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Tough as Nails
Liam Traynor is battling his way towards the Special Olympics.
By Lisa Varga | Photography by Ralph De Pas
As seen in the Spring 2015 issue
 

No matter what team or player you like in hockey, you’re going to be a fan of Liam Traynor.

There are plenty of kids who dream of making it to the NHL, but for one very special boy, he's just happy to play the game.

Traynor is 13 years old, plays sled hockey and has cerebral palsy.

Just a few days after his birth, Liam suffered a stroke, which caused a haemorrhage in his brain limiting mobility in three of his limbs, a condition known as triplegia cerebral palsy.

As he was growing up, Liam had to use a walker to get around and now at the age of 13 is in a wheelchair. But that doesn't stop Liam from doing the one thing he loves and the one thing that makes him feel like a regular kid, playing sled hockey.

Liam plays defence for the Warriors. He uses special custom made hockey sticks that propel him on the ice. His favourite sticks are the ones that were given to him as a gift from his favourite hockey player and best friend, Michael Del Zotto of the Philadelphia Flyers. Another good friend of Liam's is former NHL head coach John Tortorella.

It all began right before a major surgery Liam was scheduled to have. There was an event for the Garden Of Dreams, which is the charity for the New York Rangers, Liam's favourite hockey team. This is where Liam met Del Zotto and Tortorella and their friendships remain strong to this day.

The Special Olympics recently honoured Liam at a gala event in New York to raise awareness and funds for athletes in the Special Olympics. Tortorella was right by his side. Liam was there to represent sled hockey and the athletes who play and he became the new name and face. Sled Hockey is not an event yet in the Special Olympics, but that will hopefully change.

As Traynor gets older, his parents say that it's hard for him to understand the limitations that are placed on being physically disabled. They support him in everything he does and never hold him back from what he wants to pursue. A doctor once asked Liam's mom, "Why can't he be the next astronaut in space? Why can't he be the next President? Why can't he be a doctor?”

Liam's parents are Debbie and Rick Traynor and he has two siblings, twin sister Shannon and younger brother Kieran. Together, as a family, they enjoy life to the fullest and of course, they all love hockey. Shannon plays hockey, as well.

Liam is not only a hockey player, but he's also a fan. When he's not playing hockey, he's watching it, and when he's not watching it, he's playing it on his Xbox. Hockey players are some of the nicest athletes you will ever meet and they are the first ones to make a kid smile if given the opportunity. Liam has gained quite a few friends along the way, including some of the top players in the NHL and the list keeps growing. Liam's life story is encouraging and people are taking notice.

With the help and support from family and friends, Liam has everything it takes to be successful in his rehabilitation, including a new Power Plate he received as a gift to help him get stronger and hopefully walk on his own one day.

Life for Liam has been very exciting, but after years of surgery and treatment, it gets difficult. He is a tough kid with a lot of heart, and when he hits the ice, all of his troubles disappear. Maybe one day soon we will see him in the Special Olympics.

You can watch Liam’s story on Beyond The Offseason, which can be found on www.beyondtheoffseason.com

For more stories from the The Fourth Period Magazine, pick up a copy or subscribe today.
 

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