Kids finding confidence on the ice with sled hockey

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Kids and sports are a perfect match, even when at first glance one may not think so.

"I love when I'm going really fast, and when I'm gliding it just feels like I'm flying," on participant said.

The Wheelchair Sports Federation New York Sled Rangers offers hockey for physically disabled kids called sled hockey. The basic game is still the same, and so are the smiles. Bill Greenburg helped get it all started. His 12-year-old son is on the team.

"When he wheels into his classroom and he tells his friends that he's a hockey player, it changes the way that all of his able-bodied friends think about him and therefore changes the way that he thinks about himself too. So it's a totally freeing thing for all of these kids," Greenburg said.

The New York Sled Rangers started small and grew, and now kids from all over are involved.

The program pays for everything. A fundraiser on Tuesday night at Bryant Park drew hockey royalty.

"As I learned today, never judge a person until you've skated a mile on a sled, not easy and everything that goes into it! But, what an event, what a great cause to give these kids the opportunity to play in this league and get on the ice," said Mark Messier, former New York Rangers Captain.

It's about independence, self-esteem, self-confidence, and fun, just like any sport.

"They're all trying to hit me, all trying to knock me down because I'm the biggest and they can't, don't worry they can't," said Matthew Castagna, 16 years old.

"I just love it, it feels like I'm free," a participant said.
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