The 2018 Winter Paralympic Games kick off with opening ceremonies on March 9th and run until March 18th. Until then we’ll be previewing each sport continuing with today’s feature, Ice Hockey!
Para Ice Hockey (formerly Sled or Sledge Hockey) got its start in the early 1960’s as an adaptive form of hockey at a rehabilitation center in Sweden. The sport was first played on a lake near Stockholm, using modified metal frame sleds with two ice hockey skate blades that allowed the puck to pass underneath. Their sticks were round poles with a bike handle on the end. Today the sleds are lightweight aluminum with a customized bucket to sit in. Players use two sticks with metal picks on one end for shooting, passing and propulsion. All the rest of the equipment such as pads and helmets are the same as stand up hockey.
A big part of its appeal is that there’s very little difference between sled and stand up hockey. Both games are fast and fun with lots of contact! It’s played by a wide range of athletes with a variety of mobility limitations.
Sled hockey was first demonstrated at the Paralympic games in 1976 and became an official event in 1994. This year there will be 8 teams competing with the following seeding:
- South Korea
- Czech Republic
Canada became the #1 seed by beating the defending gold medalists USA at the 2017 World Para Ice hockey championships. The Ice Hockey tournament starts on Saturday March 10 culminating in the Gold Medal match on Sunday March 18th. If you haven’t already, check out our Winter Paralympic Preview and our latest sport preview for Wheelchair Curling. Stay tuned for the rest of the sport previews and exciting news coming out of PyeongChang!