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Sledge hockey makes athleticism a reality for people with physical disabilities

This weekend, Regina’s Avengers held their first ever sledge hockey tournament. Taryn Snell / Global Regina

REGINA – Hockey is Canada’s game, but not every Canadian has a chance to lace up their skates.

For those with permanent disabilities or mobility issues, traditional hockey is simply not a reality but they can still participate in the country’s national sport.

“Everyone agrees that once you’re on the ice, you’re on even terms and there’s no difference between these kids because you’re all in a sledge,” said Rick Bolianatz, a sledge hockey coach.

This weekend, Regina’s Avengers held their first ever sledge hockey tournament.

The sled-like frame is equipped with parallel blades, like hockey skates, giving kids like Savannah Harkes, an incredible amount of mobility. She’s able to move on the ice, using her arms and short hockey sticks that have picks on the end to help her propel herself.

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Bryson Bolianatz has sat in the stands for the past decade. Now, he finally has the chance to share his passion for hockey with his twin brother.

“I always watched Tanner play hockey, and to actually play with him is amazing,” said Bolianatz.

“I’m really happy because it puts a smile on my face knowing my brother is having the time of his life,” said Tanner Bolianatz, Bryson’s twin brother.

This is an opportunity for some, and an inspiration for others.

“My son has taught me a valuable lesson and that nothing is impossible, if you set your mind to it, you can do whatever you want,” said Rick Bolianatz.

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