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Griffins and Sled Wings to Throw Down in Ninth Annual Sled Hockey Game

February 13, 2014 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Grand Rapids Griffins News Release

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Sled Wings will face off in their ninth annual sled hockey game on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Griff's IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE).

The two sled hockey squads will be comprised of players from both the Griffins and the Sled Wings, with the Griffins' Jeff Hoggan and the Sled Wings' Tyler Anderson serving as captains.

The doors will open at 5 p.m. Prior to the game, fans can try out a sled on the ice for a minimum $1 donation (5:15-6:15 p.m.) and get autographs from their favorite Griffins players (5:30-6:15 p.m.). The game will consist of two 20-minute periods with a running clock.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 per person or $20 per family, while children 2 and younger are free. All proceeds from the evening will benefit the Sled Wings program and the Griffins Youth Foundation. Click here to watch a video from last season's game.

The Sled Wings, a talented team of children and adults who have physical disabilities, are sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. They became the first junior-level sled hockey team in Michigan upon their founding in 2001, and they have gained a national reputation by winning various prestigious tournaments and continuing to develop high-caliber players. Anderson (2009-12 and 2013-14), Robert Thrailkill Jr. (2013-14) and Chris Melton (2010-11) have all played for the U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team, and Susie Kluting is in her third season as a member of the U.S. Women's Sled Hockey Team.

The ninth annual sled hockey game is sponsored in part by Centennial Securities and the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation.

Sled hockey rules are virtually identical to traditional hockey, except participants sit on bladed sleds. Players use shortened hockey sticks with a blade on one end and a pick (similar to a toe-pick on a figure skate) on the other end, which enables them to propel themselves across the ice. As in traditional hockey, checking, penalties and hard slap shots are all abundant in sled hockey.

Sled hockey made its Paralympics debut in 1994. It originated in Sweden in 1940 and was introduced in the United States in 1989, with the first team based in Minnesota.

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