By Lee Durocher
Wheelchair hockey is a sport played by everybody across this great nation of ours. There aren’t any leagues, or any superstars. The players just for the sheer love of the game and the players can copy their favourite players (be it defence or center or even a goalie) this sport is like shinny it’s all honour system. Wheelchair hockey is a sport with a history and some prestige but mostly it’s all about honour.
This history of this sport is it was in the Cerebral Palsy games and even did a stint in the Paralympics once. Each province had their team and each major city had a team. These teams weren’t sponsored, they only why a player would get sponsorship is if he or she the national teams. Which was good for the player – he or she had gear. That’s a bit of history of wheelchair hockey – the prestige part about wheelchair hockey was in the Paralympics and the players had something to play for other than pride – which was good from a player’s aspect.
Speaking from a player’s aspect I have played during the years of prestige – I had the honour to wear the red maple leaf but it was during the Boycott in 1980 in L.A. I also played for the sheer love of the game on a team – it was like shinny. Due to the lack of interest the prestige died out this in turn was one of the things that caused the end of wheelchair hockey in the Paralympics. I played for a rec team for a few years I decided to quit. Now I’m between the pipes in my backyard facing my niece – that’s what I call fun. I still wish wheelchair hockey had the prestige it had. Not for me though but for younger generation.
The younger generation has nothing to really play for: No provincials – no nationals, and no Paralympics. They play for pride and that’s it – the teams are nothing more than bear league teams which are too bad – because some of the players on those teams are pretty good they could make any national squad easy. The younger generation has nothing which is sad for the sport.
The sport of wheelchair hockey has gone from the prestige of a possible Paralympic sport to a rec sport. Which is killing the sport, and these organizations don’t even know it. The sport which I so proudly played is slowly going to be extinct soon. Already the Paralympics have forgotten about it – it’s like the forgotten sport.
In conclusion wheelchair hockey shouldn’t ever be forgotten this way – there are many different community programs from a WHL teams in cities. They could help this sport survive and bring this sport back to the prestige as it were. But for now wheelchair hockey is on the way to extinction like the Dinosaurs which is sad to say about a sport which was held in such prestige and glory.