We’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately, and with hockey season in full swing, we couldn’t help but think about Madison’s friendship with Dan.
About this time last year, we were able to match the hockey-loving Pittsburgher Madison with her friend and role model Dan McCoy, a Paralympic sled hockey world champion, gold medalist, and MVP! Watching their friendship blossom was really something quite special, as they bonded over their love of Pittsburgh and hockey. Dan visited Madison in the hospital where he shared stories of playing hockey with some of the Penguins and even let Madison try on his gold medal!
Later, Dan invited Madison and CCChampions out to the Penguins training arena where we all got to try sled hockey! Dan provided everyone with the appropriate gear and attire and we all got to attempt to slide around the rink and pass the puck to one another, which was not easy! We are thankful for friendships like Dan and Madison’s that always bring a smile to our face and remind us how lucky we are to be able to do what we do.
This past weekend Madison and Dan didn't just meet at the Pittsburgh Penguin's ice hockey training arena in Cranberry, they were on it! Madison, along with CCChampions staff and friends, accompanied Para-Olympian, Dan McCoy, for an afternoon of fun and sled hockey!
Dan provided everyone with the appropriate gear and attire as everyone excitedly went onto the ice. To say the least, sled hockey is no joke! Everyone had the chance to slide around the rink while attempting to pass the puck to one another (which was not an easy task).
Madison and Dan have remained good friends and plan to meet again soon for more lessons!
Meet Madison - a sweet, hockey-loving girl from outside of Pittsburgh! In addition to watching hockey, she loves playing the NHL video game! We had a great idea for a match for Madison -- Dan McCoy, a Paralympic sled hockey world champion, gold medalist, and MVP!
Madison and Dan hit it off right away. They bonded over their Pittsburgh roots and love of hockey. Dan is from Fox Chapel, and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He told Madison about his experiences playing sled hockey and impressed Madison with his stories of playing with some of the Pittsburgh Penguins! Madison loved her Pittsburgh Penguins even more when she learned that Sidney Crosby got in a sled to learn what it was like to play like Dan! The best part was when Dan let Madison try on his gold medal!
Dan is hoping to get Madison out to the rink someday soon so that she can try sled hockey for herself!
Tell us, what's your favorite winter sport or activity? Leave us a comment!
By: Jen Lutz
Thirteen year old Jake Popienko is one special guy! Not only does Jake play ice hockey and baseball, love video games, and have a terrific sense of humor, but he is also bilingual. He speaks fluent English and Russian! He is AMAZING! After learning about Jake and getting a chance to spend time with him, the team at CCChampions knew Jake's friendship match would need to be really special too. That's why we introduced Jake to not just one, but two awesome friends. Jake's new pals, Taylor and Jenna, are in the home stretch of completing their nursing degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. On top of that, they are fun-loving, outgoing, and adventurous. Just what Jake needed! Recently Jake, his family, Jenna, Taylor, and the gang from CCChampions spent a day full of fun, exploring, and excitement at the Carnegie Science Center. Jake, Taylor, and Jenna love experimenting and learning about science, so The Carnegie Science Center was the perfect place for the three of them to get to know each other a little better!
Our day started on the first floor of the Carnegie Science Center in The Space Place. After checking out the Rocket Launch, Parachute Drop, and Zeiss Projector, Jake and Jenna mustered up a TON of courage and tested out the Zero-G Climber.
Jake and Jenna thought the experience was thrilling, but they were both admittedly much more comfortable with both feet firmly planted on the ground.
Shortly after Jake and Jenna's Zero-G experience, we were ready to move on to the H2Oh! exhibit. Here, Jake and his family and friends, learned all about water as a natural resource and how it effects the environment in Western PA. We even got a chance to see a few of the animals that make their homes in the lakes and rivers around the Pittsburgh area. Jake demonstrated so much courage, yet again, when he seized the opportunity to pet one of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (which typically do not make their home in Pittsburgh) on display in this exhibit. Jake encouraged everyone to give it a try telling us, "Don't be scared. It's nice and smooth!"
As we made our way upstairs, we stopped outside the Buhl Planetarium, where Taylor kindly provided Jake and his brother and sister with a few coins so they could test out the orbit experiment. We were all wowed, as we watched the coins precisely orbit around and around the center of the display!
The group loved checking out the Miniature Railroad & Village! Everyone was in awe of the replicas of Forbes Field, The Monongahela Incline, and Luna Park, Kennywood's main competitor in the early 1900's. Soon we worked our way to RoboWorld. In this part of the Science Center, Jake, Taylor, and Jenna enjoyed watching the SketchBot bring Jake's sketches to life. Then Jake impressed all of us as he challenged a robot in an air hockey match! Clearly, Jake's ice hockey skills transferred easily to air hockey. He BEAT THE ROBOT in a stunning 1-0 victory! Go Jake!
The Zap! Surgery exhibit gave Jenna and Taylor an opportunity to share some of the knowledge they've gained in nursing school and at various hospitals in Pittsburgh with Jake. They had fun practicing laser surgery on an over-sized eyeball.
After breaking for a quick lunch, the fun at the Carnegie Science Center continued with a tour of the USS Requin submarine. While it surely was an interesting tour, Jake, Taylor, and Jenna decided they weren't quite cut out for submarine life. Jake was certain about this once he discovered he was a little too tall for the tiny showers on the USS Requin!
Types of Friendships