The New York Islanders Children's Foundation was happy to provide $1,218 to the Long Island Sled Hockey, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing physically and mentally disabled athletes with an opportunity to play hockey. The Bellmore-Merrick Bulldogs played against the Long Island Rough Riders at Newbridge Arena in Bellmore, to a packed crowd. Students, friends, and families were in attendance, along with local officials from Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead. One of the players on the Rough Riders, Dylan Hronec, goes to Mepham High School, and has cerebral palsy. He is an avid Islanders fan, and the Children's Foundation was happy to present Dylan with a personalized jersey.
The talent level of the Rough Riders was impressive. Sled hockey requires an immense amount of skill, as much, if not more, than playing ice hockey. The hockey sticks are cut down, and they have small clamps on the butt-end in order to grip the ice and propel yourself. Effective puck handling requires an immense amount of skill, as you need to use your sticks to move the sled and control the puck. Players were moving with artistic agility. The captain of the Rough Riders moved as fast as any player skating on two legs!
In regards to the game, the Rough Riders prevailed 7-1. They were too fast and agile for the Bulldogs. It was a great sight to see, players of two different sports converging in one great event. It takes a special organization to attempt to play a sport they have minimal experience and training in, and the Bellmore-Merrick students should be congratulated, not just for their effort on the ice, but for their willingness to help such an exciting cause. Hockey is a sport that anyone can enjoy, and with Long Island Sled Hockey, everyone on Long Island has the opportunity to play.