Disability: Single Leg Amputee
Lives: Ramsey St Marys
I have been playing Para Ice hockey for since around 2012, and I was introduced to the sport by my friend, Matt Coleman, who was my team mate when we played wheelchair basketball for the same club.
When I was younger I played a lot of rugby, but I lost my leg at the age of 18 meaning I could no longer play the game and I missed the physical side of the sport.
Basketball was great, but with it being a non-contact sport I was on the verge of being sent off in every game because of my style of play. I missed hitting people at speed, but wheelchair basketball was the only sport I was aware of that got me as close to the experience of rugby.
This all changed when Matt introduced me to Para Ice hockey and invited me to the rink to give it a go. If I’m being honest, it didn’t sound like my kind of thing – I was expecting it to be tame, and just a lot of disabled guys sliding around on the ice, however, being a friend I went along to the ice rink and squeezed myself into Matt’s sledge, and my view changed immediately. It was awesome, I could turn sharply, it was fast and best of all, I could hit people like I did when I played rugby.
I went home, and watched everything I could find on sledge hockey, and I could see that this was not a sport for wimps.
Para Ice hockey has given me everything and more. I have some great experiences of meeting new people, making great friends, travelling across the world playing for Great Britain, against some of the best players this sport has to offer.
My highlights so far would include winning Bronze in the Pool B World Championships in 2013. I also made it on the telly while I was in Italy for hitting one of the best defencemen in the world, it was so hard that he did a backflip – I did end up in the sin bin, so it was just like back in the day when I was playing rugby, I knew I had found my sport for sure!
Darren was selected, with 5 other members of the Peterborough Phantoms, as part of the GB Team who travelled to Japan in November 2016 for the IPC World Championships.