Local player returning home for the 13th annual Adam Milani Sled Hockey Challenge

(Photo supplied/Chris Kleva, St. Joseph High School Hockey Club)

Former River City Sled Rover, Nick Witkowski, is returning to South Bend on November 26, 2022 for the 13th annual Adam Milani Sled Hockey Challenge at the Ice Box. The challenge is hosted by the Sled Rovers and the Saint Joseph High School Hockey club as part of the Adam Milani Memorial Thanksgiving Tournament.

Witkowski, 18, started playing sled hockey in 2011 at the age of 6, when his mother saw a flyer for a sled hockey clinic and wanted her son exposed to the sport. He suffers from anterior horn cell damage caused by polio and wears a back brace in order to walk.

Witkowski at an early age joined the newly formed River City Sled Rovers and played for them for five years.

In 2016, Witkowski’s family moved to Land O’ Lakes, Florida, where he continued to grow, play and improve his game with the Space Coast Blast, a competitive sled hockey team in Florida.

In 2021, Witkowski was selected to play with the U.S. Men’s Development Sled Hockey team.

In 2022, he was selected to play with the U.S. National Sled Team, where they competed in the first ever International Para Hockey Cup in Ostrava, Czechia. The U.S Team and Witkowski went 5-0 in the tournament and won the gold medal, beating Canada 4-0. Witkowski played in all five games of the tournament and tallied an assist.

Witkowski will be at the Sled Hockey Challenge, Thanksgiving weekend, to greet the sled hockey teams, show off his gold medal that he and the U.S. Sled Hockey team won, and see his former teammates and former coach, Jay Lewis.

“It was clear early on that Nick was very talented, plus a great kid to coach”, said Lewis. “It broke my heart when he moved to Florida, but we kept in touch and I’m not surprised he has made it to the national team. We are really delighted to welcome him back.”

If you or anyone you know want to learn about or play sled hockey, contact Sled Rovers head coach Jay Lewis at or 574-276-0726 to get involved. To meet Nick and watch sled hockey come to the Ice Box, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Nov. 26, to see the River City Sled Rovers compete against sled teams from Fort Wayne, Bloomington, IL. and Indianapolis.

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