The Flis Card: A First for Athletes with Disabilities
On the weekend of December 6, 2003, In the Game, Inc. released the first ever NHL trading card featuring a sled hockey player, as well as an athlete with a disability, Sylvester Flis.
Flis, #4 defenseman for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago?s RIC Blackhawks, has been playing sled hockey for the past eight years, and four years for the RIC Blackhawks. Sylvester Flis was born with Spina Bifida in Stalowa Wola, Poland, and moved to Chicago in 1994 for rehabilitation purposes.
In the fall of 1999, Flis was instrumental in the introduction of sled hockey to the RIC Sports Program, the RIC Blackhawks Sled Hockey Team. The RIC Blackhawks hold the title of the #1 ranked sled hockey club team in the world. Flis led the Blackhawks at the 2002 Malmo Open in Sweden where they became tournament Champions. Flis has had the honor of meeting President Bush, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 for the most goals and points scored in a single Paralympic Games, has been awarded the U.S. Olympic Committee Male Athlete of the Month in March 2002, and was recognized in a proclamation by Mayor Richard Daley by the City of Chicago in May 2002.
Flis? card will be distributed in four ways as part of the "In the Game, Inc., 2003-04 Be A Player Memorabilia Series." Cards will be available at local hobby shops and sports card stores. Check http://www.ncpad.org/658/2675/2004-03-01#6 for more information.
The RIC Blackhawks Sled Hockey program is supported in part by Chicago Blackhawk Charities, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation.