by Marty Simpkins
WAKE FOREST — Sled hockey has come to Wake Forest and Ziggy’s Restaurant is helping promote and raise money for their first-ever tournament.
The Cap 5 Canes are the only sled hockey team in the state and they will be hosting the first sled hockey tournament in both North and South Carolina at The Polar Ice House in The Factory.
The Carolina Sled Classic tournament will be held this weekend, Mar 11-13 at The Polar Ice House in The Factory. The tournament will feature teams from Nashville, Virginia Beach, and two teams from Florida.
Sled hockey is like stand-up hockey for the physically disabled. Players use their arms to power themselves around the ice on sleds and use their hips to move side-to-side.
Twelve-year-old Cap 5 Canes player, Tyler Jacoby, has been playing sled hockey for six years.
"I grew up watching the National Hockey League, so I thought it would be cool to play," Tyler said.
Tyler also plays in national sled hockey tournaments. His father, Bryan Jacoby, helped him get involved when he first heard about the new sport through J.V. Cotterel, the founder of the Triangle Special Hockey Association.
"I’m good friends with J.V. Cotterel, who started the Triangle Special Hockey Association," Bryan said. "Tyler became J.V.’s first sled hockey player and the program has grown ever since."
The Triangle Special Hockey Association (TSHA) offers people who are physically handicapped a chance to play hockey.
Some of the sled hockey players are disabled veterans, such as William "Wolf" Hulslander, who served in the Marines from 1981-85. He’s been playing sled hockey for a year and a half.
"The Triangle Special Hockey Association held a sled hockey clinic while I was in Greenville," Hulslander said. "I tried it and fell in love with it."
The TSHA has been trying to promote their upcoming tournament by contacting businesses in the Triangle area. Ziggy’s Restaurant of The Factory was one of the first responders.
"Ziggy’s has really stepped up," Bryan said. "They’ve offered their support to the team and the sled hockey organization. We wanted to reach out to a local business to help us out, but Ziggy’s actually reached out to us."
In order to raise money for the tournament, Ziggy’s made most of the sled hockey players honorary waiters from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
"Ziggy’s helped promote our tournament and they want to help us out in any way," Hulslander said. "They made us honorary waiters so we can get all the tips."
From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Ziggy’s raised $1,265 for the Cap 5 Canes sled hockey team.
The game schedule for this weekend has not been finalized, but there will be three games on Friday night, four games Saturday afternoon and evening, and three games on Sunday to close out the weekend. In addition to the games slated for Saturday, there will be an All-Star type skills challenge between the afternoon and evening games.
During one of the Saturday games, Ziggy’s will give away prizes through a raffle. The three prizes are a U.S.A. men’s national hockey team jersey signed by the team, a Carolina Hurricanes’ jersey signed by the team and a signed football jersey from the Toronto Phantoms of the Arena Football League.