US Sled Hockey Team Teaches Vets

December 11, 2011 Updated Dec 11, 2011 at 9:52 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

December 11, 2011 Updated Dec 11, 2011 at 9:52 PM EDT

Buffalo (WKBW) Sunday on the ice at the First Niagara Center, members of the US National Sled Hockey team held a clinic for local veterans who were injured in the line of duty.

"To be able to get them on the ice and have them enjoy themselves again and take part in a team sport, and the camaraderie and all those things, to be able to facilitate that, obviously it's a great feeling," Norm Page of USA Sled Hockey said.

Those involved not only got a chance to get together and compete, but also take part in athletic therapy for both body and mind.

"It's really important because it gives you that feeling back, prior to your injury. You don't even think you have an injury anymore, you forget all about it," Veteran and sled hockey player Mark Dunford said.

"It brings them back to normalcy in the fact that they get to get on the ice and compete together. And there are no barriers, because they're all on a sled, all participating in the same manner," Pam Kaznowski of VA Western New York Healthcare said.

The added bonus for veterans was getting to play on the Sabres home ice.

"I've been a Sabres fan all my life. I've had season tickets for the Sabres for twenty years. And I've always watched it from up top. To get on the ice, and play on the ice where all your heroes played and the guys you watched is really exciting," Dunford said.

Organizers say the event was planned to give veterans a chance to learn and play sled hockey, but also to thank them for all they have done for this country.

"Those of us that have been involved in this program today feel it's so important to give them opportunities again, to get them back into life, back to socializing and just helping them any way we can" Norm Page said.

"Bringing our veterans into this is another way to show that we care about our veterans and serving them," Pam Kaznowski added.