VIDEO: Space Coast Iceplex Sled Hockey – Sports Philanthropists Support, Fund Team For Disabled Players

By  //  October 27, 2016

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CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS

ABOVE VIDEO: In the ruthless game of hockey, the Space Coast IcePlex’s Hurricanes Sled Hockey Team are the Ginger Rogers to the Fred Astaire of traditional hockey players. They do everything the other guys do, and then some. Each of the Hurricanes cope with a history of disabilities, everything from cerebral palsy and war-related injuries to horrific car accidents, but doesn’t stop them from becoming fierce competitors…and winning.

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BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In an old saying about the legendary dancing team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Astaire is indeed credited for his dancing prowess, but Rogers got the last laugh because she “did everything he did…backwards and in high heels.”

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The sled hockey management team at the Space Coast Iceplex includes Susan Szymula, Tom Reinarts, Gary O’Neil, Dawn Wagner, Lee Hathaway, Marlana Butler, Brad Cervi, Casey Chizek, Billy Sewell, Sophia Szymula, Justin Markwalter, Sam Parmarter, Mitchell Roy, Mike Troy and Leslie Pankey.

In the ruthless game of hockey, the Space Coast IcePlex’s Hurricanes Sled Hockey Team are the Ginger Rogers to the Fred Astaire of traditional hockey players. They do everything the other guys do, and then some.

Each of the Hurricanes cope with a history of disabilities, everything from cerebral palsy and war-related injuries to horrific car accidents, but doesn’t stop them from becoming fierce competitors…and winning.

Regular hockey teams are few and far between in Florida. Sled hockey teams are rare birds. Consistently outstanding sled hockey teams like the Hurricanes are one in a million.

Sled hockey, as the name implies, depends on a tiny sled, not much more than two skate blades, plus a runner and a seat, where players control the unlikely contraption with a double-sided, shortened hockey stick.

A pick at one end allows players to steer while the blade at the other is used to maneuver the puck across the ice.

The Hurricanes were born thanks to NASA engineer Tom Reinarts, who wanted son Nicholas, who suffers from spina bifida, to nevertheless experience the thrills of hockey, a game Reinarts grew up with in Minnesota.

Nicholas couldn’t walk because of his disability, but his upper body strength was excellent, making him a perfect candidate for sled hockey.

In addition to Reinarts, the sled hockey management team at the Space Coast Iceplex includes Susan Szymula, Gary O’Neil, Dawn Wagner, Lee Hathaway, Marlana Butler, Brad Cervi, Casey Chizek, Billy Sewell, Sophia Szymula, Justin Markwalter, Sam Parmarter, Mitchell Roy, Mike Troy and Leslie Pankey.

sled-hockey-580-1

The sled hockey management team at the Space Coast Iceplex includes Susan Szymula, Tom Reinarts, Gary O’Neil, Dawn Wagner, Lee Hathaway, Marlana Butler, Brad Cervi, Casey Chizek, Billy Sewell, Sophia Szymula, Justin Markwalter, Sam Parmarter, Mitchell Roy, Mike Troy and Leslie Pankey.

GOLD MEDAL PERFORMERS

When Reinarts couldn’t find a sled hockey team in Brevard, he created one at the Space Coast IcePlex in Rockledge.

The IcePlex owner, Rick Ninko, contacted USA Hockey and Tim’s Kids, an organization started by the late Tim Szymula to support youth hockey.

Both organizations pledged support and the Hurricanes were born in 2008.

Hurricanes range in age from kids to adults and they travel from all ends of the county, as well as Orlando, to play, but they band together for the love of the game.

“They look out for each other in and out of the rink,” said Reinarts.

With the help of volunteers such as 74-year-old hockey fanatic Lee Hathaway, the Hurricanes have in a few short years fared extremely well against much bigger teams from metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC, taking top place at the Open A Tournament at the Disabled Hockey Festival in Philadelphia.

2016 Humanitarians To Be Honored Tonight At Gala Event In MelbourneRelated Story:
2016 Humanitarians To Be Honored Tonight At Gala Event In Melbourne

Hurricanes team member Greg Shaw suffers from sacral agenesis, a congenital condition that deforms the spine, but that didn’t stop him from being a gold medalist at Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Paralympics and from helping the United States Paralympics Sled Hockey Team snag the gold at the Sochi Paralympics games in 2014.

Of course, not all the Hurricanes are as talented as Shaw, but that doesn’t mean they don’t give their all for their team as they fly over the ice despite serious disabilities.

“They all work together so well,” said Reinarts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

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The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. Also announced today was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement.

The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. Also announced today was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement.

Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure

CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. 

Also announced today was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement. Information about the hospital and hospice volunteers will be released Oct. 1.

The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created seven years ago by Space Coast Daily to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.

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The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities. All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.

TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.

All 2016 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2016 edition of Space Coast Daily magazine and online at SpaceCoastDaily.com.  The magazine will be available the first week of October in both print and digital editions, which will also be available on SpaceCoastDaily.com.

humanitrians-sponsors-330-1ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:

• 211 Brevard
• Advocates For Aging
• Rusty Buchanan
• Steve Bunker
• Cape Canaveral Ladies
• Stop the Bleed Team
• Junior League of South Brevard
• Space Coast Iceplex Disabled Sled Hockey
• AJ Hiers
• Sharon James
• Keep Brevard Beautiful
• Diane Killpartrick
• Janet Marks
• Paws and Stripes College
• Port Canaveral Commission
• Col. Danny McKnight
• Rolling Readers Space Coast
• Leo Roselip
• Space Coast Health Foundation
• Space Coast Paratroopers
• Central Florida Animal Refuge
• BCSO Chief Deputy Doug Waller
• Jarvis Wash
• Dr. Carlos Woodward
• The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Bernie Simpkins.

HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM

As always, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center. 

Dr. Jim Palermo

Dr. Jim Palermo

“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Space Coast Daily Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.

“For the seventh consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of Space Coast Medicine Week, a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Daily.

JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING

This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Parrish Medical Center, SOAR, BioCellular Therapies, Brighthouse Networks, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Community Credit Union, Lake Nona Medical Arts, Brevard Geriatrics, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.

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Giles Malone

“We would like to thank our long list of sponsors who support the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards and who make this wonderful event possible,” said Giles Malone, a partner with Space Coast Daily and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.

COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES

Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.

Tom Palermo

Tom Palermo

“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 3 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo. 

“In the meantime, please click the link below that showcases the distinguished Central Florida Humanitarian Alumni.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com

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ABOVE MAP: The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.


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