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MEET MR. TOM RINN, CANADIAN GOLD MEDALIST
The ASHL Winnipeg has seen all walks of life. From ex NHL players to ex Olympians to current CFL players, but nothing as extraordinary as Tom Rinn. Tom was in a lawnmower accident when he was 5 years old, resulting in his left leg being amputated below the knee. The accident happened in July of that year and as of October of the same year, Tom wanted to be back on skates.
"My parents were extremely encouraging and allowed me to attempt anything I wanted to, not just skating and hockey," Tom said in an email conversation.
Tom grew up playing hockey with able-bodied children. He had never competed against or with other athletes that were missing a limb until he received an invite to try out for the Canadian National Amputee Hockey Team in 2001.
"Walking into a dressing room full of players who all had something in common with me was a pretty amazing feeling," Tom explained.
"Playing with the National Team the last few years has been one of the most greatest experiences of my life," he said again, very enthusiastic.
Tom has been fortunate to have been selected to the team every year since 2001. They have had some great experiences including a demonstration at the 2002 Salt Lake City games, World Championships in Helskinki in 2003, Prague 2004, Jelgava Latvia 2006, Boston 2008, Montreal 2010 and Tampere Finland 2012. Canada has remained undefeated as these World Championships and Tom is one of 5 team members that have all 6 World Championship gold medals.
"I'm hoping to continue playing with the National program as long as I can. We're fighting right now for inclusion in the 2018 Winter Paralympics but need the sport to develop further in Europe. Something though, that's become really important to me now, is seeing kids and new amputees getting on the ice. Many people that go through a tragedy or are born missing a link, thinks that their lives will be significantly altered because of it. That is true in many aspects, but it doesn't mean that sport has to be one of them. The National Team program has done a really great job on helping amputees get back to hockey and used it as a tool to overcome their adversity. It's something pretty special to be a part of," Tom says.
When Tom is not playing for the National team, he is competing with his adult team in the ASHL. Tom is a huge inspiration and we are really proud of what Tom has done, not only for the National team and the amputee community, but the hockey community as a whole.