Teen shines on Paralympic hockey team

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Brody Roybal was born with no legs. But that didn't stop him from trying any number of sports at an early age.

His mom, Michelle Roybal, remembers thinking he looked like the Peanuts character Pigpen when he'd hit a baseball and kick up dust when using his arms to swing and scoot his upper torso down the baseline.

But baseball wasn't his sport. As soon as he tried sled hockey, at age 7, he found his passion.

"That was it," says Roybal, who's now 15 and a sophomore in high school in suburban Chicago. "It's all I wanted to do."

Roybal joined a youth sled hockey team in the Chicago area known as the Hornets. The participants, who can't use traditional skates because of varying disabilities, sit in sleds and use two shorter sticks to propel them around the ice and to control the puck.

By age 12, Roybal was so good that he started playing with an adult team — a big challenge for a kid, since the adult game is so much more physical. (AP)

Brody Roybal, 15, prepares for an early morning workout on the ice on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Bensenville, Ill. Roybal, who was born without legs, is the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team which will be playing in Sochi, Russia in March 2014. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Brody Roybal, 15, smiles during a Spanish class at West Leyden High School in Northlake, Ill. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. Roybal, a sophomore, is the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team which will play in Sochi, Russia in March 2014. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

In this fall 1998 photo provided by his family, Brody Roybal crawls on carpet in Northlake, Ill. Though several ultrasounds were done, no one knew Brody would be born without legs, his parents said. But after some physical and occupational therapy, he needed no other treatment and did his best to keep up with other kids and play sports, staring in preschool. (AP Photo/Family Photo)

Brody Roybal, 15, wheels down a hallway with his friend Nick Fredrickson at West Leyden High School in Northlake, Ill. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. His father, Robert says, in many ways he’s "just another average teenager," - one, he adds, "who's lucky enough to go to the Olympics." (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

West Leyden High School Security Guard Kevin Nawracaj holds Brody Roybal, 15, to get a a drink from a water fountain during a weight training session at the school in Northlake, Ill. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. Nawracaj helps the sophomore train during Roybal's lunch hours. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Brody Roybal, 15, talks with his parents Robert and Michelle as he does homework at their home in Northlake, Ill. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Robert says they’ve pushed him a lot to be independent - "pretty hard sometimes." But the 15-year old, who was born without legs, says he appreciates now that many people he encounters respect his independence. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Brody Roybal, 15, practices with his high school hockey team in Franklin Park, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. Roybal, a high school sophomore, is the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team which will play in Sochi, Russia in March 2014. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Brody Roybal, 15, shoots a goal during a practice with his high school hockey team in Franklin Park, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. He's been playing sled hockey since he was 7. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Young members of the Hornets youth sled hockey team prepare to play during a team practice in Addison, Ill. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. Brody Roybal, a high school sophomore, played on the team until he was 12. Now 15, he is the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team which will play in Sochi, Russia in March 2014. Sled hockey allows people who can't use traditional skates to play the game. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Brody Roybal, 15, left, talks with J.J. O'Connor, the general manager of the Hornets youth sled hockey team during a team practice on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Addison, Ill. O’Connor, who lost use of his arms and legs after a hockey accident when he was a teen, said he feels like he’s living vicariously through Roybal. "Everybody dreams of representing their country and being an Olympian and winning a gold medal," O’Connor says. "That's something that I wasn't able to do. And this is the next best thing." (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

In this Nov. 2, 2005 photo provided by the family, Brody Roybal plays with hockey sled teammates in Bensenville, Ill. Brody started playing sled hockey at 7 for the Hornets, a youth sled hockey team in the Chicago area. He's now a member of the U.S. Paralympic sled hockey team which will play in Sochi, Russia in March 2014. (AP Photo/Family Photo)