Updated: 11/27/2013 10:51 PM
Created: 11/25/2013 6:00 PM WDIO.com
By: Laura Kennedy
Hockey is in Ezra McPhail's blood. But two years ago, an injury nearly took him out of the game.
"I was playing juniors, and I went to go check a kid and he went down to a knee. I ended up going head first into the boards and suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury," McPhail said.
Ezra was able to work his way back to walking with crutches or braces, but the ice still beckoned. That's when he found sled hockey.
"It was great therapy for me I think," McPhail said. "I found it right away after I was hurt against doctors orders. But I had to get back on the ice."
Now, he plays with a Twin Cities team and is also involved with Duluth Area Special and Sled Hockey, or DASSH.
"He came up to me at school and said so, have you ever thought about playing hockey? And I said, when I had two legs," said Hanna Hughes, a UMD student.
Hughes lost her right leg to bone cancer three years ago. She's now cancer free, but thought her days of being an athlete were over.
"After I had the surgery and I was in a wheelchair I was like oh, I guess I'm never playing sports again," Hughes said. "Then I met Ezra and everything changed."
Hockey is something that unites the community of Duluth, and this organization gives athletes an opportunity to get on the ice and be part of a team.
"Hockey is for everyone and it's great to start it up here now," McPhail said.
DASSH welcomes all players regardless of disability or skill level. Hughes says it takes some time to learn the ropes.
"It's difficult staying upright, not tipping over, and playing with all boys it gets pretty aggressive," Hughes said.
Instructor Lee Costley says players quickly find their competitive edge.
"I get more from them than I can ever give them back.," Costley said. "Their competitiveness exceeds anything I have ever seen from another player."
And like any aspiring athlete, they dream big.
"My goal is to try out for the USA women's team next summer," Hughes said.
"It's a blast. it's an absolute blast," Costley said. "The game has no boundaries, no limits."
Democrats Vying for Wisconsin's 25th Senate District Talk Mining
Mining is a top issue in northern Wisconsin's legislative races, and a formal debate Wednesday night was no exception. Three democrats vying for the 25th Senate District seat explained their views during a public debate at the Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland.
Scannell Testifies in His Own Criminal Sexual Misconduct Trial
Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell took the witness stand today for what was an emotional testimony from the man charged with two accounts of 4th degree criminal sexual misconduct for a relationship he allegedly had with a 17-year old girl in August 2012.
Bucks-Only Hunt This Fall in Most of NE Minn.
Deer hunters in most of northeastern Minnesota will only be allowed to harvest bucks this fall as the Department of Natural Resources tries to rebuild deer numbers. The bucks-only harvest will take place in 14 permit areas covering Lake, Cook, and much of St. Louis counties.
Stolen Motorcycle Pulled from Duluth-Superior Harbor
Deputies with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded to the area under the Blatnik Bridge Wednesday morning to find a motorcycle submerged in three feet of water.
Wisconsin to Stop Enforcing Birth Control Law
Gov. Scott Walker's administration will no longer enforce the state's contraception coverage law for employers with religious objections following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month.