Quad City native strives for gold in Russia
Kevin Mckee got the call two weeks ago. He made the cut.
Kevin – originally from Davenport – will be playing for team U.S.A. in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. His dream came true.
“I was nervous because it’s been a dream of mine to be on the team but I just figured I gave it my all the past couple of years and if I fit into the team then I will be selected,” said Mckee.
And he was.
Kevin moved to Chicago from the Quad Cities in 2010. He originally went to the University of Illinois to play wheelchair basketball, but left after a year to pursue his true passion: sled hockey.
It wasn’t long before he realized he made the right decision. Kevin made the U.S.A. national team in 2011. Winning silver and gold medals, Kevin has been a critical piece to the team. But there was one team he had difficulty making the cut for: the team U.S.A. Paralympics team.
Three years in a row he didn’t make the team. So he trained harder.
“First couple of years it was just a little intimidating because of the speed of the game,” he continued, “I have gotten to the point where physically I’m able to play at that level,” Mckee said.
Even though Kevin now lives in Chicago, his family is still in the Quad Cities. He came back for Christmas to visit family and to train at his old stomping grounds- The Davenport Parks and Recreation Center.
Skaters in the QCA strapped on their skates and hit the ice Saturday December 28, 2013, while Kevin strapped himself in his sled and put on his U.S.A. team jersey and strapped on his helmet.
He glided on the ice as if he were born for the sport. Hitting puck after puck, making goal after goal.
Off to the side of the ice, his father Brian Mckee watches with a smile.
“He’s got heart like none other,” said Brian.
Brian knows Kevin better than anyone. Their relationship got even stronger when Kevin’s mother passed away when he was only 10 years old.
“That was hard on him,” Brian said, “His mother and him were like paper and glue.”
But Kevin has never let adversity slow him down. He keeps pushing to reach his goals. Come February, he will be living his dream. Something Kevin said everyone can do.
“Just don’t give up because I could have easily given up for not making the team for three years in a row because I was too small, but I kept going.”
Proving no dream is too small.
And on March 7th 2014, the Paralympics begin, and Kevin is going for gold.