things to do! I’m so glad I can do it in the athletic field as well as the work I have done in academics.

Hockey love ❤

I just got to pick my number for USA women’s sled hockey… pinch me!

16 416 216 5

I just got a text with my number choices and I picked my second favorite number, 16! I am elated!!! I can’t wait to put on that jersey and proudly represent. If you want to order a t-shirt, sweatshirt or any gear with your favorite player’s name and number, it goes towards our fundraising goals for the USA women’s sled hockey team as well. Thanks in advance! Hockey love ❤

Apparel Order form

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Snowbird season, 6 easy ways to do it in your 20’s, quack quack!

I finally got my car back from the shop (got rear ended about a month ago) and it is time to make the trek from Maine to Florida to play sled hockey and paracanoe. It is always bitter sweet and I can’t help having crocodile, or in this case alligator, tears. A large group of my friends and most of my family live up here. I love the coziness of the log cabin that I grew up in, the clear, star-filled sky and the crisp air begging for you to consume everything pumpkin. I am even sipping apple cider right now! I feel like I am going to ‘summer camp’ as I cram as much as I can into every crevice of my two-door. I am starting to get used to living out of my car and/or a backpack and moving often. I find it freeing and fun. 20140917_151409

It is an interesting lifestyle, and I have learned to live minimally- that is the key.

1) What about bills, bills, bills?

I currently have my stuff in a storage unit ($120). I pay and contribute, even when I stay with others when traveling. You can also make meals, get small gifts/notes or the best is to experience something together as a thank you. It is respectful to chip in and you’ll get invited back again, don’t be a mooch!! I do pay a modest rent during the season ($950 last year) have the smallest plan on my smartphone ($65) and pay the minimal for my student loans ($129), that’s it. I rarely buy things outside of food and gas; I have to budget very carefully because my profession doesn’t have work over the summer.

2) Well, what do you do for work?1977132_10101040647416141_1352871236_n

I work remotely like 30 million people do around the world. This picture is the same day a year apart… proof enough. It’s not much money, but it gives me the flexibility to travel and pursue my dreams in competitive sport while still contributing. Also, if you noticed above I haven’t had cable or internet in my apartment or residence for almost a year (saving approx $1,200 per year.) I work mostly at the library instead of a coffee shop, because they have free internet, books, movies, and more! It’s like rediscovering an old classic.

3) What about a social life? 1897009_742245732467365_1166386512_n400641_742245769134028_2113001824_n

Thankfully, I have connections all over the country due to being competing in Ms. Wheelchair America, my outreach activities and now sports. Also, there is technology. I have learned to have Skype ‘dates’ like this one with my family last Thanksgiving. Also calls, texts, Facebook, social media, and email. I love sharing moments with people I care about, even if I can’t be there every time.

4) How do you give back?

Pay it forward! My home is always open to guests and just like I schedule to spend time with them, they do the same thing. I love to show people around my new area because I always end up discovering something myself. I’m a lucky gal.

5) It sounds too easy?

It is. It can be done, the only thing that is holding you back if fear. You can figure it out, plan along the way and improvise the rest.

6) What if it doesn’t work out?

If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back. Bonus? You have a story to tell. Plain and simple.

Live your life! ❤

So this is how I found out!

After a skiing accident left me paralyzed from the waist down 8 years ago, I did not think I could be good enough to play competitive sports again. I attended the Team USA Women’s Sled Hockey National tryouts were held last weekend in Minnesota, and a week later “the” email got sent out.This video shows the pure emotion after dedicating every weekend and daily working outs learning the game of sled hockey (adaptive ice hockey) for the last 10 months with the Florida Sled Hockey Association.

Team USA women’s sled hockey team tryouts, and the vertict is….

Wow, last weekend Sept 5-7, 2014 was an intense assessment of June to Sept 2014 1865skills, drills and scrimmages. I caught a 6am flight out of Portland, Maine to Minnesota. Headed to Hockey Country. I was a bit quiet at first (yup, nervously excited!!), but as soon as I joined a circle of confident female athletes; it was easy to warm up to them and be myself. After everyone arrived, we went straight to the rink after getting a bite to eat… I thought, welcome to the big leagues. June to Sept 2014 1867

When we got to the ice complex in Blaine, Minnesota we entered the USA Hockey locker room, surreal in itself.  Four, 1 1/2 hour sessions over two and a half days. I couldn’t be more impressed (and let’s be real, completely humbled) with the amount of athleticism during tryouts. I learned so much and I didn’t want it to end! It was like a wicked cool, grown-up summer camp of elite athletes from all over the country. Congrats to everyone who tried out, gave it there all and kicked some a$$ (KSA!) The experience was amazing and I enjoyed getting to know all of you.USA womens hockey 2 I can’t wait to be playing with the Women’s USA Sled Hockey Team and the Florida Sled Bandits this season. Hard work and heart, it pays off.

Hockey love. ❤

The 2014/2015 USA Women’s Sled Hockey Team roster:

The Veterans- Kelsey DiClaudio (Pennsylvania), Christina Gardner (Maine), Robynne Hill (Colorado), Morgan Hosbrough (Ohio), Kelly Lavoie (Connecticut), Daniella Robbins (Florida), Khrista Matthews (New Hampshire), Erica Mitchell (Illinois), Nina Nissly (Illinois) and Karen Smith (Connecticut), The Newbies- Susie Kluting (Michigan), Sara Tabor (New York) and Laurie Wood (Virginia), The Alternates- Abby Hess (Colorado) and Monica Quimby (Maine/Florida).

Congrats!!!!! xoxo

This Ones for the Girls…

This is a #tbt a day early. I just got sent the layout for The USA Women’s Sledge (Sled) Hockey Team Tryouts in Minnesota and now it’s only days away… wow. 20140903_211622

I can’t help but think of the girls that I played field hockey 4th grade (middle school, black and white) until senior year (below). There was nothing better than growing up with these girls throughout the years. We looked forward to it.

Preseason, sweating and dying from the heat and even though we tried to stay in shape over the break, it was always brutal. Then the start of fall was field hockey season (sorry football) and school, as you tried to do your homework after practice or over the bumps and in the dark on the bus back from a game, listening to your CD player of your favorite jams after bombarding a fast food joint with a million hungry girls. 20140903_211034

It was awesome when we could wear our green and white jerseys with our skirts to school, and even better get out of school EARLY for away games that were far. The inside jokes, ‘school fight songs’ on the bus, getting pulled aside by coach (you know you can still hear her voice when you mess up and when you do well), mentoring from the upperclassmen and the overall sisterhood of this team of friends still stick with me today. That sweaty smell day after the game where you forgot to take out your uniform and know you should wash your shin guards, and your nasty mouth guard. The day you got a Grays field hockey stick, and the moment you found a MILLION ways to use pre-wrap, including to get the whispies of hair out of your face. Respect for the captains and helping out JV, freshman and the little girls with learning what you love. That pure love of the sport is why you were always doing everything together. 20140903_211907(1)

The thrill of corners and sprinting out of the cage. The cold and even snow at the end of the season, but no matter what your team will push though. We won together. We lost together. The feel of a long hard drive up field vibrating up your arms or a killer give-and-go pass to your team mate or assisting/scoring your first goal, and even your last. Senior year.

I will have you ALL in my ‘back pocket’ and thinking of you at USA tryouts. I can’t believe that I am getting a second chance to have this, I miss you LAHS girls so much and I can’t wait to meet all of these new women… this is surreal. 

 *Note- I got paralyzed in 2006, when I was 19, a sophomore in college.