Ice Flyers and West Florida Hospital Announce Addition of UCF Medical Residents to Team Coverage

Pensacola, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2022) – The Pensacola Ice Flyers announced today they and their hospital provider, West Florida Hospital, have joined with the University of Central Florida College of Medicine to add coverage of the team as part of the rotation for medical residents.

The residents are a part of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) Residency Program at West Florida Hospital (WFH) and will begin the rotation at the Ice Flyers home game this Friday night and continue through the remainder of the season.

“The UCF/WFH PMR residents are excited to partner with the Pensacola Ice Flyers,” stated Program Director, Dr. Susan Belcher. “Under the supervision of WFH team physicians, the doctors will learn cutting edge techniques in sports medicine.”

“This is a great opportunity for the residents to work with professional athletes,” Associate Program Director, Dr. Christopher Burton, commented. “The types of injuries a high-level athlete will sustain during competition are much different than what the residents typically see in clinic from a weekend warrior like myself. Likewise, the treatment options and return to activity protocols can vary quite a bit from how we handle the degenerative changes seen in our active older population.”

Dr. Donald Dewey, Chief of Staff at West Florida Hospital, and an orthopedic surgeon of the Musculoskeletal Center, has been the lead team physician and corporate partner of the Ice Flyers since they began in 2009, and was a key factor in helping connect UCF, West Florida Hospital and the Ice Flyers in the new partnership.

“Comprehensive medical care to our Ice Flyers players and staff is of paramount importance for this professional hockey team in Pensacola,” Dewey stated. “We strive to achieve perfection towards this end and the addition of these excellent physicians from the graduate medical education program from West Florida Hospital and UCF is a very big shot in the arm.”

“Dr. Dewey has been a tremendous asset and supporter of the Ice Flyers throughout the years,” Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris said. “He has created a team of amazing doctors to cover us, and now by helping add medical residents to the team, it gives me even greater assurance that every Ice Flyer will always receive the best medical coverage.”

The residency program began in 2020 with WFH and UCF initially having PMR and Gynecology residencies. They have developed plans to add ER, Internal Medicine and Surgery next year. Each resident is evaluated after medical school graduation and must meet stringent requirements for admission to the residency program. Hundreds of candidates apply for only three to six available positions per year.

“I am extremely grateful to Dr. Dewey and his team, Dr. Jeff Buchalter, as well as the UCF College of Medicine and West Florida Hospital for coming together and approaching us with this partnership,” Harris added. “It is definitely special to be a part of a medical residency training program, and I am excited we can help bring some top doctors to our community from which everyone can benefit.”

“We welcome the physicians with open arms to serve as a vital link between the medical community, the sports community and our number one fans,” Dewey commented. “We look forward to and welcome the admission and inclusion of great medical education program for physical medicine and education and rehabilitation positions with the Ice Flyers.”

WFH and UCF anticipate a long-lasting relationship through the expanding volume of residencies that will add many doctors who are highly trained in specialties into the medical community of Pensacola. The partnership is extremely fitting as they mesh the medical sports and fan-based communities.

Burton stated, “Most Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation residents are very active and enjoy sports, so adding coverage of the Ice Flyers to our training program is a great way to attract the best young doctors to Pensacola. They are a tremendous benefit to our entire community.”

Belcher finished off by saying, “We are so excited for this opportunity with the Ice Flyers. The Residents are looking forward to being part of the championship tradition of the organization and stitching up a few cuts along the way. The partnership will enable Pensacola to become a top training spot for the next generation of physicians.”