GLENDALE – Glendale native Josh Sweeney dropped the ceremonial first puck at Saturday’s game between the Coyotes and the Minnesota Wild at Jobing.com Arena.
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
Sweeney, 27, scored the game-winning goal for Team USA's sled team in the gold medal game at the recent Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. The U.S. beat Russia, 1-0.
"It's an amazing accomplishment," Sweeney said. "I'm still just shocked and almost in awe that it happened. I never thought it'd be something that would happen to me... After the game, I looked up at the scoreboard and I was like, 'Wow, that's it. I was the only one that scored.' That's pretty cool."
Sweeney, a retired Marine Corps sergeant, became a bilateral amputee after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan in October of 2009. For his sacrifice in combat, Sweeney received a Purple Heart.
An able-bodied hockey player throughout his days at Ironwood High School in Glendale, Sweeney was immediately drawn to sled hockey during his rehabilitation.
Sweeney said Saturday wasn't the first time he was on the ice at Jobing.com Arena. During the NHL lockout in 2005-05, he played a high school game at the rink.