As women’s ice sledge hockey begins to grow, offering disabled women the chance to emulate their hockey heroes, a remarkable Canadian family has helped contribute to the sport’s growth and importance. In the future, the Metzger Family may be as synonymous with Canadian women’s ice sledge hockey as the Patrick Family was in establishing pro hockey in Western Canada a century hockey, or the Smythe Family, who helped transform Toronto into one of the world’s hockey hotbed.
For over five years, Keith and Sandy have helped organize the Canadian national women’s ice sledge hockey team, providing it with a foundation for a strong future. In addition, their daughter, Corin Metzger, born with Spina Bifida (the most serious type known as Myelomeningocele), has established herself as a prodigious competitor in the sport. A competitor on the national team, Metzger is very proud of the legacy her parents have created,
“My parents have done so much to grow the sport and I am so grateful for all of their efforts. I feel that without their hard work in collaborating with the organizers of Team USA and Team Europe in the beginning the sport of women’s ice sledge hockey, specifically our own Canadian women’s team, would not be anywhere near what it is today.”
As part of the Canadian contingent competed in the inaugural IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Women’s World Cup, the first of its kind sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee, it is a remarkable accomplishment in the sport’s nascent history. As Metzger has seen how much work and effort that her parents have put into helping establish a national program, there is a great feeling of jubilation and appreciation,
“I cannot put into words the excitement I feel about participating in this World Cup tournament. Especially because I have a general idea of all of the work of the organizers and the IPC have put in to make this tournament happen. It is so amazing for the growth of women’s ice sledge hockey and I feel honoured to be a part of it.”
Of note, Metzger is more than just a very talented ice sledge hockey player. She is also a two-sport star, displaying remarkable proficiency in wheelchair basketball. As a side note, she was capable of swimming in her infancy. Like Bradley Bowden, a member of Canada’s Paralympic teams in both ice sledge hockey and wheelchair basketball, Metzger is following in his legacy as one of Canada’s most talented and inspiring disabled athletes.
A member of Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s National Academy, she has also competed with the Canadian team in Japan and Germany. Three years ago, Metzger had the opportunity to don the Canadian basketball jersey at another historic sporting event. Coincidentally, this event was also the first of its kind and Canada served as the host country,
“When I competed in the inaugural U25 Women’s Wheelchair basketball Championships in 2011 it was my first time ever playing at an international level for wheelchair basketball, and for any other sport I had participated for that matter.
It is a surreal feeling to be able to represent your country, wearing Canada on your jersey, while playing a sport you love. I feel the same feelings I felt while participating in that tournament as I do for this World Cup tournament. It is just such an amazing experience to be able to play at an international level and represent your country.”
While Metzger may one day compete in the Paralympics, there is no question that she may emulate Bowden and participate in both sports. As women continue to make inroads in Paralympic sports. Metzger may one day become one of its ambassadors. Although she is hoping to create some memorable moments in the rink, one of her most favorite moments in her promising sporting career came on the hardcourt.
“There have been many moments in my sporting career that have been great, however, one of my favourite moments in sport was this past June during the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Toronto. My favourite moment during that tournament was when Team Canada won the semi final game against the Netherlands team by one point. I can still remember the moment clearly and it still makes me feel so excited and pumped up!
Although I was an alternate for the World Championship team I had had the opportunity to centralize with the team prior to the tournament, so I was able to see first had all the work that they had put in to prepare for this tournament. The women’s team also won gold in that tournament. This is partially why this particular moment was my favourite, because I knew that due to all of their hard work, they could persevere and win, and that’s exactly what they did!”
Hard work is definitely a recurrent theme in Metzger’s sporting career. Whether it be the efforts of her family, whose efforts are reminiscent of Fran Rider building up women’s hockey in the 1980’s, or her two-sport star status, the commitment to working hard is testament to why she has accomplished so much.
All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated
Images obtained from: https://lancerlines.wordpress.com/2010/05/ and http://www.wheelchairbasketball.ca/Corin_Metzger.aspx