Steelkings in Texas
Okay, so that header is a little bit of a white lie, but there’s still some truth behind it.
This lovely lady is Virginia Garcia. And the man with her wearing the Steelkings jersey is her son Joseph Montemayor.
Sadly, Joseph isn’t the newest member of the team – although we’re still trying to convince him it’s an option – as he plays for the STARSkaters Sled Hockey Team in Houston, Texas.
Earlier this year, when Andy Ako first contacted us about joining the team, we wondered if he might be the first triple amputee to play sledge hockey. And then we found this video:
A quick message on Facebook, and Joseph became friends with several members of the team, including Ako. The two of them have spent a fair bit of time swapping tips and suggestions for altering equipment in order to work best for them. While other sledge hockey players can offer advice to Ako, Joseph is probably the only person who truly understands the specific challenges he faces.
When it was time to get our new Steelkings jerseys made, it seemed only natural for Ako to have an extra one made for Joseph as a thank you!
Joseph has recently taken part in a sled hockey weekend organised by the STARSkaters, which saw USA Sled Hockey Team members Rico Roman and Kyle Huckaby join them on the ice. It was pretty awesome to see a Sheffield Steelkings jersey that’s travelled across the world to be in the same lineup as a gold medal winning Paralympian!
As a team, we’d all like to thank Joseph for his support and friendship. And we’re still hoping that one day he can make it over here to the UK to meet us all in person! Or, you know, join the team!
You can follow the STARSkaters on Facebook or Twitter. You can follow Ako (and the rest of the Steelkings) in person on Saturday in Peterborough against the Phantoms, or next weekend (the 29th) in our final home game of the season against Kingston Kestrels!