Hotwheels vs. 101 Mobility® play adaptive hockey.
Power wheelchair hockey is a form of adaptable street hockey in which all players use a wheelchair or power chair. Power wheelchair hockey provides a physical and competitive outlet for people with Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy and Autism among other disabilities. I recently had the opportunity to play against a local team founded by Hoggard High School Senior, Justin Verzaal, who also captains the team. Since the ‘Hotwheels’ inception, their players are undefeated and have beat the local Fire Department, Police Department and the Hoggard HS Baseball Team. I played against Hotwheels along with coworkers from 101 Mobility®, a national franchisor located here in Wilmington. Powerchair Hockey has an “only wheels on the court” rule, whether you need a wheelchair or not.
As one of the 101 Mobility® hockey players, I learned that it wasn’t easy trying to maneuver a manual wheelchair especially when you are carrying a hockey stick and trying to use a wheelchair at the same time. I used my knees to hold onto the stick while pushing the wheelchair wheel handles to move forward, backward, left, or right. In order to hit the puck (a whiffle ball in this case), I had to learn to put a ‘brake’ on the wheels with just one hand while simultaneously picking up the hockey stick with the other.
Controlling the chair was difficult. During the first and second quarters, I kept missing the puck because I hadn’t mastered how to swivel quick enough to block the whiffle ball before the opponent got to it. By the third quarter, I finally learned how to use the chair and I was able to defend the whiffle ball from the other team.
By the end of the game, my arms were exhausted. I was sore for a couple of days. The soreness came from using my muscles and balance to maneuver the wheels – there were times that I pushed the wheels as hard as I could to roll forward faster in order to catch up with everyone or chase the whiffle ball. As an ambulatory person, I never knew how much work could be involved in using a wheelchair. I’m in awe of people that use a manual wheelchair in an everyday life – I now have an idea of the strength required to get around. Hotwheels beat 101 Mobility®, 4-3, in the end. The Hotwheels players demonstrated such skill as they effortlessly maneuvered their chairs while keeping the movement of the whiffle ball and their hockey sticks in mind. I have a new appreciation for the sport and the Hotwheels players.
The Hotwheels Hockey team always welcomes support in the form of both a cheering section at their games or through donations of equipment and money. You can learn more about the Hotwheels Hockey team on their website and Facebook page.