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Athlete Development at UNH

Northeast Passage, in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire, has developed a unique opportunity for competitive athletes with disabilities to train and attend college as student athletes. Students recruited and accepted into the program will train and study along side UNH NCAA athletes. Northeast Passage specializes in training for sled hockey, Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing, but can provide support for rowing, cycling, quad rugby, fencing and shooting, among others. Recruits must demonstrate the academic ability to attain admission to the University of New Hampshire and be currently competing at a national or international level OR be at the top tier of regional competition with potential to advance. Competitive scholarships are available.

We view the center not only as a means to support and develop talented athletes but more importantly as a way to motivate these athletes to pursue a college degree. We believe that individuals with disabilities, provided with the right tools and environment, can excel as both athletes and students.

Besides the development of elite athletes, our Athlete Development Center will build a culture of athletic development and excellence throughout New Hampshire and New England. This culture will be created using both disabled and non-disabled UNH student athletes to mentor junior disabled athletes through regular NEP events as well as at developmental sports camps.

Northeast Passage is involved with U.S. Paralympics on the development of its Paralympic Sport Club program to generate interest in competitive sports for kids with physical disabilities across the country. The Sport Club program is a grassroots program introducing competitive sports to kids from the ages of 12-18. This experience gives the participants an opportunity to gain knowledge of sports, try equipment and receive coaching from those with Paralympic level experience.

University of New Hampshire Admissions
Athlete Development Scholarship Criteria

A few Student Athletes:

Noah Grove: At 18 years old, Noah Grove was the youngest member of the United States Paralympic Sled Hockey Team that won gold at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Noah contributed to Team USA’s success with two goals and two assists during the tournament.

Noah had his left leg amputated below the knee when he was 5 years old in order to stop the spread of bone cancer. Less than a decade later, he began playing sled hockey and was selected for the United States National Development Team in 2014. After two seasons competing on that team, Noah made the National Team in 2016 and helped Team USA earn a silver medal at the 2017 Para Sled Hockey World Championship in Gangneung, South Korea.

Noah is pursuing a Biomedical Science degree at UNH and selected the option in Medical and Veterinary Sciences with a goal of becoming an orthopedic oncologist in the future.

Danny Santos graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2017 with a B.S. degree in Recreation Management and Policy. During his time at UNH, Danny immersed himself in Northeast Passage. Not only did he try nearly every sport and recreation activity offered by NEP but he also volunteered in a wide variety of settings, served as a representative for the organization, and completed a full-time internship prior to graduating.

Danny was born with a rare condition called femoral hypoplasia and began playing sled hockey on Long Island when he was ten years old. He was selected for the United States National Development Team in 2010 and began playing for the NEP Wildcats in 2011 after being heavily recruited. During his freshman year at UNH, Danny picked up Nordic skiing for the first time and competed with Team USA at the 2012 IPC Paralympic Nordic Skiing World Cup in Cable, Wisconsin. In January of 2018, Danny began working at Northeast Passage and also received a mid-season call-up to the United States National Development Team.

Laurie Stephens, Tyler Walker and Taylor Chace all competed in the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada and 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. All three graduated from the University of New Hampshire as student athletes.

Taylor Chace, from Hampton Falls, NH, was a member of the USA Sled Hockey team that brought home a bronze medal in Torino, a gold medal in Vancouver and Sochi. He was named the USOC’s Paralympic Sportsman of the Year for 2010. Taylor graduated with a degree in Sport Studies from UNH.

Laurie Stephens is a dominant women’s alpine mono-skier and a 7-time Paralympic medalist. She is a therapeutic recreation graduate from UNH.

Tyler Walker, from Franconia, NH, is a repeat Winter X Games gold medalist in mono-skier X and a consistent winner on the World Cup circuit. He is a two-time Paralympic medalist in Alpine Skiing. Tyler graduated with a degree in geography and international affairs from UNH.

The mission of Northeast Passage is to create an environment where individuals with disabilities can enjoy recreation with the same freedom of choice, quality of life, and independence as their non-disabled peers.

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