North Dakota coach leads US Paralympics sled hockey team
BOTTINEAU, N.D. (AP) — While U.S. teams compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, a North Dakota coach is preparing another U.S. team for a different Olympic competition, the Paralympic Winter Games.
David Hoff of Bottineau is an assistant coach training the 2018 U.S. Paralympics sled hockey team in Chicago, the Minot Daily News reported . This year’s Paralympic Winter Games will be held March 9-18 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Sled hockey is played like traditional hockey except the sleds don’t have backward movement.
Hoff first became involved in sled hockey eight years ago when he was asked to help out at a camp for children with disabilities.
Hoff said the team is comprised of players from across the country and includes military veterans, players who lost legs from cancer and others who are disabled due to birth conditions or trauma events.
“We have guys who really had no background in hockey,” Hoff said. “Part of the rehabilitation was to get these guys introduced to things that can help them function in life and provide activity.”
He said his players show camaraderie associated with a love for the sport and shared disability.
“They have probably gone through the same physical and emotional struggles. It’s good to be around others who understand what you are going through,” Hoff said. “They are no different than any team who spends time with each other. They really like each other.”
Hoff said there’s confidence that comes from being around the players, who are the best in the world at the sport.
Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com