Ad SJSports Online
High School Links

Ice Hockey Links

South Jersey Sled Hockey:
South Jersey Refs Come Up Big In Tournament

Saturday, February 28, 2004

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Usually referees are the brunt of fans anger, whether they missed a call or didn't see the puck cross the line. This past Saturday all of the refs that officiate in the SJHSIHL volunteered to play the Wings of Steel, the local sled hockey team in the third annual Jon Payne Memorial Tournament. If you have never seen a sled hockey game or the Wings of Steel, they are a group of boys and girls with physical disabilities. They are belted into a seat with a glider attached, and they used cut down hockey sticks for two purposes to maneuver around the ice as well as shoot the puck.

Imagine a grown man attempting this for the first time, not only difficult but tiring and doing it over three 15-minute periods. The Jon Payne Tournament is held in memory of Mr. Payne who was instrumental along with tournament organizer Gary Scott, in starting the Timber Creek Ice Hockey Organization.

Tyler Reid had a hat trick to lead the Wings attack. Jessica Shaw and Tim Jones netted two goals each as the Wings won going away. The final score was not what was important, but honoring the memory of someone who loved hockey and was giving of his time to players of all levels of ability. While played before a sparse crowd, and not very well publicized, players and coaches missed out on seeing the human sides of the guys in striped shirts and would have enjoyed the referee’s valiant, yet futile attempt at trying to stay on the sled. Organized by Ron Davidivic and led by speedsters Brian Stevenson and Jack Scarpinato, the officials might not have scored many goals but instead of being criticized after a game, were loudly applauded.

Notes: Donations can be made to the Jon Payne Memorial Fund by contacting Gary Scott at Timber Creek Ice Hockey Organization.

Photos by Joanne Costantino

©2004 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.