Mandy Mitchell

The people behind McIlvain

Posted January 9, 2012

As TV reporters we spend a lot of timing shooting, writing, and editing something that you spend 1 minute and 30 seconds watching. There is a lot of stuff that ends up on the proverbial editing room floor. I want to share some of the background of my story about Pat McIlvain.

JV Cotterell, the founder of Triangle Special Hockey, called to tell me they were working to get a wounded soldier back on the ice. JV had never met Pat. He basically told me he had no idea what to expect. He didn't even know if his method of pushing Pat around the ice would work.

The experiment, as you saw in my story, was a huge success. JV was not only able to push Pat around the ice, he was able to put a hockey stick in his hand and knock the puck around. I was asked to keep this video out of the story, but there wasn't a dry eye in the place. It was a very cool experience for all of us who got a chance to witness it in person.

A huge part of the story, that didn't make it in the tv version, centers on JV. He took the day off work to do this. When I asked him about that he said, "These guys do so much for us, it's the least we can do. I am trying not to bust up here."

JV made the sled himself. He spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to make a sled that would be stable enough to support a grown man. JV does a lot of work in our community through Triangle Special Hockey. He funds a lot of this out of his own pocket.

Pat brought his team of therapists to the ice. Each person was telling me what a huge help getting Pat back on the ice would be for his progress. He has been writing about his experience and they explained how it will allow him to open up and become "himself". They have a very tough job of trying to help Pat live as normal a life as possible. Giving him a hockey stick is a big step in that direction. He has been on the ice almost every week since the first time. He can only communicate by writing and called the experience “awesome”.

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  • jvcotterell Jan 10, 2012

    Mandy this was a way too flattering story. I hope people will be inspired to help our wounded heroes and others that need a helping hand. I can't tell you how much Pat has touched my life. I think about him every day and the sacrifice he has made for me and all Americans.

    I also want to give credit to Dennis Couch my friend from work. He welded up the custom pusher bar. I could not have done it without him. We customized a team sled that the adult sled team uses, with major modifications on the skating mechanism. It has worked out well. Thanks.

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