If your looking for an exciting opportunity to play a sport that many of your friends have enjoyed for years, you have to check out Sled Hockey or “sledge hockey” as it is often referred to in Canada and other parts of the world.
Founded in Sweden in the early 1960’s, and added as an official Paralympic sport to the 1994 Winter games in Lillehammer, Norway. Sled Hockey is quickly becoming the sport of choice for many disabled athletes.
The game differs from ice hockey only in equipment and period length.
Unless there is a penalty, 6 players on the ice for each team; 3 forwards, 2 defensemen, and a goalie. Substitutes may be made when play is stopped, or on the fly. Period length is 15 minutes instead of the normal 20 minutes.
Sled Hockey is played on a regulation sized ice rink with standard size nets and puck. Be prepared to get some good exercise when you play the game!
Don’t kid yourself, sled hockey is a full contact sport and protective gear must be worn at all times: helmet with a full-face mask, shoulder pads, shin guards, elbow pads, neck guard and hockey gloves are mandatory. Hockey pants, kidney pads, and shoulder pad extensions, while not mandatory, are recommended for additional protection.
Instead of just one stick, players use two sticks to pass and shoot the puck, as well as propel themselves down the ice.
The sticks are much shorter than a regulation hockey stick and the angle of the blades is less severe. The butt end of each stick has a metal “pic” attached to each side.
Typically, sled frames are made of aluminum with varying lengths depending on the player’s size and in some cases the length is adjustable to allow different players to use the same sled.
Plastic Buckets are mounted at the back of the frame and often are adjustable, or custom made, to ensure a tight fit. Standard skate blades are attached to a frame on the bottom of the sled. Blades typically can be moved forward and aft to adjust the
center of gravity and in some cases the distance between the blades can be adjusted; based on the riders balance and skill level.
A foot guard and leg rest, standard equipment and available in team colors with the purchase of a custom or Team sled from Mobility Sports protects the feet and keeps the legs off the ice.
There is also a runner on the front of the frame, which keeps the front end off the ice and also prevents the sled from riding on top of another sled.
To perform at your best, it is necessary to become one with the sled and while straps and belts are normally used to maintain proper body position, duct tape has become the strap of choice for many players. Two straps on the bucket and one to maintain foot position are included with all Custom and Team sleds from Mobility Sport.