US Women's Sled Hockey Team

Sarah Bettencourt

Born: 1983
Number: 22
Position: Forward
Hometown: San Diego, CA

“The better we play, the more happy we are off the ice.”

Sarah Bettencourt insists that sled-hockey saved her life. While laying in a military hospital bed, Bettencourt blocked everyone out. She didn’t let anyone close to her know what had happened. Once a Marine Corps captain, she is now unable to walk. Her high school sweetheart, who was deployed through the navy at the time, was contacted by Benncourt’s unit, and subsequently came off deployment early. Life seemed that it would never normalize. That was until she attended a military adaptive sports camp.

The camp put a heavy focus on adaptive skiing, but Bettencourt wanted a team. For her, most of the adaptive sports were too individualistic. She wanted a sport in which she could recreate the team environment that the Marine Corps let her have. She was given the chance to experience the sport that let her experience the comradery of a team in an hour session of sled hockey. After her first session, she was hooked.

On the flight back to San Diego, sled hockey was stuck in Bettencourt’s mind. The physical contact between the players, the ability to speed from one end of the rink to the other, and the connection between her teammates was intoxicating to her. When she got home and tried to find a team in her area, she was disappointed, but still motivated. In 2014–the same year she discovered the sport–she founded the San Diego Ducks sled hockey team.

Three months into her time into the Ducks’ first season, Bettencourt became pregnant with her future son, Tyler. She stayed motivated and continued her training regimen throughout her pregnancy as well as helping the Ducks. After giving birth in July, she was determined to try out for the USA Women’s Sled Hockey team through a summer camp which was nearly a month away. Bettencourt was out on the ice a week later after giving birth.

Since making the cut for Team USA, Bettencourt has continued to improve herself. The team pushes her to do at least one thing a day that will help her become a better hockey player. She uses the time to improve mentally, looking back on past tapes of games and looking at what she can do better with her movement.

News about Sarah:

San Diego sled star Bettencourt honored with USA Hockey award

http://gazette.com/former-marine-captain-finds-new-mission-in-sled-hockey/article/1574395

San Diego Ducks sled hockey team gives veterans hope

Sarah Bettencourt