Hockey

Injured soldier finds therapy on the ice

Posted January 9, 2012
Updated January 10, 2012

It's been a long time since Pat McIlvain has had a chance to feel the chill of a hockey rink.

"The ice is where it happens for a hockey player," said Rom Alphin, one of McIlvain's therapists.

McIlvain played hockey for the University of Pennsylvania-California - better known as Cal-U. He had a passion for it.

Pat McIlvain Mitchell: Injured soldier gets therapy through hockey

A semester before graduation he surprised his loved ones by joining the Army and was quickly shipped off to Afghanistan. Even half a world away, McIlvain was never far from the game he loves.

In April 2010, McIlvain's world changed.

"He was shot. He was shot in the head," recalled Judy Kinnally, another one of McIlvain’s therapists.

McIlvain’s brain injury was and continues to be a challenge. He can't walk, he can't speak and requires full time care. That's where the ice comes in.

McIlvain's group of therapists thought it would be a great idea to get the hockey player back to the rink. They found a man in Raleigh who could help get the job done.

JV Cotterell runs Triangle Special Hockey - a league for mentally and physically challenged hockey players. He quickly got to work building a pushable sled for the wounded soldier.

"We typically deal with guys who can propel themselves,” Cottrell said. “When they called and said they wanted to get the guy on the ice, I said, ‘whatever we've got to do.’"

He brought a helmet, hockey gloves and even a stick.

"It's indescribable man,” Aplhin said. “I really can't tell you what it's like. It was really cool. When we got the puck out and he hit it for the first time it was cool too. You could see the hockey skills coming back. You know he's having fun.

"I'm seeing a hockey player and not a guy on a disability,” Alphin said. “This is a special day."

A day that this soldier finally gets the chance to come home.

7 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • bpayne812-take two Jan 10, 2012

    Glad you could get back on the ice Patrick. Thank you for you sacrifice to our country.

  • beasley27607 Jan 10, 2012

    Most of your stories I find irritating and uninteresting--this one was exceptional!! Great Story!

  • john41 Jan 10, 2012

    Great job JV and I love this story.

  • StunGunn Jan 10, 2012

    Very inspirational. It's wonderful that this fine young man is given the chance to be back on the ice - something he loved before he made the ultimate sacrifice in serving his country.

  • rachel Jan 9, 2012

    My nephew by marriage- go Patrick!!!!

  • ktstcanes Jan 9, 2012

    Two thumbs up. Very, very nice that they did this for him.

  • cyauch Jan 9, 2012

    Absolutely awesome! Kudos to everyone involved!

  • PGA: John Deere Classic

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: John Deere Classic

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tonight at 6:50 on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tomorrow at 6:50 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Thursday at 6:50 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

Greenbrier (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1D. Lee - z-13F
2tD. Hearn - y-13F
2tK. Kisner - y-13F
2tR. Streb - y-13F
5R. Henley-12F
6tC. Collins-11F
6tJ. Hahn-11F
6tD. Lingmerth-11F
6tB. Molder-11F
6tG. Owen-11F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
NW Ark Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1N. Choi-15F
2M. Miyazato-13F
3tS. Lewis-12F
3tA. Munoz-12F
3tA. Nordqvist-12F
6tP. Creamer-11F
6tL. Ko-11F
6tM. Lee-11F
9tM. Alex-10F
9tC. Kerr-10F
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Monday, Jul. 6
Wimbledon (ATP/WTA)
Fourth Round
(21) R. Gasquet7 6 67 78  
(26) N. Kyrgios5 1 79 66  
(22) V. Troicki6 77 4 3 3 
V. Pospisil4 64 6 6 6 
(4) S. Wawrinka77 79 6   
(16) D. Goffin63 67 4   
(3) A. Murray79 6 5 6  
(23) I. Karlovic67 4 7 4  
(9) M. Cilic6 4 6 7  
D. Kudla4 6 3 5  
(6) T. Berdych3 3 2   
(12) G. Simon6 6 6   
(2) R. Federer6 6 6   
(20) R. Bautista A2 2 3   
(1) N. Djokovic66 66 6 6 0 
(14) K. Anderson78 78 1 4 0 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Monday, Jul. 6
Wimbledon (ATP/WTA)
Fourth Round
(21) M. Keys3 6 6   
O. Govortsova6 4 1   
(6) L. Safarova61 64    
C. Vandeweghe77 77    
(4) M. Sharapova6 6    
Z. Diyas4 4    
(1) S. Williams6 6    
(16) V. Williams4 3    
(13) A. Radwanska7 6    
(28) J. Jankovic5 4    
(15) T. Bacsinszky1 7 6   
M. Niculescu6 5 2   
(23) V. Azarenka6 6    
(30) B. Bencic2 3    
(5) C. Wozniacki4 4    
(20) G. Muguruza6 6