San Antonio Rampage Sled Hockey player Josh Sweeney will receive the inaugural Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2014 ESPY Awards airing on Wednesday, July 16th.
A retired Marine Sergeant, Sweeney lost both of his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan in October 2009. He scored the game-winning goal to give the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team a 1-0 win over Russia in the gold-medal game at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi.
In April, he led the Rampage Sled Hockey Team to its first national championship at the 2014 Sled Hockey National Tournament. Sweeney finished with a tournament-high 13 points, including a hat trick in the team’s 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey Team in the semifinals. He also assisted on all three goals in the championship.
The Pat Tillman Award for Service is being presented at the ESPYS in conjunction with the Pat Tillman Foundation, which invests in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships. Tillman left the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army’s Elite Rangers unit and was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004.
The Pat Tillman Award will join the show’s longstanding signature awards named in honor of Jim Valvano and Arthur Ashe, awards that recognize athletes and others in the industry whose impact reaches beyond sports. ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott, who has battled cancer and continues to receive treatment, will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, and Michael Sam, who recently became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, will be presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
The Florida Panthers held a meet and greet with the San Antonio Sled Hockey Team last September. See more here.