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Boy’s family brings sled hockey to Charleston

Charleston Gazette courtesy photo Dan McCoy (right), a sled hockey Paralympic gold medalist, shows Bryson Dowdy (left) how to use his sled at an event in Wheeling. McCoy was impressed by the boy’s strength and athletic spirit.
Charleston Gazette courtesy photo
Dan McCoy (right), a sled hockey Paralympic gold medalist, shows Bryson Dowdy (left) how to use his sled at an event in Wheeling. McCoy was impressed by the boy’s strength and athletic spirit.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bryson Dowdy is pretty much your average first grade student.

The soon-to-be 8-year-old is a ball of energy. He plays baseball, tennis, flag football, karate and his favorite Ninja Turtle is definitely Donatello, no questions asked.

And when his wheelchair knocks into his grandmother’s coffee table, he just plows right through it, pushing it out of his way.

After two years of work, one of Bryson’s favorite sports, sled hockey, is coming to Charleston for at least a day.

The Memorial Ice Arena in South Charleston donated two hours of ice time from 9 to 11 a.m. on June 14 so kids and adults with physical disabilities like Bryson can try out sled hockey for the day.

His grandmother, Linda Street, said when she heard about sled hockey, she knew she had to get him on the ice.

“He’s pretty energetic,” Street said. “So we need to keep him busy.”

If enough people are interested in the sport, Street hopes Charleston can start a team.

Sled hockey follows almost all the same rules as regular hockey, except athletes ride a sled instead of standing. Players use two sticks with serrated edges to propel themselves across the ice.

There aren’t strict requirements to participate in the sport. Some athletes have cerebral palsy, some have had amputations and some, like Bryson, have spina bifida…

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