In 2004, Noah Grove developed bone cancer in his left leg that resulted in an amputation. He was only five years old. Fast forward eight years later and he finds himself at the adaptive sports program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA. “My mom said we were going on a drive… it was sorta against my will,” he said.
But that is all it took. The son of Chris and Rachael Grove soon found himself playing sled hockey on the Bennett Blazers junior team. Once a week, they would drive to Baltimore for practice and would play games through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Grove became a skilled player and would join the USA Warriors, a team comprised of mostly wounded warfighters that is based out of the Rockville Ice Arena. He also skated for two seasons with U.S. National Development Sled Hockey Team and made the National Team in 2016. “I was shocked when I made the team,” he said. His first year on the team was difficult. “I lacked confidence.”
However, the team did win a gold medal at the World Sled Hockey Challenge that year, followed by a silver medal at the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championship in Gangneung, South Korea. “We are very disappointed about the silver,” he said. After all, the team won the gold medal in Sochi and had advanced to its fifth straight gold-medal match. “I was only out there (on the ice) for 90 seconds and I wish I could have contributed more to the team.”
The Frederick, Maryland native is now attending the University of New Hampshire, where he gets to play hockey almost every day with an adult competitive team through Northeast Passage, another chapter of Disabled Sports USA. “There are several players at UNH that I have played with or against over my career,” he said.
In addition, he is still a member of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, where he plays Forward. “Although I prefer playing the wing, this position allows me to be creative,” he said. In December, the team won gold at the World Sled Hockey Challenge held in Prince Edward Island. Grove was named the Player of the Game for the match against Italy on December 4th.
His is looking forward to returning to South Korea, this time as a member of Team USA for the 2018 Winter Paralympic games, scheduled to take place March 9-18 . “I don’t just want to go to South Korea,” he said. “I wanted to go and be able to contribute to the team.” We will definitely be rooting for Noah and Team USA!