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Avalanche great Milan Hejduk tries sledge hockey for the first time

On Tuesday night, Milan Hejduk was at the Scotiabank Saddledome watching his Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 2-1.

On Wednesday morning, the Avalanche legend was at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Winsport to try sledge hockey.

Hejduk says it wasn't easy out there.

"Tough to turn," he said.

"I ran myself a couple of times into the boards or in the net.  Like you've got to keep the balance and just turning is a little bit more difficult."


Hejduk is on the board of the Colorado-based Dawg Nation, a non-profit that provides families and individuals assistance and opportunities.

On this day, Dawg Nation handed over a $5,000.00 cheque to former Canadian national sledge player Chris Cederstrand.

The Calgarian started his own non-profit organization called the Cederstrand Foundation.  The mission of the Cederstrand Foundation is to support individuals with physical limitations and helps them reintegrate into sport and physical activity.

It's been a tough couple of years for those organizations because of the pandemic.  President and C.E.O. Martin Richardson says that made handing the cheque over even more special.

"Our motto at Dawg Nation is play hard, play fair and give back," Richardson said.

"The second motto was coined by a sports writer in Denver and he said we make tough guys cry and we just did it again today."


Dawg Nation is trying to build a facility in Colorado that will change the face of disabled sport forever.  It's to be built in Castle Pines and the land is already secured.  They also have a lot of donations but are waiting on more so they can get the shovels into the ground.

It's a facility that will remove all hurdles for the disabled athletes from arriving at the rink to getting on the ice.  Cederstand has seen the plans and says it will be amazing.

"All these different things that this facility is going to be able to encompass and ultimately I mean the goal of it is just to remove every barrier that stops people from getting on the ice."


The dream is to one day have a facility just like the one in Colorado be built in Calgary, Cederstrand says if they were able to do that it would be a game changer.

"I don't know how we'd go about building a facility that large but to have something like that up here and remove all of those barriers from kids playing sport, it would be an incredible thing to have here."


Of course a lot of work has to be done and a lot of money has to be raised.  Humbolt Broncos bus crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki says he's ready to put the work in.

Ryan Straschnitzki learns to control his legs after undergoing spinal surgery in Thailand. (Tom Straschnitzki/Twitter)

"It would be super important to have a facility like that in Canada," Straschnitzki said.

"I mean if that's something Chris (Cederstrand) and I have to work on in the future, I think it would be amazing."


Richardson has no doubts where the next one will be after the Colorado facility is complete

"Once we get this thing built I think the next one would be here.  Honestly the most obvious one to me is here because of the connection with Chris already and if we could do what we're already doing in Colorado and just slide it up here." Top Stories

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