Bolinas teen helps win sled hockey championship

Trooper Johnson
SUCCESS: Garnett Silver-Hall scored a hat trick—three goals—at the 2017 Disabled Hockey Festival this month. The Bolinas 15-year-old started playing sled hockey six years ago.  

Garnett Silver-Hall was prepared for a matchup as he led his sled hockey team, the Sharks, into the championship game against the Chicago Hornets earlier this month at the 2017 Disabled Hockey Festival in San Jose. He had faced the Hornets before, and knew they were prone to using the technique of “checking”—in which a player deliberately crashes into an opponent. This was the first sled hockey title match for the Bolinas teenager and, after a slow start, he used his speed to score back-to-back goals within 54 seconds. He’d go on to snag one more goal before the game’s end; his hat trick propelled the Sharks to the top. “When that final buzzer rang, it felt great,” he said. “I looked back at my coach and I was so happy. None of us expected that.” Mr. Silver-Hall, a 15-year-old freshman at Tamalpais High, has been playing sled hockey for the last six years. His team is one of the many offered through the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, a free sports program designed for children with disabilities. Although  Mr. Silver-Hall was born with arthrogryposis, a condition in his joints that prevents him from walking, he’s a sports maverick. He plays wheelchair basketball and has even developed his own move in wheelchair motocross: the “G-Wheel.” “It’s like a cartwheel,” he said. Outside of sports, he is a committed drummer and has been playing in school bands since kindergarten. He hopes to attend the Berklee School of Music, in Massachusetts, to continue studying the instrument. Following his big win in San Jose, Mr. Silver-Hall said he’s shifted his focus to spreading the word on the program that got him there, to help attract more players. “BORP has shown me a lot of independence,” he said. “Sports proves that you can do a lot of stuff that people don’t think you can do.”