PITTSBURGH (93.7 THE FAN) – If you have never heard of sled hockey, there is an athlete from Pittsburgh that you may want to begin to follow. His name is Dan McCoy, a young man from Cheswick that is taking the sport by storm.
Sled hockey is an adaptation of ice hockey that allows athletes with disabilities to compete on the ice.
McCoy was born with spina bifida, and hydrocephalus. He turned to sled hockey at a very young age. Attempts at other sports did not suit McCoy’s interest as he, “wasn’t really finding [his] true passion for sports.” So, he was turned on to sled hockey by his neighbor, and found that passion.
At the age of six, Dan began playing with the Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins sled hockey team. The Mighty Penguins have been around since 1998, and provide individuals with a chance to participate in hockey at a competitive level.
McCoy was selected to the U.S. Men’s national sled hockey team at the age of 16. His opponents and teammates were grown men, which can be intimidating at such a young age. But, after some initial hazing from his new teammates, Dan has been accepted, saying, “Now I feel like I am part of the team.”
He’s a big part of the team, as he helped lead the United States to a championship in the 2013 USA Sled Hockey Cup in January by scoring two goals in the Semi Final round against South Korea in a 5-2 win. He was named the games most valuable player.
Before that, McCoy earned two gold medals with Team USA in 2012. The team came in first place in the International Paralympic Sledge Hockey Challenge, last March in Norway. And, in December, they won the World Sledge Challenge.
In 2014, Dan hopes to compete in the Paralymic Games in Sochi, Russia.
“Just to be able to finally get this opportunity, it just means the world to me,” McCoy said.
Dan is a rehabilitation science and sports medicine major at the University of Pittsburgh, and enjoys playing drums and guitar, when not on the ice.
To hear the interview with Dan McCoy, click below: