Why Support Sled Hockey
By: Zachary Rodier
Everyone needs exercise, even people with a disability. Sled hockey is a great and fun way to exercise. Sled hockey has most of the same rules as regular hockey, but some of the equipment is different. Sled hockey clubs need help. Equipment can be very expensive and this might prevent people from playing when the whole purpose of sled hockey is for everyone to play. Sled hockey was invented in Stockholm, Sweden in the early 1960s for people that had a love for ice hockey, but physically could not play due to a serious injury. It is referred to as sledge hockey everywhere but the United States.
Sled hockey clubs need many coaches because sled hockey is for all ages and skill levels. If everyone is on the ice at the same time and there is only one coach, people with a lower skill level will not get the help they need. Novice players typically fall down and have trouble righting themselves. They need extra assistance to improve their skill. Extra coaches on the ice means there are more people to encourage them, gather pucks, skate fast, and do what they cannot do on their sleds. Sometimes, sled hockey players might want someone to play games in order to challenge them, for example catching a fast skater. When people first join sled hockey they have no knowledge of how to play sled hockey. They need help!
Even though sled hockey is for people with injuries, the players can still become injured. One of the main reasons players become injured is because of the poor equipment they have. Sled hockey uses all the same pads as regular hockey, but there some needs that are different. Instead of being on skates players sit in a sled. A sled has a bucket which the player sits in with their feet straight in front of them. At the end there is a shield to protect their feet, and is also used as a place for their feet to rest. The legs are also tied to the sled to be secure. There are two blades at the bottom to glide on the ice. Sled hockey is an intense sport with checking which is when an opposing player knocks you down either on the boards or mid-ice. Because sled hockey players are closer to the ice, they have a greater chance of getting cut. Every piece of equipment is padded for this game except the shoes the players wear. There are no specially designed shoes for the sled hockey. Regular hockey teams can help by donating their old skates so that sled hockey players can remove the blades and wear them to protect their feet. Feet without hockey skates can be easily cut. We can't let them leave hockey due to an injury again!
Sled hockey is a great exercise. When people are stuck in their chairs all day they need a decent amount of exercise to make up for not being able to walk around, sled hockey allows them a chance to get out of their wheelchairs and have fun! In most adapted sports you are still in your wheelchair, but people don't want to feel stuck in the same chair all day. If you ever watch a sled hockey practice you will see players honing their skills while smiling.
Sled hockey is a fun sport, but in order for everyone to do it, clubs need help. Assistance is needed. Players feel more comfortable if people are there to help them when they fall or just to pass the puck to them. Equipment is needed too. Again, old skates can help avoid player’s feet to be cut. As a community we have to help each other out and any time given to sled hockey teams is appreciated. Sled hockey players want the same enjoyment regular hockey players have when they step onto the ice. Come out and support sled hockey!