Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey operates therapeutic and competitive ice hockey programs for the benefit of physically disabled individuals in Pennsylvania and adjacent areas.
We strive to:
- develop character, sportsmanship and physical fitness among the disabled youth of Pennsylvania and adjacent areas while promoting and encouraging both educational and cultural experiences;
- promote, encourage and improve the standard of sled hockey on a local, state and national level and to support and develop athletics for local, state and national competition;
- conduct a sled hockey program consistent with the rules and regulations of USA Hockey, Inc.; the Mid-American District Hockey Association; and, as consistent as practicable, with rules and regulations of any successor(s) to the above;
- perform or participate in such other educational activities as may be necessary to facilitate the achievement of the foregoing purposes.
In the early 1960’s, the sport of sled hockey was developed at a rehabilitation center in Stockholm, Sweden by a group of Swedes who, despite their physical impairment, wanted to continue playing hockey. Today, sled hockey is a fast-growing internationally recognized sport and a key event in the Paralympic games.
It provides a means for physically challenged individuals to play competitive ice hockey. Getting a good workout, building self-esteem and being part of a team are just a few of the benefits of sled hockey!
Sled Hockey in Pittsburgh
In 1998, volunteers from Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Erie introduced the sport of sled hockey to Pittsburgh and the Mighty Penguins were born! Initially the goal was to provide children and young adults with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate in a competitive sport. The parents and guardians of these players have seen firsthand the physical and emotional benefits of the program. Many local organizations have helped our program by donating ice time, equipment, customized hockey gear and insurance. Individuals throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area volunteer their time and talents to educate and assist our players.
The Mighty Penguins continue to build on this existing foundation of support by increasing player involvement and expanding the number of teams competing locally and nationally. This past season, the Mighty Penguins registered on its roster 4 teams that included youth, junior, intermediate adult and competitive adult players. These teams competed in tournaments throughout Canada and the United States.
Players on the team are achieving tremendous success and recognition nationally and internationally. Josh Wirt is a 2002 Paralympic Gold Medalist. In addition to playing with the Mighty Penguins, Daniel McCoy won the gold medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia with the USA National Men’s Team. Nevin Gray was selected for the 2010 USA Junior National Team. Kelsey DiClaudio has been select for the USA Women’s National Team for the 2014 and 2015 seasons! In 2017-2018 Daniel McCoy & Harrison Burgess were named to the USA Development Team.
Today and Beyond
In the 20 years since the Mighty Penguins sled hockey team was founded, we are proud to have grown to include over 60 players of all ages on 4 teams. We are proud to continue to provide opportunities to our amazing athletes of all abilities. The Mighty Penguins are excited to enter a new era of growth this season in our new home, UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex!