Women’s hockey skates hope for more teams, Paralympic status

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (AFP) – Sarah Bettencourt was training to become a US Marine Corps helicopter pilot when a nervous disorder forced her to retire.

You’ve found a new mission in a completely different arena.

Bettencourt, who played hockey in high school, has regained her appreciation for the game and is now a member of the US women’s national team in bobsleigh hockey, a game that originated about half a century ago in Sweden for players with various physical disabilities.

“The first time I got on the ice, I felt like I was flying,” Bettencourt said.

Players sit on specially designed skates that sit atop two blades and propel themselves with sticks with metal pickaxes on the base. The three periods are 15 minutes long instead of 20 minutes.

Bettencourt fell in love with the game as soon as she started playing it.