American Amputee Hockey Association

Press Releases

Put your disability on ice.


For Immediate Release

Friday May 23, 2003

Team USA wins silver medal at World Amputee Championship

The US National Amputee Hockey Team traveled to Finland to participate in the first World Amputee Ice Hockey Championship April 26- May 1, 2003 at the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja, Finland beating everyone but the Canadians to garner the silver medal. The US team is comprised of both upper and lower extremity amputees, aged 18-41, including two women from eight different states and is organized by the American amputee Hockey Association (AAHA) which is based at New England Sinai Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Stoughton, Massachusetts.

The US Team handled the newly formed Finnish Team quite handily, 7-1, in their initial contest before dropping the first and only game in the preliminary round to Team Canada, 4-0, in a toughly contested match. The US needed to then beat he Russians in order to advance to the Championship Game. They were successful with another outstanding performance in goal by Mike Ginal (NY, NY), winning 4-2, with goals scored by Dan Sangiorgio (Howell, NJ), Paul Martin (Boulder, CO0, Peter Stahley (Bloomington, MN) and Scott Wright (Waterford, MI).

In the Championship game, the Canadians again came out strong and notched the first three goals before the US tallied two of their own in the second period by Chris Cutter (Fruitport, MI) and Paul Martin to make it 3-2 going into the third period. It was a classic US- Canada game, with great play and high intensity. Mike Ginal and defenseman Karl Stuemke (White Bear Lake, MN), Peter Stahley (Bloomington, MN) and John Morton (Bemidji, MN) continued to frustrate the lightning fast Canadian first and second lines. Tempers began to flare going late in the third period after some pushing in front of the US net that put a few members of both teams into their respective boxes. Again, it was Team Canada who notched the last tally to win 4-2, in the best Amputee Hockey game ever played. Both teams congratulated each other for the game and what their individual and team efforts have done to grow the sport to reach this new and exciting level of international competition.

All Championship MVP honors were awarded to both Mike Ginal and Karl Stuemke from the US Team. Special praise goes out to Team USA Coaching staff who brought this group of players who had never all played together into a team worthy to compete against the World�s best. Head Coach , Bret Chernick (Windsor, CT) himself a former member of the US squad and an above-knee amputee, was assisted on the bench by Peter Henry (Medford, MA) and Greig Martino (Hanover, MA).

Rene Fasel, President of the IIHF was able to attend a couple of the contests in Lohja, in between his responsibilities for the Mens� World Championship being played in several cities in Finland. He was also on hand at the Championship banquet to give out the MVP awards. Six members of Team USA were also selected to compete in an exhibition game at the Hartwell Arena, in Helsinki, as part of the IIHF Coaches Symposium on May 1st. In addition to team captain Karl Stuemke, and assistant captains, Scott Wright, Lee Havemeier (Duluth, MN) and Mike Ginal, Dan Sangiorgio and Patti Koch (Bridgeport, NY) were able to light up the ice along with players from Team Finland, to take on a combined team of Canadian and Russian standouts before coaches from 22 different nations. Members from all the teams left the ice to a standing ovation.


Prior Releases

February 7, 2003

CAMBRIDGE, MA � former Harvard hockey goalie, Mike Ginal, Class of 2000, is set to return to the Crimson�s home ice on Saturday February 15th at 1 pm. He won�t be taking on the Big Red of Cornell, set to play the Harvard Men�s team later in the day, but he will face some stiff competition from former Ivy League standouts. Ginal will be in the net for the US National Amputee Hockey Team as they face off against other distinguished Ivy League Hockey alumni at Bright Hockey Center. The game will be part of a National Training Camp weekend set for the frozen banks of the Charles River. Ginal, a below-knee amputee, was the first player in NCAA history to play in a game with a prosthesis as a sophomore in 1998. Later this spring he will travel with the US team to compete in the first World Amputee Ice Hockey Championship in Finland, April 25- May 3, 2003, with the four charter National teams, Canada, Finland, Russia and the United States, in this new IV International league. The Championship is part of the American Amputee Hockey Association�s (AAHA) international effort to develop the discipline for inclusion in future Winter Paralympic Games.

�He�s no sieve!,�says Dr. David Crandell, AAHA Vice President, and a Cornell �84 graduate. �As a hockey fan and former member of the Lynah faithful,� Cornell�s home ice known for its raucous enthusiasm, �I try to keep the Harvard trash talk to a minimum. I am proud to say he�s a leader of the team, safety school or not.� Both Ginal and Crandell are looking forward to settling this year�s Ivy League Championship debate from the stands when the Amputee Team attends the Cornell vs. Harvard Men�s game as part of the hockey, holiday weekend.

The Ivy Alumni Team is being led by Scott Fusco, Harvard �86. He reigns as the Crimson�s all-time scoring leader with 240 points (107 goals, 133 assists) capturing the Ivy League scoring title during his freshman, junior and senior years. He is looking forward to taking on Ginal between the pipes. Fusco was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as a junior in 1985 and won the award in 1986. Fusco was also a member of Team USA during both the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. In net for the Ivy team will be Chuckie Hughes, Harvard �92, the starting goaltender for Harvard�s 1989 NCAA Championship win. Also scheduled to play will be Mike McKee, Princeton�92 who later played for the Quebec Nordiques. And not to miss out on any hockey action at Harvard, Bill Cleary �56, will put his prolific scoring touch to the afternoon action.

The US National Amputee Hockey Team is comprised of both men and women skaters who are either upper or lower extremity amputees. They play standard hockey, as opposed the current Paralympic discipline of sled hockey, which is played seated. The team and its development are featured in the newest March 2003 issue of Hockey Digest.

The weekend skating schedule will also include a skate at the Boston Skating Club on Soldier�s Field Road at 10:45 pm after the Cornell/ Harvard game Saturday night and back on the Harvard ice at 11:45 am �12:45 pm on Sunday to complete the weekend training. The game and practices are open to the public. For more information contact the AAHA at 781-297-1393 or check the web for schedule at www.amputeehockey.org.

October 10, 2002

Amputee skaters return to Boston for National Training Camp

BOSTON - The American Amputee Hockey Association (AAHA) will be hosting its first camp of 2002- 2003 season at the Max Ulin MDC Rink in Milton, MA, Friday October 25 and 26, 2002.  Adult skaters from around the country have been invited to train, play with and be evaluated by the National Coaching staff for a chance to be selected to the US National Amputee Hockey Team.  The Team will be competing in the first World Amputee Hockey Championships in Finland in May, 2003 during the IIHF World Hockey Championships.  The Co-Ed US Team played the Canadian National Team at an exhibition during the Winter Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City as part of the development process to make Amputee (Standing) Hockey a new sport for the Winter Games.

Youth amputee skaters from the Northeast and from around the country will also be on hand to participate in the weekend camp.  There will be dedicated ice-time for their programming on Saturday, October 26th at the Max Ulin Rink as well as the first Youth Game on Sunday, October 27th,  10:30 am at Salem State College against an able-bodied youth team from the Marblehead Youth Hockey Program.  As part of the off-ice activity the players will be going to see the Bruins take on the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night at the FleetCenter.  All the ice times and game on Sunday are free and open to the public.  Come on out and cheer on these amazing skaters.

The AAHA will also be hosting a fund-raising event on Friday night, October 25th, 7-10 pm at Boston Beer Works on 112 Canal Street, Boston.  The "Brew-AAHA" will be a fun evening of billiards, food and a special beer tasting for the ticketed guests with all proceeds going to support the US National and Youth Programs.  A member form the Boston Bruins will also be on hand to sign autographs. To get more information or make a reservation for this great event, log onto www.amputeehockey.org or call the AAHA office at 781-297-1393.

February 20, 2002

The Canadian National Amputee Hockey Team Showcase at the Paralympics, in Salt Lake on March 16, 2002.

Salt Lake City - Saturday, the day following two of the most exciting Paralympic sledge hockey medal games, USA won gold in shoot-outs and Canada lost bronze in shoot-outs, the Paralympic World Stage was entertained by a Showcase game of the next sport vying for a position on the Paralympic Program. Dr. David Crandell, President of the American Amputee Hockey Association (AAHA), and Brent Clemens, Chair of Canadian Amputee Hockey Committee (CAHC) made presentations to the International Paralympic Committee, IPC, via the newly named �Ice Hockey Assembly�, earlier this week. The �Ice Sport Assembly� was unanimously renamed to �Ice Hockey Assembly�, leaving the door open for Standing Hockey to complement Sledge Hockey in future Paralympics. The reception of the IPC is overwhelmingly positive, supporting standing hockey as a second hockey discipline in the future.

The US and Canadian National Amputee Hockey Teams made their trip to Salt Lake City, and added to the formal applications to make their case for the discipline of �Standing Ice Hockey� to become part of the Winter Paralympics along with Sledge Hockey, introduced as a medal sport in 1998. The US and Canadian Teams arrived in Salt Lake City in time to prepare for their game as well as cheer on their respective Paralympic Sledge Hockey Teams, at their medal games. The two teams played their �Showcase� game, on the last day of competition on Saturday, March 16, 2002. Canada went into the third period up 3-0, but turned on the offence in the third to finish the game, handily winning 8-0.

�I am extremely pleased with the weeks endeavours in Salt Lake City to grow the world the fastest sport on ice, in the Paralympics!� says Brent Clemens (Courtice, Ontario), also Team Captain of Team Canada. �We�ve accomplished so much working with the Americans over the past year, culminating by the presentations and game made here to the IPC.� By each team paying their own way to come and skate, �hope to get other hockey-loving nations to form teams to increase our chances of being a full-medal sport in the immediate future.� �This is a great fit for the Winter Games�, says Dr. David Crandell (Needham, Massachusetts) the AAHA�s main architect. �Because the level of play is so high, it�s great for the sport of hockey and creates new opportunities to grow the game for everyBODY!�

Clemens is also quite enthusiastic about the possibility of �Standing Ice Hockey� joining Sledge Ice Hockey as part of the Winter Paralympics. �We have an important advantage over other sports as hockey is played on ice, and can easily fit into the organizing committee�s current program.�

All contacts with the IPC and represented Paralympic Countries has been overwhelmingly positive�, states Clemens. Paul Rosen (Thornhill, Ontario), who plays goalie for the Canadian Sledge Team is also the Coach of the Standing Team. Rosen states, �The Canadian Paralympians, able to attend the showcase game, were talking with great excitement back at the village, in hopes of having another team in the Canadian Village, with such potential to lead the world. This sport has to go to the Paralympic Level. And, when it is recognized at that level, people all over the world will get to love the exciting game, as well. �

Watch for highlights from the game on CBC, March 24, 2002 @ 1130 p.m. For more information or if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the AAHA or the CAHC please visit their website, www.amputeehockey.org or www.canadianamputeehockey.ca

February 12, 2002

The US and Canadian National Amputee Hockey Teams to play Exhibition Game at the Winter Paralympics on March 16, 2002.

SALT LAKE CITY - the Wasatch Mountains and the ice sheets of the Salt Lake Basin will be the World Stage for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games this year. Athletes from around the globe will come to vie for medals, to be part of a larger community, and share the joy of representing their countries to the best of their abilities in a once-in-a-lifetime event. Other competitors are making their way to Salt Lake City to �demonstrate� their sports in the hopes that they too, will become part of the Olympic and Paralympic �Movement� while the respective key leadership take in their respective games. The US and Canadian National Amputee Hockey Teams are making the trip to Salt Lake City to make their case for the discipline of �Standing Ice Hockey� to become part of the Winter Paralympics along with Sledge Hockey, introduced as a medal sport in 1998. The two teams will play a �Showcase Exhibition� game on the last day of competition at 1 pm on Saturday, March 16, 2002 at the Steiner Ice Center adjacent to the University of Utah campus.

�We�re very excited about coming to Salt Lake City to show the world some great hockey!� says Brent Clemens (Courtice, Ontario) Team Captain and Chair of the Canadian Amputee Hockey Committee. �We�ve accomplished a lot working with the Americans over the past year,� and by each team paying their own way to come and skate, �hope to get other hockey-loving nations to form teams to increase our chances of being a full-medal sport in Turin, Italy in 2006.� �This is a great fit for the Winter Games�, says Dr. David Crandell (Needham, Massachusetts) the American Amputee Hockey Association�s (AAHA) main architect. �Because the level of play is so high, it�s great for the sport of hockey and creates new opportunities to grow the game for everyBODY!�

Crandell is also quite enthusiastic about the possibility of Standing Ice Hockey joining Sledge Ice Hockey as part of the Winter Paralympics. �We have the added advantage that hockey is played on ice, unlike Bridge!� which is trying to get into the Winter Olympics by having a tournament during the Olympics. �Having elite athletes making up both squads, is not a put-down on [the game of] bridge, where clearly the mental toughness, strategy and coolness under fire, makes for winners�, says Crandell. �Just ask my Mom! (an avid Duplicate player).

The US and Canadian Teams will arrive in Salt Lake City in time to prepare for their game as well as cheer on their respective Paralympic Sledge Hockey Teams which hope to be skating in the Medal Rounds on Friday, March 15th at the E-Center. Paul Rosen (Thornhill, Ontario), who plays back-up goalie for the Canadian Sledge Team is also the Coach of the Standing Team. �You know the adage�. everyday is a good day for hockey�, say Rosen who is happy to play a double role in Canada in the development of sport of hockey.

In addition to the Showcase Game, the US Team will be at the Steiner Ice Center Sunday morning, 9-11 am for an Ability Awareness Skate with a local youth team and an Open Skate Clinic at 10 am for those individuals with physical impairments who want to �get out on the ice and have some fun!�

For more information or if you would like directions to the Steiner Ice Center please visit the AAHA website, www.amputeehockey.org.

February 4, 2002

Amputee Hockey to stage First Championship in Lake Placid, February 19-24, 2002

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Every day is a great day for hockey! So, even in Lake Placid which has seen its share of great hockey moments, it is with great anticipation that this Olympic town hosts the First Amputee Hockey Championship, February 19-24, 2002. The US and Canadian National Amputee Teams will square off in a round robin series with Team Europe, comprised of talented players from Russia and Finland at the Olympic Center. The top two teams will advance to the Championship match on Saturday February 23 at 7:15 pm on the historic 1932 Rink. Team USA will also play their preliminary game against Team Canada at the Saranac Lake Civic Center on Thursday, February 21, with a 3:30 start. Prior to the game there will be a brief ceremony to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the first US and Canadian Amputee Game played there last January.

Rob Kasperek, a below-elbow amputee who hails from western NY, should find the ice hard and fast here in the Adirondacks, a slight change from his new home in south Florida. �What better way to spend a Winter Break than skating past those Tundra Dudes from Canada, Russia and Finland.� Kasparek will be joined on the US National Team by Bill Zabelny from the desert oasis of Henderson, Nevada who claims, �hockey knows no latitude!�

This international championship is being coordinated by the American Amputee Hockey Association (AAHA), a member of USA Hockey and recognized by the USOC and the International Paralympic Committee as leading the development of Standing (Amputee) Hockey for future Winter Paralympic Games. The US and Canada will be playing a Paralympic Showcase game on March 16, 2002 in Salt Lake City before the closing ceremonies of the Winter Games as part their efforts to become a full-medal sport for Turin, Italy in 2006.

The practices and games are open and free to the public. Team Europe will play Team Canada Wednesday, February 20 at 7 pm on the 1932 Rink at the Olympic Center. Team USA will play the Canadians at 3:30 pm at the Saranac Lake Civic Center on Thursday the 21st and Team Europe at 7:15 am on the USA Rink at the Olympic Center on Friday the 22nd. The top two teams will advance to the Championship game on the 1932 Rink at 7:15 pm on Saturday the 23rd. The medal ceremony will be in the Whiteface Room at the Olympic Center following Saturday night�s game. Please see practice schedule updates on the website www.amputeehockey.org or call the AAHA office at 781-297-1393.

US and Canadian National Amputee Hockey Teams to play in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs. While the Avalanche may be off to a slow start this season, two new hockey teams head into Colorado full blast. The US and Canadian National Amputee Hockey Teams will travel to Colorado Springs for a weekend training camp and competition November 29 - December 2, 2001. These two teams are fresh out of their respective selection camps and will meet for the first time this season for this Can - Am event. These National squads are set to meet again in Lake Placid in February in preparation of a possible World Cup showdown.

Every member of these teams is an upper or lower extremity amputee, playing on or with a prosthesis. Keen observers have been hard pressed to be able to tell which is which. Hockey fans are impressed by the level of play. �This ain�t no pond hockey, one-legged guys skating around stuff, � says Team captain Scott Wright [Waterford, Michigan], �there�s some real talent out here!�

Team USA members will be coming from throughout the Nation, representing ten different states. The two women members on the US Team, Heather Ewasiuk [St. Paul, MN] and Joanne Lukasik [Ortonville, MI] will be looking for their first win against the Canadians. Paul Martin, a below-knee amputee, will also be making the trip down Highway 25 from Boulder, where in addition to ice-time, he trains for triathalons. He heads into Colorado Springs after a �peak� performance at his fifth Hawaiian Ironman, finishing 613th of over 1500 plus abled-bodied starters.

The team practices and games are open and free of charge. The US and Canadian teams will skate on Friday November 30th at 1:15 - 3:15 at the World and Sertich Arenas, respectively. The teams will be playing between the second and third periods of the Gold Kings vs. Falcons game at the World Arena, starting at 7:05, followed by late-night action at 10:30 pm on Friday as well. Both the US and Canadian Teams will be skating at the Chapel Hill Mall from 12 noon to 1 pm on Saturday, December 1st as part of their Ability Awareness Program. The teams are encouraging skaters of all ages and abilities to check out the action and come see why �Hockey is for EveryBODY!� An updated schedule is available at www.amputeehockey.org or call the AAHA at (781) 297-1393.

U.S. National Amputee Hockey Selection Camp to be held in Boston, October 26-28th

Hockey is for everyBODY. This will be crystal clear when twenty-five skaters from throughout the United States come to Boston for a Hockey Weekend, October 25-28, 2001. These hockey players are upper and lower extremity amputees, men and women skating with and without prostheses, who will be coming from ten different states to take part in the Open Selection Camp for the US National Amputee Hockey Team. The team will be skating in Milton, Cambridge and Medford, Massachusetts during the weekend. Those players who qualify for the National Team will train at the Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs next month and Lake Placid in February in preparation of an International Hockey Tournament in Salt Lake City in March, in conjunction with the Winter Paralympics. The Amputee Hockey Program, developed by the American Amputee Hockey Association (AAHA) based in Stoughton, Massachusetts, is now its second year. This first camp of the 2001-2002 season has been supported in part by a grant from the USA Hockey Foundation, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Heather Ewasiuk, who is a straight A's defenseman for her St. Paul Minnesota, high school girls team, will be trying out for National Team after playing with the Team in Lake Placid, Washington, D.C and Toronto last season. "I have to take my college ACT tests on Saturday," says Heather, "but the ice-time schedule in Boston will let me do both!" Chris Cutter, an upper and lower extremity amputee and a Stoneham, Massachusetts native, returns from Michigan to skate in his first AAHA event. "I can't wait to skate back East in Massachusetts where I started skating at age 5". Mike Ginal former goalie at Harvard University, Class of 2000, returns from working in NY City and looks forward to "skating in Beantown," as well. Other local skaters include, Chris Komejko and Scott Harrington from Scituate, David Chandonnet from Easton and Mark Duffy from Medford. Two future hockey players from Nigeria will also be coming to Boston as international participants in the Camp. Gbenga Okuwoga and Adelaja Ogunlewe hope to learn the game and grow the sport for all in their country, with or without ice.

As part of the hockey weekend there will be a reception on Friday October 26th at12:45 pm at New England Sinai Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Stoughton, the home base for the AAHA. The local community will have the opportunity to meet the players and coaching staff prior to team members visiting patients undergoing their rehabilitation. Each of the ice-times will be open for public viewing: on Friday, October 26th at the MDC Max Ulin Rink in Milton, 8-10 am, on Saturday the 27th at the Milton Academy in Milton, 9-11 am and the MDC Simoni Rink in Cambridge, 5-7 pm, and on Sunday the 28th at the MDC Flynn Rink in Medford 9-10:45 am.  For complete details see www.amputeehockey.org or call Dr. David Crandell at 781-297-1393 for details.

US NATIONAL AMPUTEE HOCKEY TEAM TO PLAY FIRST GAMES IN CANADA

Another group of American hockey players is venturing North across the Border to take on the Canadians at their "National Game."  But this is no ordinary Can - Am event.  The US National Amputee Hockey Team will play the Canadian Team in the first-ever Amputee Hockey Games in Canada, May 26-27, 2001 in Thornhill, Ontario, just outside Toronto.  The Saturday evening game will feature a Winter Paralympic Preview of some of the best skaters in North America at the Thornhill Community Center, at 8 PM.

This Holiday Weekend Training Camp and Round-Robin tourney will bring to a close the exciting inaugural season of the American Amputee Hockey Association (AAHA), based in Stoughton , Massachusetts.  From the first National Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, to the further development of the US and Canadian teams, to the first International Amputee Tournament in Washington, D.C., there has been tremendous growth in the sport on both sides of the border and "across the pond."  The action-packed Can - Am event in Thornhill will also act as a catalyst for the organization of the first Amputee World Championships and a Winter Paralympic exhibition during the 2001 - 2002 season.

"It's been some roller-coaster ride," says Scott "Hollywood" Harrington, one of the USA's most seasoned international players.  "A year ago we were off to St. Petersburg to play the Russians and now off to Toronto.  I think after we even the score with the Canadians on their home ice, a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame will do nicely."
Indeed, at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, there will be a ceremony held honoring the first amputee hockey games.  Signed jerseys and game memorabilia from both Canadian and American teams will be added to the Hall of Fame collection.

The US will bring both men and women players from 13 states, including Joanne Lukasik, a bilateral below-knee amputee from Ortonville, Michigan who plays goalie.  Paul Buck from Fort Wayne, Indiana and Bob Kasperek, from Davie, Florida will join the US squad for the first time.  "Hockey is truly a National Game here in the US as well as Canada, says AAHA President Fred Snyderman.  "Our players truly put their disability on ice and make it happen for all Americans."

The AAHA is a non-profit sport organization founded in June, 2000 to develop opportunities for amputee and other disabled athletes to learn and play competitive ice hockey.  It is sanctioned by USA Hockey and Disabled Sports, USA to run developmental camps and elite clinics to promote the discipline of Standing Hockey for future World Championships and Winter Paralympic Games.  To learn more about the ICBL, the  USCBL and Ban Landmines Week visit: www.icbl.org and www.banminesusa.org.

 

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