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By Dominique Gatto
Cheers to the Central Vermont Pioneers sled hockey team, which brought home the hardware last weekend with a gold medal at the Empire State Winter Games. Hoping for a repeat, they’re playing this Saturday from 3-9 p.m. at the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center.
Vermont Adaptive’s connection? Fanatic fans and honorary transportation provider for this dedicated team of athletes.
“The relationship between Vermont Adaptive and the Pioneers is that we are friends, supporters and full-on fans,” said Maggie Burke, managing director at Vermont Adaptive. “They needed help with transportation and reached out to us. We had vehicles and our vans available and staff members who are supportive of the team and athletes. So when our vehicles are available we drive them to their games and cheer them on.”
High Fives Foundation caught wind of the partnership and has sponsored the Pioneers by helping cover expenses associated with travel. Without these efforts, the thought of travel would not be easy for the Pioneers.
“Having Vermont Adaptive provide transportation to get all of the players in the van opens up the opportunities to go to these tournaments where they might not have been economically possible,” said Troy Kingsbury, a member of Central Vermont Pioneers.
Transportation provided by Vermont Adaptive allows the opportunities for the team to travel together in one vehicle, building camaraderie and sportsmanship—and friendships.
“Vermont Adaptive has really opened up the possibilities of doing the sport,” said Kingsbury.
The Central Vermont Pioneers’ goal is to introduce all abilities to the sport of sled hockey, hoping to hook them into the fast paced and rugged game. The Pioneers welcome anyone who wants to play—any ability, either a person with a disability or someone who is able-bodied.
“Our goal is to keep expanding the sport, and to get a lot more of adaptive and non-adaptive people into our sport,” said Kingsbury. “It’s open for anybody…we each bring our own unique talent to support each other.”
To learn more about the Central Vermont Pioneers, visit centralvermontpioneers.org.