Ducks to host 2022 USA Hockey Sled Classic at Great Park Ice
The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club will host the 12th Annual USA Hockey Sled Classic presented by the NHL taking place at Great Park Ice and FivePoint Arena in Irvine November 17-20. The four-day tournament, hosted by the Ducks for the first time, features 279 skaters from 23 sledge hockey teams across the United States and Canada. First held in 2010, the first Luge Classic featured four teams and 46 players. This will be the first time a West Coast-based NHL team has been selected to host the Luge Classic. The event is open to the public and free with an option to donate to local sledding programs.
Opened in 2019, Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena was built to host a variety of ice sports, including sledge hockey. All four rinks at Great Park Ice are sled accessible, allowing players to stay in their sleds and skate off the ice to the bench. Since the rink opened, the facility has hosted numerous Try Sled Hockey for free events where attendees are provided with all the sledge hockey equipment needed to play the sport. In 2019, the Ducks hosted a two-day sledge hockey festival where four adult teams and three youth clubs competed in exhibition games. Additionally, the festival included a Learn to Play Warrior Hockey session, designed to create playing opportunities for former and current injured and disabled members of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard). ).
The San Diego Ducks sledge hockey team based at The Rinks – Poway Ice will represent the Anaheim Ducks. Ahead of the Sled Classic, Ducks sledge hockey team captain and United States Women’s National Team member Sarah Bettencourt will be joined by Ducks teammate Aaron Loy to participate in the celebratory ceremony. puck drop tomorrow, November 12 as the Anaheim Ducks. will face the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center (7 p.m.). Additionally, the San Diego Ducks sledge hockey team will join the Anaheim Ducks for practice beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 at Great Park Ice. Ducks sledge hockey team captain Sarah Bettencourt will demonstrate the basics of sledge hockey, including building a sledge from scratch and showing Anaheim Ducks players the art of playing hockey in a sledge.
The tournament will consist of five divisions with pool games beginning Thursday, November 17 at 4 p.m. The championship games for each respective division will take place on Sunday, November 20 at Great Park Ice. Teams participating in the tournament must have an official affiliation with an NHL club and will represent their affiliated club by wearing official, licensed NHL jerseys with local club markings and logos. Sixteen NHL clubs will be represented at this year’s Luge Classic, including Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche , Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Seattle Kraken, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights and Washington Capitals. In 2021, the New Jersey Devils hosted the event, which featured 27 teams from five divisions competing at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, New Jersey. The Chicago Blackhawks sled program was crowned Tier I champion, while the Pittsburgh Penguins won Tier II, the Columbus Blue Jackets won Tier III, the Vegas Golden Knights earned Tier IV and the New York Islanders won the Tier V title.
Among the competitors are nine players from the United States Women’s National Sledge Hockey Team who won gold at the 2022 World Para Ice Hockey Women’s World Challenge in August. Sarah Bettencourt (Anaheim Ducks), Lera Doederlein (Anaheim Ducks), Cathrine Faherty (Boston Bruins), Rachel Grusse (Philadelphia Flyers), Kaden Herchenroether (Pittsburgh Penguins), Robynne Hill (Colorado Avalanche), Erica McKee (Chicago Blackhawks), Monica Quimby (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Gabby Wake (Philadelphia Flyers) will represent their respective clubs in the tournament. Additionally, 13 players from the USA Men’s National Luge Team and 14 skaters from the USA Men’s Development Team are set to compete in the Luge Classic.
Sarah Bettencourt is the founder and director of hockey operations, manager of the adult team and captain of the Ducks sled hockey team. In 2014, Bettencourt, then a captain in the United States Marine Corps, was forced into retirement due to permanent neurological damage she suffered while training as a helicopter pilot. After retiring from service, Bettencourt fell in love with sledge hockey and dedicated herself to helping athletes with disabilities learn the sport. The 2016 USA Hockey Disabled Athlete of the Year recipient, Sarah Bettencourt represents the United States in multiple sports as co-captain of the 2022 U.S. Para-Surf Team, in addition to being member of the USA women’s sledge hockey team.
Paralympian and former 21st Duck Lera Doederlein will also represent the Ducks sledge hockey team at the Sledge Classic. In 2019, Doederlein was named the 21st Duck by the Anaheim Ducks, an honor given to someone who exemplifies perseverance, character and courage. Born in Russia with a birth defect called arthrogryposis, which affects lower limb mobility, Doederlein opted for surgery in 2017, undergoing bilateral knee disarticulation and becoming a double amputee at the age of 14. Since her surgery, Doederlein has become an elite multi-sport athlete as a member of the USA Women’s Sledge Hockey Team in addition to representing Team USA at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Nordic skiing. and in biathlon.
Fans can follow throughout the weekend on the Sled Classic homepage. Use the #SledClassic hashtag to join the tournament conversation on social media. For the latest news on USA Hockey’s Disabled Hockey Program, including information on the sport’s six disciplines, visit the Disabled Hockey section of USAHockey.com. For more information on the sport of sledge hockey, visit the Sledge Hockey section of USAHockey.com.