Forward Robert Thrailkill Jr. from the Grand Rapids Sled Wings adult sled hockey team has been named to the 2015-16 U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team.
This marks the third consecutive year the 24-year-old Thrailkill has been selected for the squad. Moreover, this is the sixth time in the last 7 years that a member of either the adult or junior Sled Wings – teams comprised of athletes with physical disabilities – has been named to the 18-man roster of the national developmental team, which trains regularly with the world-champion U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.
Formerly a lance corporal and combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Thrailkill only began playing for the Sled Wings’ adult team in December 2012.
After losing both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan on Oct. 26, 2010, the Pentwater, Mich., native spent the next 25 months recovering at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Md.
The Sled Wings’ adult team is sponsored by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, which in partnership with the Griffins Youth Foundation also oversees the Sled Wings’ junior program. Together, the adult and junior Sled Wings squads have sent 4 different players on to the U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team since 2009.
In addition, longtime junior player and current adult team member Susie Kluting has played 3 seasons (2011-13; ’14-’15) with the U.S. National Women’s Sled Hockey Team.
Thrailkill’s selection continues a remarkable year for the Sled Wings program. In April, the junior team capped off its third consecutive appearance in the national championship game by capturing the first Division A title in its 14-year history. (Read more about their victory.)
Sled Wings Named to U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team:
Season | Players
2015-16 | Robert Thrailkill Jr.
2014-15 | Robert Thrailkill Jr., Aaron Wemple+
2013-14 | Tyler Anderson, Robert Thrailkill Jr.
2012-13 | n/a
2011-12 | Tyler Anderson+
2010-11 | Tyler Anderson*, Chris Melton*
2009-10 | Tyler Anderson*
+ Recent graduate from Sled Wings junior team
* Member of Sled Wings junior team