Local Hockey Player on Ice During Quake

March 29, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 12:47 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

...
March 29, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 12:47 PM EDT

Amherst, NY (WKBW) - United States Paralympics Sled Hockey National Team Member Alexi Salamone, recounts competing in Japan when the quake hit the country. Salamone and his team were competing in Nagano, which is about 3 hours away from the quake's epicenter.

"There was one second left in my penalty and I was about to get out of box," said Salamone. "I sat in the box, and my body and eyes were swaying. A couple minutes later the Japanese officials came out, looking up at the Jumbotron. They watched it sway."

Salamone says there was minimal damage in Nagano and the game resumed shortly after. His team realized the magnitude of the quake's damage following the game, since information at first was very limited.

"We didn't know where to go, didn't know the language, It was hard for us to get around," recounts Salamone. "Thankfully, our host was a tremendous help during the whole thing. But for us, we're hockey players, not super heros so we were scared."

The team was able to fly out of Tokyo, and Salamone says they are now very close to the Japanese team. Salamone is also a member of the Buffalo Sled Hockey Team, and will travel this weekend to Minnesota to compete in the first ever Adult Hockey National Championship.