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Sled Hockey Game Returns Tonight

Feb 01, 2023
Written By: Andrew Streitel

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Renewing one of the most unique events anywhere involving a pro sports team, the Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Sled Wings will play their 16th annual sled hockey game presented by Meijer on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook St. NE).

The doors will open at 5 p.m. Prior to the game, fans can try out a sled on the ice for a minimum $1 donation (5-5:50 p.m.) and get autographs from their favorite Griffins players (5:20-5:50 p.m.). The game will consist of two 20-minute periods with a running clock.

The opposing sled hockey teams will feature a mix of players from both the Griffins and the Sled Wings’ junior team. During the second period, local media personalities will also join the fun by taking shifts on the ice.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 per person or $20 per family. Children two and younger are free, and donations are welcome.

The junior Sled Wings, a talented team of children and teens who have physical disabilities, are sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. They became the first junior-level sled hockey team in Michigan upon their founding in 2001 and have gained a national reputation by winning various prestigious tournaments and developing six players for U.S. National Teams. The Sled Wings won their second national championship in 2022 and have finished as national runners-up four times, while goaltender Taggart VanderMolen has been a member of the U.S. National Development Team since 2018, when he became the youngest netminder ever to be named to the team at the age of 15.

The 16th annual Griffins & Sled Wings Sled Hockey Game is presented by Meijer and sponsored by Acrisure, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports, and Smallegan Real Estate.

Sled hockey rules are virtually identical to traditional hockey, except participants sit on bladed sleds. Players use shortened hockey sticks with a blade on one end and a pick (similar to a toe-pick on a figure skate) on the other end, which enables them to propel themselves across the ice. As in traditional hockey, checking, penalties and hard shots are all abundant in sled hockey.