Noah Grove is making his Paralympic debut at the Paralympic Games PyeongChang 2018.
In 2004, Frederick, Maryland native Noah Grove developed bone cancer in his left leg that resulted in an amputation. He was only 5 years old. Fast forward eight years later and he found 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 sort of against my will,” Grove, now 18, 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 mostly of wounded military members that is based out of the Rockville Ice Arena.
Noah also skated for two seasons with the U.S. Development Sled Hockey Team and made the national team in 2016.
“I was shocked when I made the team,” Grove said.
His first year on the team was difficult, though. “I lacked confidence,” he recalled
However, Team USA did win a gold medal at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge that year, followed by a silver medal at the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Gangneung, South Korea.
“We were very disappointed about the silver,” Grove said.
After all, the team won the gold medal in Sochi and had advanced to its fifth straight international 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,” he said.
The 2017 Urbana High School graduate 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 December, the U.S. sled hockey team won gold at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge held in Prince Edward Island. Grove was named the Player of the Game for the match against Italy on Dec. 4.
“I don’t just want to go to South Korea,” Grove said before leaving for his Paralympic debut at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeognChang 2018. “I wanted to go and be able to contribute to the team.”
And contribute he has. In the team’s tournament-opening game against Japan, Grove scored his first goal in Paralympic competition.