Goaltender With One Leg Gives It His Best Every Game
Taken from an article 
in the Times Herald-Record by Justin Rodriguez


The Hudson 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 us."

Eric is a senior this year and hopes to continue playing at the college level.

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 rubber. 

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.



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