Last Saturday (5/13/17) the western coastal town of Aguadilla was introduced to the “Ice age” and Boricuas (From the Taíno name for Puerto Rico) of all ages and physical abilities were introduced to hockey at the Ocean Front Arena at our ‘Grow the Game’ tour. There were over 30 skaters and many more that came to watch or help out. It was followed by a street hockey clinic at the adjoining park for those who wanted to simply enjoy the sport without having to skate.
The event was sponsored by the Municipality of Aguadilla, Hockey Puerto Rico, and The Florida Sled Hockey Association. Hockey clinics and demos instructed by players and Coaches of the Florida Sled Bandits, USA Hockey, along with equipment for floor Hockey donated by the Florida Panthers of the NHL.
Without help in shipping and transportation from FedEx and JetBlue this event could not have happened. As part of this unique event, Florida Sledhockey Assoc. and also donated 2 refurbished hockey nets over 15-20 sets of gear for Sled hockey, stand up and Florida Panthers 60 pieces of equipment for floor hockey (all shipped by FedEx) to ensure Puerto Rico will have some equipment and instruction to get started in becoming part of the rich culture of Island sports. This was the largest group of skating athletes in the history of the Caribbean, and for the first time, athletes traveled to Puerto Rico to practice winter sports, with an emphasis on the disabled sport of Sled Hockey. There were boys’ and girls’ clinics as well as sled hockey for the disabled who played in specially designed sleds and sticks.
Florida Sled bandits / USA Paralympics Gold medal winner Greg Shaw and Florida Sled Bandits / USA National Women's Sled team players Monica Quimby and Karina Villegas lent a hand to offer instruction as well as signing posters, pictures and Greg displaying Gold Medals from Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. Greg, who has played in over 15 countries, told me: ‘This is unbelievable I went scuba diving, surfed, played hockey and still had time to explore the Island and meet the locals. When people find out about this event, it will quickly become a destination everyone will want to experience. There’s nowhere else like it.’
Hockey PUR Hosts ‘Grow the Game’ Tour in Aguadilla Puerto Rico to
Promote the Sport Islandwide story by Phil Painter Hockey Puerto Rico
Local Boxer Edwin Alberto Gomez Medina was also around with his family to check (no pun intended) out this new sport to the Island, and they were the first on the Ice and last to leave. Edwin came with his sons smiling and asked: ‘When is the next event? This is our new favorite sport!’ There were boys and girls as young as 6-years-old and adults in their 60’s that were all part of the festivities. Spanish, English, French and Swedish were all heard in a cornucopia of cultures. Our dinner guests were a brilliant vision of how the world really enjoys everything
Puerto Rico has to offer.
The disabled Veterans of the Island were also a part of the festivities via a ‘USA
Warriors’ group from San Juan who came 3 hrs. to try Hockey, floor Hockey and Sled Hockey and were hooked and are planning on making it a regular activity.
As the Island undergoes our transformation into the future, events like this can only offer potential into how we can continue to create options that only Puerto Rico can offer. After the success of our first exhibition-the writing is on the wall. Hockey is here to stay!
We’d like to thank our sponsors, and especially Aguadilla Mayor Carlos Méndez for the use of the Aguadilla facility, and his staff that went above and beyond to make sure everything went smoothly.
Florida Sled Hockey gives a special thanks to some special people!
Villa Cofresi Hotel 5 star staff !!!
Taino Divers and Shipwreck Bar
Grill 5 star crew !!!
For further Info and upcoming events;
Hockey PUR on Facebook is your webpage portal and Flsledhockey on Facebook.
Quote of the event “ I have always love hockey but never got a chance to try it !” 9 year old first timer !!!