Sledge Hockey is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. Ice sledge was invented in the early 1960s in Stockholm, Sweden at a rehabilitation centre. It is currently one of the most popular sports in the Winter Paralympic Games
Sledge hockey is a full contact sport played using International ice Hockey Federation Rules (IIHF). Players transport themselves along the ice by sitting in a sledge, which consists of two ice hockey blades connected to a frame, which allows the puck to pass underneath. Players sit in adapted sledges, propelling themselves with sticks adapted to allow propulsion in a manner similar to skiing.
As players are strapped to a sledge everybody has the same restrictions, regardless of whether or not the player has a disability. Sledge Hockey has just launched a GB Fast Track programme based at Sutton ice rink (J28 M1) for players from other sports who would like to try sledge hockey with a view to making the 2014 team.
Sledge Hockey was first played in the UK in 1981 and was made a Paralympic Sport in 1996. Great Britain has had teams compete at the 1996, 1998 and 2006 Paralympic games. Although currently ranked twelve in the world in 2005 GB attained their highest world ranking of 5th
Ice Sledge Hockey is played using the same rules as ice hockey and Team GB competed in the Paralympic Winter games in Turin in 2006 as well as Nagano (1998) and Lilliehammer (1994). Off-ice Sledge Hockey, officially called Inline Sledge Hockey, is a new variant of Sledge Hockey developed in the UK by the British Sledge Hockey Association and uses specially designed sledges with wheels.
There is no classification points system dictating who can be involved in play within Sledge Hockey (simply an eligibility classification for Paralympic events) unlike other team sports such as Wheelchair basketball, rugby and sitting volleyball.
Inline Sledge Hockey is being developed to allow everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or not, to complete up to World Championship level based solely on talent and ability.
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