Ice sled (sledge) hockey was invented in the early 1960’s in Stockholm, Sweden by a few hockey players who would not let their disability get in the way of doing what they loved. They modified a metal frame sled with two regular-sized hockey skate blades that allowed the puck to pass underneath. Using round poles with bike handles for sticks, the men played without any goaltenders on a lake south of Stockholm.
However, it was not until 1994 at the Winter Paralympics Games in Lillehammer, Norway that it became an official event. It is now practiced in 12 countries and is governed by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC).
There are many similarities between sled hockey and “stand up” hockey, with just a few differences. It’s great when you can take a sport that so many people love and adapt it with very few modifications for people with disabilities.
The Columbus Blades program is for youth, males, and females who have a physical disability limiting one’s ability to play ice hockey in a standing position. Most sled players are able to propel their manual wheelchair and sit upright with minimal to no external support. If you are not sure whether your child can sit in a sled to participate, contact us and we will give it a try.
If a player is unable to propel their sled, a pusher bar is placed on the back of the sled and a “pusher” is assigned to that player. A pusher is an able-bodied skater with hockey knowledge. If a player has trouble with balancing their sled or cannot get up after falling to one side, lateral anti-tippers may be an option. Our staff includes people with experience in problem solving most player needs: including holding the hockey sticks, positioning, and seating.