By Gary Curreri, Sun-Sentinel Special Correspondent
Garrett Mayersohn wore an ear-to-ear smile as he recently participated in a hockey clinic with a unique twist at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs.
"This is awesome," said Mayersohn, 17, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School. "I am a diehard hockey fan, and now that I know this (form of the sport) exists, I am going to be involved."
The Parkland resident was referring to sled hockey. This version of the sport goes much deeper than just gliding across the ice on what is normally used on slopes covered with snow — sled hockey can have a dramatic impact on participants' lives.
Mayersohn was one of 15 participants in a sled hockey clinic on Sept. 30. The instruction is a joint venture of the Florida Panthers Foundation and the Florida JR. Panthers youth hockey program in Coral Springs.
Organizers hope the clinic's success will lead to a team playing out of the Saveology.com Iceplex against existing squads from Fort Myers, Rockledge and Tampa.
Sled hockey was developed at a rehab clinic in Stockholm, Sweden, during the mid 1960s. It offers those with physical disabilities an opportunity to play competitive hockey.
Several National Hockey League clubs are fielding sled hockey teams and promoting the sport. The Florida Panthers are among those organizations.