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Paralympic Sport Club
STARskaters is a USOC Paralympic Sport Club
2013 has been a busy, productive year, and a year of of rapid growth at STARskaters.  The ice time for the SkateTherapy program has doubled in order to accommodate the growing numbers of skaters. Sled Hockey continues to expand as well with new skaters joining us from both the Veterans Administration and Houston Amputee Society

Several Sled Hockey weekends were held this past year, along with a Paralympic Sports demonstration for BP Petroleum headquarters.  Many outreach events for area clubs were also held and the Austin Blades were added as a STARskaters Sled Hockey chapter.  We also held our first ever SkateTherapy Gala and STARskaters golf tournaments - both were extremely well attended and plans are underway to repeat both events.  Read more about both them in this issue.

Junior Wheelchair Sports Camps were held on-ice at Ice Skate USA for both Houston and Pasadena programs and in total 123 events were held for the year.  ALL of this made possible by our incredible volunteers.  There is no way we can thank you all enough for the generous donation of your time and talents.  You make all of the magic of these programs possible.  I am continually hearing parents and participants praising the quality of the programs and this credit goes directly to you, our volunteers.

Both the Sled Hockey and SkateTherapy programs will be taking a holiday break from regularly scheduled programs until Jan 11th 2014, however a SLED HOCKEY WEEKEND has been scheduled January 4th and 5th as the players prepare for the Sled Hockey Nationals to be held in Boston in April 2014.

The trip to Boston is expected to cost close to $20,000 with tournament, travel and hotel expenses for the team.  To fund this effort we have started several EBAY auctions with many cool items including an autographed ZZ Top guitar.  Read more about it in this issue and do check out the STARskaters EBAY page here as 100% of proceeds to to support our mission.

And, as always if you know of anyone who could benefit from any of our programs, please click the link below to FORWARD TO A FRIEND.


Jim O'Neill
A U.S. Paralympic Sport Club

Holiday Shopping to Support STARskaters programs
STARskaters has added several items on EBAY which allows shoppers to find some items for the hockey and skating fans on their list...and support the STARSkaters mission.

Items have been donated by several Houston area hockey players and supporters and are available until sold, so check it out and don't miss out!

ZZ Guitar Items include: 
  • Electric guitar autographed by all members of ZZ Top.
  • Autographed WILD Jersey from former AERO and Minnesota WILD player.
  • Autographed Houston Astros Baseball.
  • STARskaters t-shirts.
  • STARskaters water bottles.
  • Texas Sled Hockey ballcaps.
  • ...and more to be added!
Click here to see the current listings and close-up photos..

And, if you are an EBAY seller, contact for information on how you can donate a portion of your sales to support, or if you have an item to donate, contact
Sled Hockey Growing in Houston
Thanks to the weekly donation of ice by Ice Skate USA at Memorial City Mall, the Sled Hockey program continues to grow with players of all sizes.
Bennie showing new sledder Tamar how to glide
Several members of HAS, the Houston Amputee Society, and new Sledders from the Veterans Association joined STARskaters on the ice December 7th, the last Sled Hockey session before the holidays.  The program will restart again on January 11th.
If you've never tried Sled Hockey, it comes with a WARNING: it can be very addictive!  Just like our participants, sleds come in all sizes and can be adjusted with wider blade spacings for beginners.  As players become more experienced, the blades can be moved closer together so players can make sharper turns.
Mike Noland gets his son Andy ready for Sled Hockey practice
Whether you are looking to play competitively on a Sled team, or would like to just come out for a social skate on Saturdays, there's room for players of all abilities.  And NO SKATING or HOCKEY EXPERIENCE required!  In fact Bagina (shown in the article about Metal & Muscle) who is one of the better players in Houston came from the Congo...not exactly a hotbed for hockey activity.
Thanks to our friends at Ice Skate USA at Memorial City Mall for their ongoing support.  The growth of Sled Hockey in Houston is a direct result of the invaluable assistance of Carl Sasyn, Alexey Gruber and the rest of the staff at Ice Skate USA.  
Next time you are at Memorial City Mall, stop by and see for yourself their excellent facility and wide range of skating lessons, public sessions and hockey programs they offer at the rink.
Nina Jiang Entertains Packed Crowd
Skate Therapy LogoSugar Land Ice was the scene of the first ever Gala dinner, auction and ice skating performance to support the SkateTherapy program which has recently doubled their Saturday morning ice time to accommodate more students.

Nina Jiang




Over 150 people attended the gala fundraiser event and were entertained by performances from the Skate Therapy students, Eugenia Liang, the Unity Synchronized Skating team, 2014 International Challenge Cup Silver Medalist pair Brianna De la Mora & Taylor Wilson and  Nina Jiang, the 2008 U.S. Intermediate champion and 2007 U.S. Juvenile Champion.


The event was held to raise funds for the SkateTherapy program which has seen rapid expansion over the past year.


The Sugar Land program now involves 96 people actively participating as skaters and instructors and volunteers. 


In addition, there is a SkateTherapy program in College Station which is in the process of rebuilding after a change in rink ownership.  The new program will be guided by one of the former Sugar Land instructors.


Thanks to everyone who joined us for this first ever event and the support for the life changing SkateTherapy program.  The magic happens every Saturday from 9-10:30am at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center - come by and check it out.  The program restarts on January 11th after our holiday break. 

Nutcracker Season is Here!
Memorial City Ice LogoOne of the great annual traditions for the holiday season is the Nutcracker on Ice, and you can experience this holiday classic at several area rinks this month.

Ice Skate USA will hold performances December 13th at 6pm and December 14th at 1pm and 6pm featuring Nina Jiang, the Houston Ice Theatre, Ice Skate USA learn to skate and Memorial FSC of Houston.
Sugar Land Ice & Sports
Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center will hold their 16th annual performances of
the Nutcracker on ice on December 14th at 2pm and 7pm and December 15th at 2pm.  

For more information about the Sugar Land program, visit 

The Willowbrook Aerodrome will hold two performances of the Nutcracker on September 21st, at 1:30pm and 5:00pm.  Tickets are available online, just click here to order. 
Imperials Hockey Supports STARskaters SkateTherapy
Sugar Land Imprerials
Chuck-a-puck at the Imperials game to support SkateTherapy
There is a new hockey team in town, the Sugar Land Imperials, playing in the North American NA3HL league and using Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center as their home rink.
The team is coached by former AEROS player Jarod Palmer.  GM Jamie Feltus and her staff have worked hard to make the fan experience exciting and create a fun and affordable family entertainment option for both longtime and new hockey fans.
The games are fast paced, hard hitting, and can be quite high scoring.  In a recent contest after falling behind 2-0 to the WILD, the Imperials scored 9 unanswered goals, including four goals in a span of 1:36 to open up the second period of play.
STARskaters is grateful for the support the Imperials have given our program.  They have already raised several hundred dollars in the first few home games by donating the proceeds of chuck-a-puck to SkateThrerapy.
Sled Hockey Weekend Jan 4-5th
Sled Practice for PHLThe first weekend of 2014 will start off with a full slate of Sled Hockey activities as Texas Sled Hockey players will hit the ice for skills & drills, full ice scrimmage games and player evaluation as the player selection process begins for the 2014 Sled Hockey National Tournament to be held in Boston.
Saturday Jan 4th - Willowbrook Aerodrome 
  • ON ICE - 11am-12:15pm
  • Lunch and equipment reviews 1-2pm 
  • ON ICE - 3:40pm - 4:40pm  
Sunday Jan 5th - Willowbrook Aerodrome
  • ON ICE: 10-11:40am 
STARskaters founder Jim O'Neill will drop the puck at the Imperials game on January 4th at Sugar Land Ice & Sports
 If you are interested in joining us for Sled Hockey weekend activities, please send an email to
Due to a limited amount of sleds and protective equipment, we need to confirm your attendance in advance.
On Saturday January 4th we will be performing an "equipment review" for all players to identiy any players who are missing equipment or need an upgrade on their protective equipment or sled modifications.
Following Sled Hockey weekend, the regular Saturday morning practices and scrimmages will resume at Ice Skate USA at Memorial City Mall from 10-11am.
Locker Room Sports Bar Opens
Skaters at the Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center now have a new dining and entertainment choice, the Locker Room Sports Bar & Grill.
The Locker Room will be supporting STARskaters with future events including the Sled Hockey weekend in January 2014.
The Locker Room has several big screen LED TV's, an outdoor covered patio and plenty of private party space. The Locker Room shows all the big college football games, Texans game and NFL games and all of the NHL games on DirecTV center ice.


A variety of beer is available in bottles and on tap as well as a good local wine selection.  In addition they specialize in Canadian beers such as Molson and Labatt and in addition to the normal menu they carry Canadian specialty foods such as poutine, Ketchup-flavored Lays potato chips, Canadian bacon and Tim Horton's coffee.


For more information visit, or visit our Facebook page and LIKE us (although we think that after one visit you'll actually LOVE us! 

STAR Supporters Shine at 
1st Annual Golf Tournament
John Mitton Golf
John Mitton drops a putt for birdie
HIHOA, the Houston Ice Hockey Official's Association is a long time supporter of, which was founded by Jim O'Neill, a 15 year USA Hockey Referee

Friday afternoon, September 27th, HIHOA hosted the "Zebra Open" Golf Classic at Southwyck Golf Course.  Over 100 Houston area hockey players/golfers enjoyed an excellent day of golf, food, beverages and socializing.
T.C. Lewis shows off his winnings

Tournament sponsors included:
  • Allegiant Pools
  • AFGlobal
  • Belknap Concrete
  • Canadian Club of Houston
  • FabCo
  • GalvestonGuy Condo Rentals
  • Houston Distributing
  • Sports Star USA
  • Sugar Land Imperials Hockey.
  • Westheimer Plumbing
The idea for the golf tournament started when HIHOA membership, lead by Paul "Wilkie" Wilkinson heard of the upcoming funding shortfall at STARskaters caused by the departure of the Houston AEROS hockey club.  Paul Wilkinson, Carl Sasyn, Frank Prestigiovanni and T. C. Lewis worked to get the ball rolling and volunteers Caren Bell, Deb Lewis, Kim Belknap and Cathrine Sickorez helped to make this first-ever golf outing a great success.
STARSkaters at Metal & Muscle
Bagina straps into a sled while Cody's dad Chad gives his son a hand
For the third year, STARskaters exhibited at the Annual Metal & Muscle Expo held at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Metal & Muscle is an annual event sponsored by the City of Houston and is a showcase of many adaptive sports including sled hockey (on wheels), rugby, sitting vollyball, rugby, power soccer and wheelchair basketball.
In addition, many vendors are on hand to showcase a variety of products, programs and services to support the disabled community.
STARskaters "pit crew" including Ken & Kim Belknap were on hand to swap out the ice blades from the hockey sleds and strap on wheels so attendees of the Expo could give sled hockey a try.
Several of the current Sled Hockey players were first exposed to the sport at outreach events such as Metal & Muscle and it is an event that everyone looks forward to each year.   2014 Metal & Muscle will be November 8th, again at the George R. Brown Convention Center Hall A - SAVE THE DATE and we look forward to seeing you there! 
FOX26 Features SkateTherapy
SkateTherapy on FOX26
SkateTherapy on FOX26

Sponsors Needed
Sled Hockey, Therapeutic Skating, Brochures and Web

If you'd like to support our Sled Hockey and SkateTherapy programs as a sponsor, we have many ways to get the word out about your business:
  • Web ads
  • Newsletter promotion
  • Event signage
  • Sled signage
  • T-shirt logos
  • Jersey sponsorship
  • Printed brochures
  • Electronic brochures
Any or all of these are available to you based on your level of sponsorship.  For more, contact

New STARskaters Brochure
Online PDF available by clicking here

STARbrochure 2012
Sponsors are being sought for the 2013 version of the STARskaters brochure.

The brochure is distributed at area ice rinks, sponsor locations and the Toyota Center at the table at most Houston AEROS games.

Inside, you'll read about the history of Sled Hockey and learn more about STARskaters programs:
  • Skate Therapy.
  • Sled Hockey.
  • STAR Skate events.
You can also read more about how you can get involved in the STARskaters program as a volunteer, donor or organizing a STAR Skate for groups with special needs.

If you would like a supply of brochures shipped to you, contact
STARskaters mission is to provide an on ice skating experience for therapy and recreation for children and adults with special needs, and to support SLED HOCKEY in Houston.

The program is open to anyone five years of age or older who would normally be unable to enjoy an on-ice skating experience due to their disability. is a public charity registered in Texas as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tax ID number 26-1657556. 

All donations are tax deductible.

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In This Issue
Shop and Support STARskaters
Sled Hockey Growing in Houston
SkateTherapy Gala
Nutcracker at Memorial City
Imperials Hockey Supports SkateTherapy
Sled Hockey Weekend Jan 4-5th
Locker Room Sports Bar Now Open
HIHOA Golf Tourney for STARskaters
STARskaters at Metal & Muscle
Skate Therapy on FOX
Sponsors Needed
STARskaters Brochure
Video, Audio & Social Media
STAR Supporter
STAR Volunteer

Sponsor Links

For more information, contact



Francesca's Story - Skate Therapy


Joseph's Story - Sled Hockey


Roberto's Story - Skate Therapy 


Video - What is Sled Hockey?  


Get Sledding - Sled Hockey Music Video  


Sled Hockey on KPRC   


Interview "Talking Sled Hockey" with James Dunham 


STARskaters Mission Video   


Social Media, Brochure, Audio  

Texas Sled Hockey on Facebook  


SkateTherapy on Facebook  


STARskaters Brochure - Download


STARskaters Radio Spot 


SkateTherapy in Skating Magazine



Find us on Facebook

STAR Supporters
Belknap Concrete
Kim and Ken Belknap
It has been said "if you want something done, give it to a busy person".  That definitely applies to the Belknaps who in addition to owning and operating two successful businesses, Belknap Concrete and Belknap Plumbing, are long time supporters of STARskaters and the Houston Hockey community.

They not only donate their time and generous financial support, but Ken has also donated his technical skills and created some amazing adaptive equipment for the program.
One of his most clever inventions Ken has designed and produced is a combination hockey stick/arm for Joseph Montemayor.  Joseph is a triple amputee who is one of the first to join the Sled Hockey program.
Ken and Joseph The stick/arm is an amazing piece of engineering which allows Joseph to propel himself with both arms, allowing him to be one of the fastest players on the ice.  The stick portion of the arm enables him to stickhandle from both sides of the sled and has allowed Joseph to make dramatic improvements in his game. 
We are grateful for the many incredible volunteers like the Belknaps who graciously donate their time and talents.  Without them there would be no Sled Hockey or SkateTherapy programs.
If you'd like to join the ranks of the STAR volunteers, contact us at

STAR Volunteer

Coach Reid Williams

We are extremely fortunate to have so many talented volunteers in both the SkateTherapy and Sled Hockey programs but we'd like to focus on a new addition to Sled Hockey Saturdays, Coach Reid Williams.

Reid has stepped up the practices with new skills and drills to sharpen the players level of play and knowledge of the game.

Originally from Cleveland Ohio, Reid has hockey in his genes.  His grandfather drove a Zamboni and Reid worked his way up from a rink guard, to Zamboni driver, operations manager, and eventually helped run an outdoor facility where his love of hockey was born.

He moved to Houston in 2000 and started getting involved in hockey programs in Sugar Land in 2011. Today you will find him at every Sugar Land Imperials home game as the Director of Off-Ice Cfficials.

STARskaters founder Jim O'Neill met Reid while officiating a hockey game where Reid was the scorekeeper.  That prompted his first visit to check out Sled Hockey and Reid was immediately hooked.

Reid had this to say about his experience with STARskaters. "The individuals I have met are some of the most inspirational that I have ever met and I knew immediately that I wanted to use any resources that I have to help them achieve their desired reward from the sport of Sled Hockey  I have been inspired to broaden my understanding of the sport and to expand my knowledge base in efforts to help these sledders achieve their goals and I look forward to gaining more knowledge that I can share with my new friends and family at STAR Skaters"

Reid is a great example of the type of people who volunteer every week for both Sled Hockey and SkateTherapy.  We are grateful for the time, effort and energy Reid brings to Sled Hockey in Houston.
If you'd like to get involved, contact us at
Quick Links



STAR Supporter Links

Galveston Guy Condo Rentals  


Locker Room Sports Bar





STAR sponsors 2013