Carolina Fury team honored with Community Spirit Award
By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on March 16, 2010 1:46 PM
A unique Wayne County sports team recently received the 2010 Community Spirit Award at the Raleigh Sports Council's Evening of Champions.
The Carolina Fury power hockey team is a sports organization geared specifically toward athletes with disabilities. Team members play the sport in motorized wheelchairs, and it is harder than it looks, team founder and athlete Jonathan Greeson said.
Greeson was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy known as spinal muscular atrophy when he was only a few months old, but his childhood friends would often adapt games so he could play with them in his family's Pikeville neighborhood.
After completing two internships with the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team while earning his bachelor's degree at N.C. State University, Greeson returned home determined to find a way to share his passion for sports with others.
The result was the North Carolina Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association, and the Carolina Fury.
The Raleigh Sports Council chose to honor the Carolina Fury with the award because of the team's work in helping people with disabilities, Greeson said.
The Carolina Fury received the award "for all the things we do for providing activities for people in wheelchairs," he said. "It just shows that what we're doing is really getting noticed, so we're finally getting out now."
The Carolina Fury has 13 members at the moment, but more than 30 disabled athletes have participated in the sport over the last seven years.
This summer the team will hit the road to take on electric wheelchair hockey competitors from across North America at the Power Hockey Cup tournament in Toronto, Canada. It will be the team's third trip to the international competition. The Carolina Fury also hosted a national electric wheelchair hockey tournament in summer of 2009, drawing teams from Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
Power hockey fans can catch the Carolina Fury's next game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Rosewood Middle School. Admission is $5 per person.