‘Ice Warriors’ in Sochi
March 8, 2014 Leave a Comment
The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games began in Sochi yesterday, and all week NPR listeners have heard stories of the athletes’ journeys to the games. On Morning Edition friday, NPR featured men who participate in one of the games’ most intense team sports, sled hockey – also known as “murder ball on ice.”
The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team includes several veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sled (or sledge) hockey and the Paralympics have roots in another war era.
Video: Sled Hockey 101
During World War II, a movement to “assist the large number of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during wartime” gained momentum, culminating in the first Paralympic Winter Games, held in Sweden in 1976. (Visit paralympics.org for more history.)
Some 70 years later, the Paralympics continue to provide support and rehabilitation for war veterans. On the U.S. sled hockey team, there’s even an all-veteran line of players.
You can get to know each one of them, including two of the veterans featured on NPR – Josh Sweeney, a marine who was injured in Afghanistan, and army veteran Rico Roman – in the PBS documentary Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey.
Originally broadcast in February, Ice Warriors is streaming free online throughout the 2014 Paralympics. Watch now to get a primer on the sport and to dive deeper into the athletes’ stories. You can also see the team in action via NBC’s live coverage of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Head to nbc.com for schedule information.