Beginning Oct. 1, a previously used sled and sled hockey sticks belonging to U.S. National Sled Hockey team member Chris Douglas (St. Cloud, Fla.) will be part of the “Everyone Plays!” exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The exhibit showcases the innovation of adaptive sports and the athletes who participate and excel in competitive sports with adaptive equipment. Located on the first floor of the museum along the Artifacts Walls, the exhibit will be available for museum visitors until March 2017. For more information on the exhibit, click here.
Douglas, who was paralyzed after spinal cord injury when he was 11 years old, is in his third season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. A member of the gold medal-winning U.S. squad at the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship, Douglas has helped Team USA claim two World Sled Hockey Challenge titles (2015, 2016) and was named the U.S. Player of the Game after scoring the game-winning goal in the championship game of the 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championships.
Sled (sledge as it's referred to outside the United States) hockey was invented at a Stockholm, Sweden, rehabilitation center in the early 1960s by a group of Swedes who, despite their physical disability, wanted to continue playing hockey.
The sport follows most of the typical ice hockey rules with the exception some of the equipment. Players sit in specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades. There are two sticks for each player instead of one and the sticks have metal pics on the butt end for players to propel themselves. Goalies wear basically the same equipment but do make modifications to the glove. Metal picks are sewn into the backside to allow the goalie to maneuver.
Sled hockey provides opportunity for many types of disabilities and there are opportunities available in local areas for recreation/competition all the way to the National Sled Team that plays in the Paralympics. Sled hockey is rapidly growing in the US and players are "hooked" once they touch the ice the first time. For more information on sled hockey, click here.
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is continuing to renovate its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on democracy and culture. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000