CONTACT: Meri-Jo Borzilleri, Empire State Winter Games Communications & Media, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel: 719-337-7987
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PHOTOS: See ESWGPhotos.com
February 5, 2023
TUPPER LAKE, N.Y. – The Central New York Flyers came from behind for the first time in the tournament to defend their sled hockey gold medal in the 43rd Empire State Winter Games at the Tupper Lake Civic Center Sunday.
The Flyers defeated the Fort Drum Mountain Warriors, 2-1, to top a field of four teams in a repeat of last year’s final, won by a 1-0 margin. Stride Capital District Sled Warriors defeated the Vermont Ice Vets, 7-3, for bronze.
Games’ sled hockey teams are composed of adaptive athletes, some of whom are combat veterans injured during military service. Players sit on sleds with skate blades underneath, and propel themselves with hockey sticks fixed with spikes on one end.
After the Mountain Warriors scored in the first period, Central New York scored twice on goals from Ryan Bauer and Eric Koman in the second period for the winning margin. In earlier round-robin play, Central New York and the Mountain Warriors tied, 2-2. The Flyers won their two other pool-play games in shutouts, 6-0 and 10-0.
“It’s great. It’s a great group,” said Central New York defenseman Jamie Favata of Liverpool, whose son, Myles, also plays on the team. “We’re a family. I’m just happy for my family. Everyone’s competitive and fierce out there. Everyone’s a competitor.”
Central New York had the tournament’s largest roster, 13 players, and plays out of rinks in Skaneateles and Rochester. The roster size “is definitely an advantage,” Favata said.
The ESWG, sponsored by Community Bank, N.A., is the largest multi-winter amateur sports event in the United States. From Friday Feb. 3 through Sunday, close to 2,200 athletes competed in 23 winter sports in Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Paul Smiths.
For more information, including sport schedule and results, visit empirestatewintergames.com. For photos of the Opening Ceremony and events, see ESWGPhotos.com. You do not have to be a resident of New York State to participate in the Empire State Games, and most sports are open to all levels.