Adam Page has always been an athlete. He was born in Buffalo, NY with spina bifida in 1992, to a family that didn’t believe his disability meant limitations. “The world of adaptive sports was new to my family,” Adam says, “but anything I wanted to do, they got me involved.”
“I’ve never known anything else, so life in a chair is normal to me,” Adam explains. His family and his community’s support have helped shape his perspective on adaptive sporting and its wider opportunities. “My family always pushed me and let me know that I could do anything I put my mind to,” he says.
Adam began playing sports as soon as he was old enough to wheel his own chair. “I was always competitive, but hockey was my main sport,” he remembers. When Adam was three years old, his father took him to see a Buffalo Sabres hockey game at the KeyBank Center. “You’d think a three-year-old would just watch the game in awe – but I wouldn’t stop bugging my dad about the rules, the score, all of that. I wanted to know every detail.”
With such a passion for the game at three years old, it’s no surprise that Adam made strides towards sled hockey greatness at an incredibly young age. He was on the Paralympic track by age eleven, attending development camps and working through advanced training with key coaches. The local Buffalo sled hockey team both supported and inspired him.
At twelve years old, Adam was practicing 6-7 days a week – 3-4 days on ice, and 2-3 days on dry land. Adam says that he pulled a lot of his strength from his parents in that time. “They made it possible to be doing what I was doing,” he says.
Adam joined the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2007 when he was just fifteen years old. “I learned to be older than my age,” he says of being the youngest member on the team. “I had to match the level of maturity of my teammates on and off the ice.”
In his more than ten years with the National Sled Hockey Team, Adam has helped Team USA to win gold medals at three consecutive Paralympic Winter Games – Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, and PyeongChang 2018. Adam also played in six International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sled Hockey World Championships, taking home three golds, two silvers, and one bronze.
Now at twenty six years old, Adam is looking towards his next chapter. “I’ve known how to ski for more than ten years,” Adam says, “and it’s always something I’ve loved to do.” Taking a year off from sled hockey in the 2018-2019 season meant more time for Adam to explore opportunities off the ice – like flying to Breckenridge, Colorado to hit the snow with The Hartford Ski Spectacular, conducted by Disabled Sports USA.
“I’d always wanted to come to Ski Spec,” Adam says, “but my hockey schedule just didn’t allow it.” Attending The Hartford Ski Spectacular in 2018 was an opportunity for Adam to move from ice to snow, and to give his mono-skiing abilities a more competitive edge.
After six days on the race course and mountain-wide expert terrain with renowned Paralympic mono-skiers like Chris Young and Josh Elliott, Adam has decided to trade in his hockey sled for a monoski full-time. “I’m aiming to get into an official race by the end of this winter season, and Beijing 2022 is the ultimate goal,” Adam says. “I’m so competitive,” he laughs in describing this transition, “I always just want to push myself to compete at the highest level that I can.”
When Adam isn’t training on the ice or snow, he’s working to share his passion for adaptive sports with the Buffalo, NY community and beyond. He founded The Sled Hockey Foundation to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in adaptive sled hockey, with the intention of building individual confidence and leadership skills for participants to bring into the community.
“There’s something out there for everybody,” Adam says. “No matter what challenges you have or were born with, you can do what you want to do. Find something you’re passionate about, and nothing can stop you.”