ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Blade Runners are the only team of its kind in the state of New Mexico, as they play hockey, but in a different way. They are the only sled hockey team in the state, and the only difference between regular hockey and sled hockey is that these guys are playing inches away from the ice.
“It’s fast, freeing, you know that you are not encumbered by some of the challenges that comes with disabilities. A lot people who think their hockey days are over can still come out and get in a sled and enjoy it,” said New Mexico Blade Runners Defender and Coach Tom East.
This team was started just about two years ago. They love the sport, the speed, the agility needed, and of course the physicality.
“I mean, you can’t T-bone people, you can’t just run straight into them. You know stuff to keep people kind of safe, but it’s still hockey. You got to push people up against the glass,” said Blade Runners Right Wing Sebastian Rael.
The team is now getting ready for their first national tournament. It’s the biggest of its kind and is held just once a year.
“It’s the National Disabled Hockey Festival. They have it once a year and they have adult sled hockey, they have stand up hockey for amputees, and then they also have hockey for the blind,” said East.
The tournament is running April 6 through April 9 in San Jose, California. While this team hasn’t played as long as some of the other teams going, they have the athletes, the smarts and are not lacking the confidence.
“We are going to go crush everybody. There is no question about it, we are going to crush everybody,” said Rael.
To find out more on how to help with this league, which always needs sponsors and donations, you can contact Joe Hanson at (505) 401-3652.
The sled hockey community is also starting signups for their kid’s summer program. Joe Hanson will have all those details as well.