‘Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey’ to Premiere February 24 on PBS
via press release:
ICE WARRIORS FILM GAINS RARE ACCESS TO U.S. SLED HOCKEY TEAM AS THEY TRAIN TO COMPETE IN 2014 PARALYMPICS GAMES IN SOCHI, RUSSIA
ICE WARRIORS: USA Sled Hockey
Premieres February 24, 2014 at 10pm on PBS (check local listings)
[BOSTON] January 22, 2014 — Over the course of ten days in March 2014 in Sochi, Russia, the Paralympics will bring together the world’s top athletes with physical disabilities to represent their countries and compete in the world’s toughest games. Second only to the Olympics themselves, the Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event that redefine what makes a champion. These extraordinary individuals battle in the same stadiums for the gold, silver, and bronze medals, and in the presence of the same flaming torch as the Olympic athletes. ICE WARRIORS, a new action-packed, one-hour primetime PBS documentary, goes behind the scenes to profile the accomplishments of one group of these elite competitors: the United States Paralympics Sled Hockey team. The film introduces viewers to these amazing athletes as they defend their 2010 gold medal, and chronicles the journey of the team and its players as they prepare for the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. ICE WARRIORS premieres on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 10pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
Sled hockey is a riveting game of force, speed and strategy. Also known as “murderball on blades,” the sport is played as aggressively as “standup” hockey – but its players battle, at eye level, with their sticks, their sharp sled runners, and the serrated ice picks used to propel their sleds. ICE WARRIORS captures the dramatic moments and heated competition in the long-standing and intense rivalry between Team USA and Team Canada. Team USA took gold in Vancouver 2010, crushing Canada’s hopes of a home-country win. The Canadians retaliated, winning the World Championships in 2013. Both teams are hungry for gold this year, and ICE WARRIORS illustrates their competitiveness in the lead-up to Sochi.
For ICE WARRIORS, the filmmakers gained unparalleled access to the U.S. Paralympics Sled Hockey team. Beginning in September of 2013, the filmmakers accompanied the players at training camps and competitions, in the locker rooms and in the athletes’ homes, giving viewers an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the arduous journey to Sochi. Along this journey, viewers witness the camaraderie of the teammates on and off the rink, learn about the personal triumphs and trials of the athletes, and see them at home with their supportive families.
“ICE WARRIORS will challenge preconceptions and assumptions about the capabilities of people with disabilities and help celebrate the contributions that Paralympians make to sports and to their countries,” said WGBH Executive Producer Judith Vecchione. “We’re excited to shine a light on the inspiring achievements of these incredible athletes and to promote new understanding of the adaptive sports movement.”
This year’s team features a diverse roster of players with compelling stories. Four members of the 2014 United States Paralympics Sled Hockey team are “wounded warriors”—military veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—who had life-changing injuries and are now world-class athletes competing at the highest levels of adaptive sports. ICE WARRIORS highlights the athletes’ personal journeys, emphasizing the role of sport in rehabilitation and examining the technologies that have enabled them to proudly represent the US again, this time on the playing field. This year’s team also runs a wide age spectrum—from a first-timer 15-year-old making his team debut, to the 35-year-old seasoned captain, now considered “ancient” by some of the younger teammates, as well as two high school friends injured in the same car accident who went through rehab and tryouts together.
The 2014 United States Paralympics Sled Hockey team members are:
• Tyler Carron (#11, Defenseman) Fort Collins, CO: Tyler and wrestling teammate Nikko Landeros were best friends in high school, involved in a car accident that necessitated amputations for both boys. The two friends went through rehab together, tried out for the U.S. Sled Hockey team together, and are now teammates again.
• Steve Cash (#34, Goaltender) Overland, MO: Steve was voted top goaltender of the 2010 Paralympic Games after not allowing a single goal in five games. He was diagnosed with osterosarcoma (bone cancer) of the right knee and underwent amputation surgery at the age of three.
• Taylor Chace (#9, Defenseman) Hampton Falls, NH: Named the 2010 Top Defensemen at the Vancouver Paralympic Games in 2010, Chris has played hockey since age 5. At age 16 he was checked back-first into the boards at about 20 mph, which resulted in a spinal cord injury and partial paralysis of his legs.
• Declan Farmer (#6, Forward) Tampa, FL: The 16-year old Declan, currently ranked second on the team in points (19) and goals (8) and tied for first with assists (11), was born a bilateral amputee. “I really enjoy the scoring part of the game,” he says.
• Nikko Landeros (#15, Defenseman) Johnstown, CO: Nikko was injured in the same car accident as wrestling teammate Tyler Carron, which resulted in amputations for both boys. Together, the two high school friends went through rehabilitation, tried out for the U.S. Sled Hockey team, and now they continue to compete together.
• Jen Lee (#1, Goaltender) San Francisco, CA: Still an active duty United States Army sergeant, Jen had his left leg amputated above the knee when injured in a motorcycle accident.
• Taylor Lipsett (#7, Forward) Plano, TX: Taylor was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, (brittle bone disease). He has served as tri-captain of the U.S. National Sled Hockey team and was named Team USA’s Player of the Game in 2010-2011.
• Dan McCoy (#14, Forward) Cheswick, PA: Born with spina bifida, Dan currently attends the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a degree in rehabilitation science and sports medicine.
• Kevin McKee (#18, Forward) Davenport, IA: Born with causal regression syndrome, a birth defect of the spine, Kevin leads the Team USA rookies with 6 goals and is tied for first with 8 points. He attends Wilbur Wright College, where he has also played wheelchair basketball.
• Adam Page (#20, Forward) Lancaster, NY: Adam was previously the youngest member of the U.S. National Sled Hockey team, in 2007-2008. He was born with spina bifida and plays right wing.
• Josh Pauls (#27, Defenseman) Green Brook, NJ: Born missing his tibia bones, Josh had his legs amputated at the knee at 10 months old. He calls himself a “hockey addict.” This is his fifth season with the team.
• Rico Roman (#23, Defenseman) Portland, OR: A US Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Rico’s left leg was amputated above the knee after his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq. Rico was introduced to sled hockey by “Operation Comfort,” an organization dedicated to assisting injured U.S. service personnel, located at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
• Brody Roybal (#4, Forward) Northlake, IL: The youngest player, Brody will make his debut with Team USA at age 15. He was born without legs and began playing sled hockey at age 6.
• Paul Schaus (#28, Forward): Paul, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Purple Heart recipient, had a bilateral, above-knee amputation after being injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan. Paul played two seasons (2010-12) with the USA Warriors, an organization that offers ice hockey programs for individuals who were disabled during service to the United States Armed Forces.
• Greg Shaw (#8, Forward) Merritt Island, FL: Born with sacral agenesis, an infrequent birth defect similar to spina bifida, Greg has been a member of the U.S. Sled Hockey team since 2007.
• Josh Sweeney (#13, Forward) Phoenix, AZ: A former Marine sergeant, Josh was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan. He has played for two years with Team USA, and says sled hockey is definitely faster than his other sport, wheelchair basketball.
• Andy Yohe (#9, Defenseman) Bettendorf, IA: At 35 years old, Andy is the oldest player and the team captain. He lost both legs in an accident in 1994, and now manages a prosthetic and orthotic facility. Sochi, he says, means a lot to the team: “You’re so proud to put on your country’s colors.”
Produced by WGBH Boston, ICE WARRIORS is from the creators of the successful 2012 program, MEDAL QUEST, which showcased America’s elite athletes as they trained for and competed in the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games.
For opportunities to learn more about the sled hockey team, to follow and connect with some of the world’s most elite athletes, and for an up-close, in-depth look at the Winter Paralympic Games, visit ICE WARRIORS at pbs.org/icewarriors. The website will be continually updated with news coverage of the sled hockey competition and results for all of the Paralympic athletes during the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games being held in Sochi, Russia from March 7-16, 2014.
Ice Warriors Production Credits/Funding
ICE WARRIORS: USA Sled Hockey is a production of WGBH Boston and is presented in the United States under agreement with the United States Olympic Committee. Executive Producer is Judith Vecchione. Senior Producer: Juan Mandelbaum. Digital Executive Producer: Meredith Nierman. Video production: Luminant Media, Executive Producer Brian Knappenberger.
Major funding for ICE WARRIORS is provided by Bruce C. and Lynn Bay Dayton with additional funding from the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation, No Limits Media, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Public Broadcasting Service.
About WGBH Boston
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black, High School Quiz Show, and Neighborhood Kitchens. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; Classical New England; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMediaTM, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content to meet the needs of 21st-century learners), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.