Adversity is not something that would really hinder the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team. With a roster built of various players who have seen life deprive them of limbs, the members of the team have seen an obstacle or two. Yet, somewhere along the line, the hockey rink still called to them. Attached to a sled, they might not get to stride down a wing with the fluidity of Chris Kreider, but they still know how to carve up a sheet of ice.
In principle, sled hockey resembles the hockey we are all accustomed to watching on TV. Put the puck in the net more than the opposing team. It’s played on the same surface, with basically the same dimensions, but the few nuances do, of course, present a challenge. Chief among them is that, since the legs are immobilized, sled hockey is a game of arm strength. "The game is, honestly, played pretty similar," noted Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.), one of two teenagers on this year’s Paralympic team, but also the mammoth force at 6-foot-4 inches. "There’s, obviously, a couple tweaks with positioning and stuff like that ‘cause you can’t skate backward. The biggest thing is probably you have to skate and shoot and stickhandle with your hands. You kind of need to find that balance and that rhythm."