Most people are aware of wheelchair sport such as Track & Field and Basketball. What most people don’t know is that the disabled can also play ice hockey. The format name for it is Sled Hockey (Sledge Hockey in Canada and Europe). Sledge Hockey was first developed in Norway in 1971 in order to meet the special recreational, emotional and physical needs of disabled children and adults.
Sled hockey is an exciting alternative sport that uses the rules of hockey. However, instead of skating, the players sit on a specially designed sled and use two short ice picks to propel themselves across the ice. Standard hockey rules apply. Legal body contact and raised puck shooting are as much a part of sled hockey as they are in traditional hockey.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an Athlete
To hear the roar of the crowd from the floor of the arena and not from the seats? To dress with team? To listen to the coach as he gives last minute instructions for the next big game? To be a part of something very few people will ever have the experience of being a part of? If you have ever wanted to experience what this would be like, but thought this could never happen to me? Well then, do we have an opportunity for you! Currently, this sport is being expanded into the Florida area and the teams are actively seeking players.
Sled hockey participants discover that piloting a sled is fun and a great form of exercise. It increases strength and coordination and also conditions the lower body. The balance used to propel, play the puck, turn and stop gives legs, back, and abdominal muscles a real work out. In fact, paraplegics playing regularly notice an increase in balance when using their wheelchairs
Equipment for the sport consists of a tubular framed sledge, about 1.5 meters (4-5 feet) long and approximately 7 cm (3 inches of the ice, with two hockey skate blades mounted beneath the seat. A portion of the front frame rests on the ice and provides lateral stability. Straps around the ankles, knees, and waist securely hold the player on the sledge.
Two half meter (1.5 foot) sticks are used. The sticks are modified hockey sticks with 4 cm teeth attached to the bottom of the non-blade end. Leaning left or right while digging the stick into the ice turns the sled. Players slide to a stop on one or both blades like a skater. All players wear regulation protective hockey equipment.
Who Can Play?
The wonderful thing about sled hockey is that anyone can play. This sport is played by both males and females. It’s a sport that totally integrates players with mobility limitations, amputees, and able-bodied people with knee, leg or hip injuries that limit their participation in standard hockey.