Valley High School Ice Hockey Association
consists of a number of teams with some pretty good hockey players. John
Wilson has been coaching in the league since 1987 and told us about a
pretty amazing young goalie who is the starting goalie for the Highland
JayveeVarsity team which competes in the Orange County High School Club
Hockey League. He also plays in the Millbrook Youth Hockey League.
His name is Eric Ignatowski. Wilson's team played against Eric's team
last season. Wilson's club won the game 6 to 3. Eric stopped 54 of the 60
shots that were fired at him that game. A good effort, but hardly anything
to write home about, except that Eric plays with a prosthetic leg. That's
right - Eric only has one leg.
"There is no way anyone would think he has only one leg watching
him stop pucks on the ice," stated Wilson. "When I told my
players about his leg, they couldn't believe it. He played super against
Eric is a senior this year and hopes to continue playing at the college
Eric, a 16 year old junior at Red Hook, enjoyed playing roller hockey
as a goalie for the past six years, but he never played ice hockey before
this season. The 5 foot 9 inch, 150 pound athlete has always excelled at
sports as he was growing up. His mother encouraged him to try everything
and he has.
Eric was born with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency, a congenital
birth defect that affects approximately four in every million children.
The Highland team only wins about 20% of their games, so Eric gets a
lot of work on any given night, yet his goals against average is only
4.00. The only thing you might notice is that it takes Eric a little bit
longer to get up off the ice after a play around the net. Otherwise, there
is nothing different about his style.
On the technical side, his left leg extends just below his hip. The end
of it slides into the top part of his carbon fibre prosthesis and is held
in place with velcro straps. The middle is made of titanium and includes a
hydaulic knee. His foot is made of metal and is covered with skin-coloured
Eric loves the game and will never use his leg as an excuse. With or
without his leg, Eric is an inspiration to all who know him and plays the
game the way it was intended.
After The Whistle would like to wish Eric Ignatowski the best of luck
this season and as long as he continues to put on the pads.