~~ The Vineland Sled Stars are a sled hockey team for the physically challenged youth between the ages of 5 to 18 years of age. In 2001, the founders, Kathy Shelton, Ken Shelton and Mike Doyle along with A.J. Berenato worked together to bring this team to reality. In 2002 the Sheltons had seven youth and five adults take to the Vineland Ice Arena ice. We allowed adults to skate with the team as there was no adult sled hockey team in the area. The adults helped the youth learn the game and develop their skills. The six youth were: Dylan Baker, Jeremy Crum, Erin hall, Jeremy Lubin, Keith Shelton, Jimmy Connelly and John Eckbold. The adults were Albert Baruffi, Tom Godfrey, Matt Reidy, Chris Risoli and Stacey Bertonazzi. Mike Doyle was there at almost every practice to help this new team be successful. Ken Shelton III and his St. Augustine Prep hockey friends also stepped in to support and help our new team. Highlights of this season are:
First on ice practice at Vineland Ice Arena-4/9/02
Garden State Games Tournament which was our first official game and tournament-7/02
Hollydell Ice Arena Scrimmage vs. Wings of Steel-8/11/02
Philadelphia Phantoms Hockey Game Fund Raiser-10/12/02
Practice, Practice and more Practice every Tuesday night 4/9/02-6/25/02
Youth National Sled Hockey Invitational at Voorhees, NJ 1/31-2/203
Mites on Ice with Phantoms St Augustine Prep Charity Game-played able bodied hockey players in sleds-2/4/03
1st Annual USA Hockey Atlantic District/USSHA Sled Hockey Development Camp Voorhees, NJ 8/8-8/10/03
Our Atlantic Youth Sled Hockey League games started on October 20, 2002 against the Bennett Blazers at home. It ended January 2003 and was a challenging season, (0-11) we lost every game. However we came out smiling because we had fun and did our best. Our team believed in an active parent-player organization and under our team manager, Kathy Shelton we had parent team meetings to plan the year and meet the needs of the team. We had blue jerseys highlighted with red and white with white stars.
~~ 2003/2004 Season: The Second Year “League Growing Pains” 2003 found our youth players becoming more of a team and our parents becoming active working to help the team become successful. We were honored to play the heros of 9/11, the NY/NJ Port Authority. The League began to have challenges of its own and needed to find consistent rules and structure. The team ended the season in 2nd place winning a majority of their games (7-6-1). Highlights include:
Rink of Dreams Program Flyers game 12/12/03
Multiple newspaper articles about the team are printed Windsor Canada tournament 3/8/04
Win first place New England Invitations at Amelia Park 4/29-5/1/04
Rennoc Foundation donated $5,000
Played the NY/NJ Port Authory, 9/11 survivors at Montclair College.
2004/2005 Season: The Third Year “Tournaments, Tournaments” 2004 saw a new team join the league, the Woodbridge Warriors from Woodbridge, NJ. We also began to reach out to the other league teams who were not going to tournaments but had players who wanted to go. The Atlantic Patriots was considered our traveling team whenever we did not have enough players to travel for non league games. Our team began to view sled hockey tournaments as a family affair where we could all hang out and have fun off the ice. Sadly, we also felt a great loss when Rick Muka passed. Even though Rick was a Pittsburg Penguin, he would help this struggling team whenever he could and we were going to miss his kindness and smiles. Highlights include:
Voorhees Tournament where we came in first place in the Blue Division and 2nd place overall in the tournament-2/6-2/8/05
Vineland Sled Stars vs. NJ Port Authority Police Hockey Team Fund Raiser with the New Jersey Devils-3/7/05
Rennoc Foundation donates another $5,000
Windsor Canada Tournament-3/26-3/28/05 *First USA Sled Team to win a Gold Medal in the Windsor Games*
New England Invitational at Amelia Park-5/7-9/05
1st Annual Rick Muka Award given by the Stars in Rick’s honor Wings of Steel created the Michael Senk Award Garden State Games 5/22-5/23/05
Bennett Blazer Jr Sled Hockey Camp-2nd place 7/30-8/1
Bone Run Walk n Roll-SJ Rehab Hospital donated money to team- 10/4/05-Coach Tom wins first place costume prize
Bill Haas’s Church Golf Tournament-donated money to the team
Pittsburgh Penguins Thanksgiving Tournament- 11/26-11/27/05
Caren Diel’s graduate research project from Temple
Coach Tom selected as USA Weekend one of our caring ‘05 Coaches.
2005/2006 Season: The Fourth Year “Year of no league champion” The fourth year brought a team eager to reach the first place spot in the league however it was not to be. Because of problems with teams not finishing the season the league commissioner ruled that there would be no winner this year. The team was disappointed but continued to move forward and develop as a competitive team. We began to have various fundraisers; Valerie Crum organized flower sales and money script for groceries. The parent group continued to do things for the team such as holiday parties, team celebrations, buying new jerseys and shirts. The team was financially in good shape, in part due to the on going support and loyalty of A.J. Berenato who never charged a dime for the ice time. Highlights:
1st Vineland Sled Hockey Camp w/Mike Doyle
Windsor Canada tournament 3/06 Phantom Hockey fund raiser 4/06
New England Invitational Amelia Park 4/06
2nd Rick Muka Award Garden State Games 6/06
Jimmy Connelly-Bronze in Italy Paralympics w/USA Sled Team.
2006/2007 Season: The Fifth Year “League and District Champs” The fifth year was the magic charm, we finally won the hard earned District and League Championships and showed everyone that we are a hard working and proud team with supportive parents. Highlights:
2nd Annual Vineland Sled Hockey Camp w/Mike Doyle
London Blizzard Canada Tournament 1/26-1/27/07
New England Invitational Amelia Park 4/07
3rd Rick Muka Award Phantoms fund raiser- 2/07
League Championship Win 2/18/07
District Championship Playoff 3/2/07
2007/2008 Season: The Sixth Year “District Champs Again” The sixth season was a little harder then the previous. One of our players was nationally bound and was no longer eligible to play for the Stars. However, that did not stop us from working hard and proving that we still had the fight in us. We missed being league champs by a few points, but we were able to capture the District Championship again! Highlights:
3rd Annual Vineland Sled Hockey Camp w/Mike Doyle
New England Invitational Amelia Park 4/08
4th Rick Muka Award Phantoms fund raiser- 2/08
District Championship Playoff 3/2/08
U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo honors Vineland Sled Stars with an American Flag that was flown over the United States Capital
2008/2009 Season: The Seventh Year “Lost our home” The seventh season was very hard on the Vineland Sled Stars. We now had two more of our players age out (Thank you Baker and Connelly Family) and we were struggling for players. At the end of our season, the owners of our ice arena announced the closing of the rink. It was a very sad time for us. Thankfully, we were taken in from a nearby rink, Hollydell. Unfortunately, that rink was not as accessible and the ice slots that we were given were very hard on our families. But, we were a family and we would work through it. Highlights:
New England Invitational Amelia Park 4/09
5th Rick Muka Award Phantoms fund raiser- 2/09
Last Phantoms fundraiser, they are no longer in Philadelphia!
District Championship Playoff 3/2/09
2009/2010 Season: The Eighth Year “WE are back HOME” The eighth season was welcome with the news that our “Home” the Vineland Ice Arena was reopening. It is now CanLan Ice Rink and is being managed by a rink management group from Canada. The Stars were very thankful when the new management gave us a discounted price for our ice time. We had been very spoiled by the previous owners who did not charge us at all. So, it was a hardship, but we need for the first time in the team’s history to charge a team fee. That cost us some players and families. So, we had a very tough season in our league and came in 3rd place in league and districts. But, we were still together and we are determine to make this team grow again. Highlights:
Walmart Coin Drop 9/09
New England Invitational Amelia Park 4/10
6th Rick Muka Award District Championship Playoff 3/2/10
Jimmy Connelly – Gold Medal in Vancouver Paralympics, the Baruffi and Yusko Vineland Sled Star families went there in support.
2010/2011 Season: The Ninth Year “ On our way back” We have been blessed with a few new players and even though we are not as competitive as we were in the past, we are on our way back. It is just growing pains again. We are in fourth place, league and district. We will be going to the districts in March and Amelia Park in April. Due to District rules, we have a chance to come in second or first. Either way, we are still a team that works together for the good of our families. We are very thankful that one of our original players has decided to coach. Jeremy Lubin is now a level four USA Hockey coach. We have also lost another dear family, the Reids have moved to Virginia. We will miss Coach Chris and his humor! Highlights:
New England Invitational Amelia Park
7th Rick Muka Award
The Delp Twins were featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer
District Championship Playoff
Jeremy Lubin goes from Player to Coach
2011/2012 Season: The Tenth Year “Thanks Coach Tom & Vineland Rink” Coach Tom Godfrey had been with our team from the beginning. He did not have a disabled child, but was disabled himself. He volunteered his time and talent to us for ten years. We needed to thank him! This would be the last Rick Muka Award in Amelia Park. We decided to end the award with the win of the Championship in Amelia Park. After many years of traveling to that great tournament, we finally won! We came in Second in the Districts. Sadly, we also saw the doors to Vineland Ice Arena close for the last time. We cannot thank them enough for all they did for us! Highlights:
Honor Coach Tom Godfrey for his years of Service, March,
2012 New England Invitational Amelia Park
Final Rick Muka Award Amelia Park 2012 Champions
Played St. Augustine Prep Hockey Team in honor of their senior and our player Keith Shelton
District Championship Playoff
Sadly lost our rink after a very hard fight
2012-2013 Season: The Eleventh Year “New Beginnings” We are thankful that Hollydell has welcomed us back. Although it was a struggle for Coach Ken, we were accepted back to the Hollydell Ice Arena and that is our new home. The Sheltons have decided to semi-retire, but will continue to help and support the team when they are in need. Kathy Shelton applied for and we were granted $10,000 Equipment Grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities. The team still struggles to find funding for ice time fees. The Bareiszis family is going to be taking over the coaching and Lisa Oates is going to do most of the managing of the team. Joining the DVHL League was new this season. The first season with DVHL was not what was expected, but as a team we stuck together. Highlights:
Hollydell welcomes us back
Received $10,000 from Ronald McDonald House Charities
Honor Ken and Kathy Shelton for their service
2013-2014 Season: The Twelth Year “Back in the DVHL”
2014-2015 Season: The Thirteenth Year "Tiny sled" During this season at an event at Hollydell the team got a young boy into a sled for the first time. He was just 4 1/2 years old and was hooked on the sport. Overall this was a successful season which ended in a 2nd place finish at Amelia Park.
2015-2016 Season: The Fourteenth Year "Coaching change and lost players" The year started off with Coach Steve and his family leaving the team. This left the team very shorthanded in terms of players. Coach Phil stepped up to lead the team for the season and did a great job. The team played on and had fun. Finsihed in 2nd place at Amelia Park with the help of the Hammerheads.
2016-2017 Season: The Fifthteenth Year "Another new Coach" Another season another new coach as coach Phil stepped down due ot personal reasons. Coach Brian took over the coaching duties, the first of which was the hunt for a new goalie. The team ended up going through 2 goalies during the season. We took first place in our division at the York Presidents Day Weekend Tournament and finished in 2nd place at Amelia Park.
2017-2018 Season: The Sixteenth Year "The Rebuilding Continues"