FHSD Students Create Website for USA Women’s Sled Hockey

Posted on 02/08/2018
FHSD Students Create Website for USA Women’s Sled Hockey

As the Winter Olympics unfold in PyeongChang, TV screens are flooded with images of world-class athletes from around the globe competing on the ice and snow. While Olympians like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn grab most of the headlines, other Olympic hopefuls have the same dreams of gold, if not the same media coverage. In March, the 2018 Paralympics will also be held in PyeongChang, showcasing the talents of athletes who train just as hard and overcome even more adversity than their able-bodied counterparts. The athletes who make up the USA Women’s Sled Hockey Team won’t be there, but they dream of one day competing in the Paralympics.


Formed in 2007, the USA Women’s Sled Hockey roster features para-athletes from across the country and of all ages. Sled hockey is similar to any other hockey game, but with one major difference: the players are seated on custom metal sleds and propel themselves forward with the use of two short hockey sticks with metal grips on the tips of the handles. While women are eligible to play on the USA Paralympic Men’s Sled Hockey Team, women’s sled hockey is not yet an official Paralympic sport.


As these women fight prejudices on and off the ice, they are also faced with a financial challenge - acquiring sponsorships. While the USA Men’s Sled Hockey Team has multiple sponsors, the women’s team has far less funding, and members are required to handle the cost of travel and equipment on their own. After hearing about their plight, 34 high school students from Francis Howell Central, Francis Howell North, Clayton, Kirkwood, and Richland volunteered their time and talents to create a new website for the team (www.uswomensledgehockey.org), in an effort to encourage donations.


The students did their research, attended four games, interviewed the players, and got to know the athletes on a more personal level. “We all came together to tell this amazing story,” said Zach Jones from FHC. “It was awesome to be able to tell that story and be able to help them in their journey of hopefully one day becoming an official Paralympic sport.”


During the interviews, people on both sides of the camera were in tears. “Just listening to their stories, they were amazing. All of these women had a story, and all of them were incredible,” said Gracie Kruep from FHC. The team ranges in age from 14 to 35. Some were born with degenerative diseases, and some have lost limbs during active service in the armed forces.


“It’s definitely a weekend I won’t forget for a long time, both for the opportunity, but also to meet some amazing athletes, and see our students give the best of themselves to a group who absolutely needed help to make their team and cause more visible,” said FHC Publications Adviser Matthew Schott.


“I think the great thing about this project was that the students got to meet some incredibly talented athletes and individuals whose paths they might never have crossed,” said FHN Director of Student Media Aaron Manfull. “They got to work closely with high school journalists from other schools, and they enjoyed getting to know them.”


These students and their new friends embody the Olympic spirit – “mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play.” With help from the Francis Howell students listed below, the website will increase the visibility of the USA Women’s Sled Hockey Team, and hopefully, help them achieve their dream of one day competing in the Paralympics.

Francis Howell North

Alyssa Barber

Samantha Cary

Emily Hood

Jordan Milewczik

Fabian Schwuchow

Francis Howell Central

Chloe Bockhorst

Connor Crites

Belle Herrera

Zach Jones

Gracie Kruep

Lanie Sanders

Ethan Wagman

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