VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - It’s 6:30 a.m. and the Virginia Beach Hockey Club is fast at it. Ice time at Iceland is precious.
Soon to hit the ice is Laurie Wood, who grew up playing hockey with her brothers.
"It’s just a way of life in upstate New York," she said.
But today’s game is different for Laurie. She takes to the ice in a sled, sitting down. The former Sheriff’s deputy’s life changed in an instant last year.
"I was an academy instructor, and during training I fell about 30 feet and broke my back," she explained.
Laurie lost the use of her legs.
Same for Shawn Rombousek. Four years ago, Shawn never saw it coming.
"I was working on my truck in the driveway when it rolled over me and bent me in half and broke my spine," said Rombousek.
Shawn cannot move his body from the waist down, but thanks to the Virginia Beach Hockey Club, Shawn and Laurie can still play ice hockey.
Ryan Crowley is the director of the Virginia Beach Hockey Club. His mission is simply to provide access to the sport of hockey.
"We take people who have a high level of hockey and beginners along with people with handicaps and put them on the ice together. We are out here with a common goal and that is to play the game of hockey and promote the sport,” said Crowley.
Propelled with your arms or by being pushed, the sport has its challenges.
"It’s like skating on your butt. It takes a great deal of core strength."
The club has been around now for about a year. Through a grant from USA Hockey and several generous donors, the club has purchased seven sleds, which cost about $1,000 each. A costly endeavor, which is priceless when put to use.
From the instructors to the participants, a session on the ice remains the same for those who love the game of hockey.
"This is therapy for us. It makes us want to get out of bed and help others.”
For more information about the Virginia Beach Hockey Club, visit virginiabeachhockeyclub.com.
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