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Local league to host hockey clinic for players with disabilities

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Nov 04 2012 05:03:26 PM CST
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

For kids and adults living with disabilities, life can present its share of hurdles.

Things like competitive sports might seem out-of-the-question. 

"They can't just go out and do whatever they want," said Hunter Leavitt, 14. 

For Leavitt, hockey is more than a game -- it's something that grabs you. It grabbed him when he was just 5-years-old. 

"(It takes) a lot of time," he said. "A lot of sweat and work." 

Come to find out, hockey might be a little contagious, too. 

"I get to go fast," said Hunter's 5-year-old sister, Mikayla. 

Mikayla has been to every one of Hunter's games. She makes almost every practice, too. Now, she wants to play hockey, for one very simple reason.

 "Cause my brother plays hockey," she said. 

Mikayla's hockey dreams won't come terribly easy. She has Spina Bifida. It's condition caused at birth, when some vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed and remain unfused.

"She can't play regular stand-up hockey very well," said Mike Leavitt, Hunter and Mikayla's dad. 

Leavitt said he doesn't want anything stopping his daughter from hitting the ice.

 "She really, really loves hockey," he said. 

 So Leavitt had the idea to bring a special kind of hockey to Idaho Falls -- the same kind of hockey played in the Paralympics.

It's called Sled Hockey. Players use a sled, instead of skates. It's perfect for Mikayla. 

 Idaho Falls Youth Hockey will host a free Sled Hockey clinic next weekend for anyone and everyone who wants to play. 

For Hunter it's priceless.

"It's nice that they can come out for once and be just like anybody else out there," he said. 

The free clinic is Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Joe Marmo ice arena at Tautphaus Park. 

If you want to participate you must register by Monday, Nov. 5. 

Registration is available through the Idaho Falls Youth Hockey website, by following this link: 

http://ifyha.com/home2/?page_id=976

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