Buffalo NY March 20-22 hosted the annual USA disabled hockey festival for Sled, Special, Standing Amputee, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing hockey. The Washington Ice Dogs Special Hockey A team traveled up north to join the games one month before tentatively traveling to the SHI Heart League tournament in Toronto, Canada.
The Rochester Ice Cats and Michigan Far Flyers A team joined the Ice Dogs in the top special hockey bracket that weekend. Unlike sled, amputee, and hearing impaired hockey, there are no championships in special hockey based on the teams who win the most games, although USA Hockey Disabled section Chairperson JJ O’Connor gave each player on ever team a tournament medal after their last game. Ice Dog player Andrew Rouff received special recognition after the last game being given the game puck by game officials.
Game 1 and 4 against Rochester were a ton of fun for the Ice Dogs scoring goals and playing good defense which gave Rochester a huge challenge, and brought the Ice Dogs joy to a margin of victory that they would find at any other hockey event. The Michigan Far Flyers were more of a friendly match for the Ice Dogs to play against due to limited roughness. In two straight games against Michigan, the fans enjoyed it. Game 2-Ice Dogs 2 Far Flyers 1. The Ice Dogs went ahead early and held a 2-goal advantage for most of the game until the Far Flyers rallied with a goal in the closing minutes. Game 3: Ice Dogs 9, Far Flyers 7.
The game was tied at 7-7 in the closing minutes, and the Ice Dogs never gave up. The Ice Dogs overall performance was spectacular with an impressive 31-13 margin of victory throughout the festival. This was the first time in history that the Ice Dogs finished with a tournament record of 4-0.
Be sure to confirm your travel and reserve your hotel room for more exciting games in Toronto, CA April 16-18.
Story by Sam Smith #99