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Mid American Great Lakes League Sled Weekend a SUCCESS!
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – November 2010– The inaugural season for the Mid American Great Lakes (MAGL) Sled League kicked off this past weekend in Pittsburgh, PA. The Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey Organization hosted this first weekend of play between teams participating in the league including Grand Rapids Sled Wings, Michigan Sled Dogs, Ohio United, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Turnstone Flyers.
Recently sanctioned by USA Disabled Hockey, the league is the culmination of many years of hard work by volunteers, players and families. The league gives players the opportunity to compete on a regular basis and vie for a spot to compete in the National Championship on April 1-3 at the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in Blaine, Minnesota.
Saturday’s competition was held at Bladerunners Ice Complex in Harmar, PA. Sunday’s competition was held at Valley Sports Complex in New Kensington, PA.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Sled team included the following players: Kelsey DiClaudio (Pittsburgh), Cody Gray (Greensburg), Nevin Gray (Greensburg), Nick Halapchuk (Cheswick), Zach Harding (Jeannette), Dan Hefley (Wexford), Mike Kempka (Greensburg), Keefer Mansfield (Pittsburgh), Dan McCoy (Cheswick), Jonathan Stark (Pittsburgh), and Josh Wirt (Sarver).
The Pittsburgh team went undefeated for weekend and is currently in first place in the league.
The first game against the Grand Rapids Sled Wings ended with a 5-1 score. Pittsburgh goals were by N. Gray (2), McCoy (2), and Harding (1). Assists were by Wirt (2), Halapchuk (1), and McCoy (1).
Pittsburgh defeated the Michigan Sled Dogs in their second game with a score of 5-1. Nevin Gray scored a hat trick with three (3) goals and Dan McCoy had two (2) goals. Assists were by DiClaudio (2), Halapchuk (2), and Harding (1).
Pittsburgh’s third game against Fort Wayne ended with a score of 3-1. Scoring for Pittsburgh were Halapchuk (1), Mansfield (1) and Stark (1). Assists were by DiClaudio (1), Mansfield (1), and Stark (1).
Pittsburgh defeated Ohio United in their final game of the weekend with a score of 5-1. Dan McCoy had a hat trick with three (3) goals. Nevin Gray and Josh Wirt each scored one (1) goal. Stark had two (2) assists and McCoy had one (1).
The Pittsburgh Penguins Sled team competes on a national level, traveling to tournaments throughout the United States and Canada. With the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation’s support, they recently participated in the first annual USA Hockey Sled Classic presented by the NHL in Colorado (www.usahockey.com/Template_Usahockey.aspx?NAV=PL_05&id=293092).
In addition to the league games this weekend, the Mighty Penguins combined Junior/Novice team played an exhibition game against the Johnstown Sitting Bulls combined Junior/Novice team. The Mighty Penguins were defeated by a score of 1-0. Playing for the Mighty Penguins were Darrion Allensworth (Monesson), RJ Bird (Wexford), Alex Brown (Cranberry Twp), Harrison Burgess (Upper St. Clair), Emilee Butera (Beaver), Trent Clayton (Crescent), Floyd Gladman (McClellandtown), Mike Hunchar (Cheswick), Sarah Kleifgen (Pittsburgh), Joseph Leckenby (Pittsburgh), Braden Marree (Pittsburgh), Colin McGregor (Wexford), Dominic Ruperto (Verona), Danielle Ruzzi (South Park), Dominic Tarquinio (Pittsburgh), Nathan Zebrak (Tarentum).
Sled hockey provides physically disabled players with the opportunity to play competitive ice hockey. In the sport of sled hockey, each player balances just inches above the ice, strapped to a narrow sled with two blades beneath the seat, and propels himself along the ice with two specially designed mini-hockey sticks. In existence since 1998, the Mighty Penguins Sled Organization has developed National level players over the years. Team Captain Josh Wirt is a 2002 Paralympic Gold Medalist in sled hockey. Assistant Captain Dan McCoy is currently on the 2010 US Men’s National Team. Dan Hefley and Nevin Gray are currently on the Junior National team.
The Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey organization is registered this year as a United Way Contributor's Choice agency - 10622447.