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Missoula Rural firefighters help local sled hockey program

Posted at 8:45 AM, Sep 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-29 22:53:27-04

MISSOULA – A new type of hockey making its way to Glacier Ice Rink and the Missoula Rural Fire Department is helping to support the growth of the new sport.

It’s important for one Missoula hockey communities family the sport is especially important for their son who lost his leg to cancer. Skating on ice is a very liberating feeling for one community in particular.

“It’s such a freeing feeling versus being in the chair. It’s like being an able-bodied person again. You get to enjoy a sport that you couldn’t unless you had these sleds…so it gets a lot of people out of their chairs on the ice and active which is super important,” Kelly Sellars said.

Glacier Ice Rink is hoping to grow sled hockey in Missoula by hosting a clinic  to teach the sport to newcomers — with the hopes of one day having a team for Missoulians.

“That’s our hope…to have pickup ice time and then eventually have to have enough people from across Montana to develop a team that would be interested in going around playing sled hockey tournaments,” Missoula Sled Hockey Program coordinator Molly Blair said. “But for now just to try to get people out on the ice on a regular basis.”

Eagle Mount out of Great Falls helped bring the sleds that were needed for the clinic. The group also provides coaching.

Another group helping to support the growth of the organization is the Missoula Rural Fire District which donated funds raised at their annual fire on ice charity hockey game.

“This last year we chose Missoula Sled Hockey.  One of our brothers, Cooper Berry, wanted to donate to that because it’s kind of a growing foundation here in Missoula and unfortunately his son has cancer right now and he’s having surgery…that’s going to limit him playing hockey and so sled hockey is going to be huge for the Berry family so we wanted to be able to contribute,” MRFD firefighter Max Kotwitz said.

The help will allow a member of the MRFD family to continue doing something they love.

“So Jack, he loves the sport of hockey and so this is going to offer him a new avenue for hockey and getting him out here in sled hockey and hopefully we can get him a sled and all the outfitted gear,” Kotwitz said.

“We’re looking forward to having Jack back here in Missoula. It’s been a long time since they’ve been over in Boston, so we are ready for you to come back Jack and hope your surgery went well today,” he added.

Jack Berry had surgery on Friday and when we will update you on his condition when we hear how he is doing.

Click here if you’d like to donate to the Missoula Sled Hockey program.