U.S. Gold Medal Winning Sled Hockey Team Training In WNY

4:14 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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Amherst, N.Y. - You could say that three members of the U.S.A. Sled Hockey are practicing on home ice this week at the Northtowns Center in Amherst as they prepare for this year's world championships.

They're from Western New York and you can definitely call all three of them survivors.

Adam Page of Lancaster was born with Spina Bifida and beat the odds to live.

Paul Schaus of North Tonawanda, lost both of his legs to a land mine while serving in Afghanistan.

And Al Salamone of Grand Island was born in the Ukraine 14 months after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and had both of his legs amputated as a young boy.

This is Paul Schaus' first year with the national team, he spent 18 months recovering from his wounds at Walter Reed hospital in Washington.

Scott Brown: "When you first got hurt, could you have ever imagined you'd be playing hockey on a national level?"

Paul Schaus: "Oh no,when you first get hurt you're in the hospital thinking your life is over. Then you see hockey and it's the same thing - I grew up playing hockey so it's just getting out there, smelling the ice, feeling the puck again. It's great."

Adam Page was just 17 years old when he won a gold medal as a member of the Sled Hockey team at the Paralympics in Vancouver. After the games, he came back home to finish his senior year at St. Mary's High School in Lancaster.

Scott Brown: "Do you think about the example you guys set for kids who have disabilities?"

Adam Page: "Yeah that's something that our coaches always stress to us, is you're role models for the junior program and for little guys starting to play the game. They look up to you and think it's the coolest thing that you're playing for Team USA."

The U.S. Team is on quite a streak - it first won the World Championship in 2009, followed that up with the gold a year later at the Paralympics and last year won the world championship in Norway.

This year's upcoming world championships will determine the seedings for the 2014 Olympics in Russia, which will be the first time Al Salamone has been there since he was adopted by a Grand Island couple when he was six years old.

Scott Brown: "Is it going to be any more special for you going back to Russia for the games next year?"

Al Salamone: "Yeah, yeah I just got goose bumps thinking about it. It really is because that's the full circle. I think it's important to realize that where I came from is still a part of me."

The team will practice twice a day at the Northtowns Center through Saturday, the world championships begin in about two weeks in South Korea.

The U.S. Is the favorite to keep its gold medal streak going for another year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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