SKANEATELES, NY (WSYR-TV) - The CNY Flyers and Wounded Warriors from Buffalo faced off in a sled hockey game in Skaneateles on Saturday. The sport is designed to allow men and women who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey.
One of those participants on Saturday night was Erik Ryan, who lives with a neurological disorder called Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus. He typically uses a wheelchair or crutches to get around, but that didn’t stop him from joining the CNY Flyers.
Sled hockey takes a great deal of upper body strength and physical and mental endurance, but the moment players like Ryan hit the ice, they know it’s worth it.
“It’s an amazing feeling. Your heart pounds, the music is playing and there are people in the stands, it’s as authentic as it can get right now, its amazing,” said Ryan.
The CNY Flyers opponent on Saturday was the Wounded Warriors from Buffalo. For Wounded Warrior Kathleen Garvey, there is nothing like being out on the ice.
“When you have injuries and you get incapacitated, you get a little down because you gain weight, you can't move like you used to and out there I skate like the wind,” said Garvey.
“Skating like the wind” is exactly what Garvey as she helped the Wounded Warriors to victory.
"I've been playing two years. Last year I played defense and this year was my first time playing left wing and it was my first goal and it’s like, I'm beaming. It’s amazing to play with these guys, they come out here and they're willing to try anything,” said Garvey.
Both teams hope their stories will inspire others to do the same.