Paralympic Ice Sledge Hockey Infographic Explanation - Image Courtesy of Allianz.com
The sticks are approximately one third the length of a regular hockey stick. They can be made of one or two pieces of wood and they are strengthened with layers of fiberglass. The picks on the end must not be sharp and must not protrude from the end more than 1 cm. The picks do not damage the ice.
The goalie stick has a pick on the heel end as well as the toe. The sticks are so designed as to allow the player to shoot the puck as well as use it for propulsion.
The Sledge is made of aluminum for light-weight, but others are made of steel. The special blades are made of tempered spring steel 3mm thick. The height of the frame is high enough to allow the puck to slide underneath. The player sits in the bucket which is set up for his body configuration depending upon his particular disability. Special braces are fitted to the sledge to allow the players feet, ankles, knees and hips to be held in place without slipping or loosening.
Generally where possible, the arenas where the games are played have the players benches constructed with a very low entry with Plexiglas instead of wood where the boards are. This allows for easier entry to the bench and the sledge hockey players can see the action from where they sit.
If the arena is not set up this way the players will stay on the ice between the red and blue lines while not playing.
Sledge hockey is a hard hitting sport. The puck is moving very fast and the players are battling it out with sticks.
Because of this, the players must wear protective helmets with full face screens. They also wear special padded gloves, shoulder pads with neck protection, shin pads and elbow pads. All of these offer a good layer of protection. The goalie will also wear a special catcher mitt to handle the puck that may hit speeds of up to 80 or 90 km. The puck is made of solid, vulcanized rubber and is 3 inches in diameter.
Ice Sledge Hockey is practiced in 10 countries with club teams now established in Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Russia and Korea.
Based on Ice Sledge Hockey, Inline Sledge Hockey is played to the same rules as inline hockey (essentially ice hockey played off ice using inline skates) and is played in a sports hall and not on ice. Inline Sledge Hockey was originally the brainchild of British Paralympian Matthew Lloyd. Inline Sledge Hockey is being developed to allow everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or not, to compete up to the World Championship level based solely on talent and ability. This makes Inline Sledge Hockey truly inclusive.
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