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Bauer Hockey, headquartered in Exeter, recently partnered with the University of New Hampshire Northeast Passage's sled hockey program to outfit 40 athletes with new hockey equipment, including shin pads, shoulder pads, helmets, gloves and roller bags. This donation benefits the participants of Northeast Passage's youth and competitive adult teams.
Northeast Passage's sled hockey program runs from September to April and includes a youth and development component and a nationally ranked adult team. This program serves more than 100 athletes and families throughout New England with more than 60 practices and competitions.
The adult team competes in the Northeast Sled Hockey League and attends two national events per year: The NHL Classic and USA Hockey's National Championships. The team includes three veterans recently injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, three student-athletes attending UNH, two members of the U.S. national sled hockey team and community members from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Five years ago Bauer kick-started the youth program, which has grown steadily since then. This season, the youngest player is five and the oldest is 18. Disabilities served include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, amputation and traumatic brain injury. In 2012, four members of the team were invited by USA Hockey to attend the summer player development camp. One player (aged 15) was named to the national development team.
"This donation from Bauer Hockey allows us to provide equipment to first-time athletes of all ages and to those athletes that are not able to afford protective gear of their own," said Bill Stewart, Northeast Passage's competitive sports coordinator. "We are grateful for their continued support of our programs."
Bauer Hockey is the world's leading designer, developer, manufacturer and marketer of ice hockey equipment. The company developed the first skate with a blade attached to a boot, forever changing the game of hockey. Since then, Bauer has continued to develop the most innovative products in the industry. Headquartered in Exeter, Bauer Performance Sports is the parent company of Bauer Hockey, Mission Roller Hockey, Maverik Lacrosse, Cascade Sports and Inaria International.
"We're happy to continue our partnership with Northeast Passage," said Kevin Davis, president and CEO of Bauer Performance Sports. "It's exciting to see this program grow and reach more and more athletes from across the state and throughout New England."
For more than 20 years, Northeast Passage has been a nationally recognized leader in the field of therapeutic recreation. As a non-profit affiliated with the University of New Hampshire, they specialize in providing innovative solutions for individuals with disabilities including children, adults and our nation's military personnel.