GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Defenseman Tyler Anderson of Jenison and forward Robert Thrailkill Jr. of Grand Haven, both members of the Grand Rapids Sled Wings’ adult sled hockey team, have been named to the 2013-14 U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team.
The 22-year-olds were among 67 players who took part in USA Hockey’s two-day tryout camp last weekend near Buffalo, N.Y. Of the 17 players selected for the developmental team and the 18 chosen for the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, Anderson and Thrailkill are the only natives of Michigan.
Anderson has already logged three seasons (2009-12) as a member of the U.S. developmental team, in addition to more than a decade with the Sled Wings’ junior and adult squads. Born with spina bifida, he remains involved with the Sled Wings’ junior team as a coach and is also a member of the Rolling Whitecaps wheelchair softball team and the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital hand cycling team.
Formerly a lance corporal and combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Thrailkill only began playing for the Sled Wings’ adult team in December 2012. After losing both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan on October 26, 2010, the Pentwater, Mich., native spent the next 25 months recovering at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Md.
The Sled Wings’ junior team, comprised of children and teens who have physical disabilities, is sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. The Sled Wings became the first junior-level sled hockey team in Michigan upon their founding in 2001, and they have gained a national reputation by winning various prestigious tournaments and continuing to develop high-caliber players. Sled Wing Chris Melton was a teammate of Anderson’s on the U.S. developmental team during the 2010-11 campaign, and Susie Kluting has played the last two seasons with the U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey Team.
The developmental team announcement and roster can be found at usahockey.com.