Just What is Olympic Sled Hockey?
In researching information regarding a story about athletes from Missouri and Illinois in this year’s Winter Olympic games, I came across one athlete, Steve Cash, 24 of Overland, Missouri, who underwent amputation surgery at age 3. Cash will compete on the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team as the goaltender for the United States Sled Hockey team. This is a team I didn’t even know existed. So just what is sled hockey?
Sledge hockey (known as sled hockey in the United States) is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. Ice sledge hockey was invented in the early 1960s by two disabled men from because they wanted to continue to play hockey despite their physical disability. Their design included two skate blades on a metal frame that allowed the puck to pass underneath and includes two round poles with bike handles for sticks.
Essentially all of the regular ice hockey rules in able-bodied ice hockey leagues apply to ice sledge hockey. The entrance ways to the players’ benches and penalty benches from the ice are built flush with the playing ice so the players can access them without the help of a coach or able-bodied person.
Don’t look for NBC to cover these games because the actual competition runs from March 7 – 15 (after the current Olympic Games conclude). The United States meets Italy on March 7 for there first round action.