SAN JOSE - On April 6-9, Sharks Sports & Entertainment's Solar4America Ice at San Jose and Fremont are hosting the 13th annual USA Disabled Hockey Festival. The festival is the largest disabled hockey event of its kind, bringing together all of the disabled hockey disciplines in one location with athletes from across the country- including teams from Alaska, Massachusetts and Texas.
"We are excited and honored to host such a prestigious event as the USA Disabled Hockey Festival," said Sharks Sports and Entertainment Vice President Jon Gustafson. "We have hosted a number of national tournaments for USA Hockey and have been interested in participating in this one for some time. Hopefully by bringing this event to San Jose, it will foster the growth of a number of different hockey disciplines moving forward."
The mission of the festival is to provide a fun and exciting weekend of hockey for these incredible athletes in a grand event as well as promote and grow disabled hockey throughout the Bay Area and around the country. Net proceeds from the festival will go to fund an Adaptive Legacy hockey program through the Sharks Foundation that serves the greater Bay Area.
"We're really trying to promote the accessibility of adaptive sports," said 2017 USA Disabled Hockey Festival Chair Kellie Hays. "There's no entry fee for people to get in to see any of the games. We really just want people to come through the doors and experience adaptive hockey for the first time."
Solar4America Ice at San Jose and Fremont will host 119 games during the festival. A total of 780 athletes, spread across 63 teams, are expected to compete in the following categories:
- Sled Hockey
- Standing Amputee/Wounded Warrior
- Special Hockey (youth and adult)
- Blind/Visually impaired
Many members of the United States National Sled Hockey Team will be present and competing in the events.
The USA Disabled Hockey Festival is expected to bring thousands of visitors to San Jose and the greater Bay Area, creating a large-scale economic opportunity for local hotels and restaurants and business owners. More than 2,000 hotel rooms are expected to be booked for this event.
Sharks Sports & Entertainment's Solar4America Ice at San Jose is the official practice facility of the NHL's San Jose Sharks. The state-of-the-art facility is the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi and is one of only seven rink facilities in the United States that currently operates at least four NHL-sized ice rinks. Solar4America Ice at San Jose, along with Solar4America Ice at Fremont, currently boasts the largest number of adult USA Hockey participants (2,400) of any facility in the United States. It is open 364 days a year from 5:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. and welcomed 1.5 million customers to its facilities last year.
For more information on Solar4America Ice, please visit http://www.solar4americaice.com. For further information on the USA Disabled Hockey Festival, please visit http://www.usahockey.com/2017disabledhockeyfestival.