Medvescak' players Nathan Perkovich, Brandon Segal, Cal Heeter, Mark Popovic, Bill Thomas, and James Wright dropped in on a Mrga practice on Tuesday, and got a taste of sledge hockey. Mrga's players were surprised by the visit and were delighted to give the Bears a few pointers on how to navigate the hockey sledge, how to turn, how to block with two hockey sticks, and then tested their skills with a brief game afterwards.
''We knew this was a tough sport before we even got on the ice, but we were convinced that it would be easier for us because we grew up on the ice. In the end it was the complete opposite, we were surprised how hard it was. I’m amazed by players that play sledge hockey, with the strength of their spirit, desire, and wish to be a part of this sport. They deserve a lot more than our support and our respect, which they definitely have'', said Medvescak’s forward Bill Thomas with a constant smile on his face after having gotten the opportunity to meet the players from Croatia’s only sledge hockey team.
This was also Nathan Perkovich’s first time trying sledge hockey.
''I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to join Mrga’s practice, to train and spend time with them. The guys are awesome. I heard they’ve only been practicing for a few months, but despite that, it’s going really well for them. They’re definitely in better shape than us. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to come to their practice again.''
The Bears’ biggest challenge on the sled was keeping balance, turning around, and getting speed. What do the guys from Mrga have to say about how the Bears did?
''We had trouble keeping balance the first two or three times too, that’s normal. But they figured out how to use two sticks pretty quickly. This was a wonderful experience'', said Mrga’s player Matko Juric, adding:
''Them coming to our practice was a big surprise. At first I didn't realize they were Medvescak players, I thought some guys came dressed in their jerseys. But when we got closer, I realized those were actually them.''