Sled (sledge as it's referred to outside the US) 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.
Sled hockey 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 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.
A few rinks around the country are sled accessible. Sled accessible rinks allow players to remain in their sleds and skate off the ice into the bench area. This requires that the bench area is flush with the ice and there is clear plexiglass replacing the white boards.
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.
USA Hockey and the USA Hockey Foundation is offering a sled grant program to assist new start-up sled programs. The purpose of this grant is to help with the initial costs of getting a new sled program off the ground and to ease some of the initial financial burden by providing five (5) new sleds to a participating program
It is quite easy to qualify for this program. Applicants must submit a Sled Grant Application Form (below), the new sled program must be in its first year of operation and a financial statement and/or budget must accompany the application.
The USA Disabled Hockey Section has a great program, called the One Kid . . .One Sled . . .One Shot. . .A Hockey Player for Life! Program that is designed to help bring new players into the sport of sled hockey by initiating a loaner sled program for rinks and organizations who want to conduct “Learn to Play Sled Hockey” clinics but were prevented from doing so due to the lack of sleds and sticks needed to conduct such introductory clinics.
The One Kid . . .One Sled . . .One Shot. . .A Hockey Player for Life! Program is easy to implement. If your rink or organization would like to conduct a “Learn to Play Sled Hockey” clinic, simply fill out the request form located below and submit. Applications will be determined on a first come-first serve basis. The sleds and sticks will be shipped directly to the rink you are conducting the clinic at three days before the date of the clinic. You are then required to ship the sleds back within three days after the conclusion of the clinic. All shipping charges will be paid by USA Hockey. It’s that simple!
This new One Kid . . .One Sled . . .One Shot. . .A Hockey Player for Life! Program will allow your rink or organization to open the doors to a whole new market of potential sled players. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and start a sled program within your rink or organization today!
Thanks to John Hannon, Erich Waldrof, Bill Bodkin, Norm Page, Kevin Newbold, Don Emmerson and various others, USA Hockey has a a new Sled Hockey Basics video. This video is over an hour long and includes everything from information about the sled, equipment, basic drills and skills, along with off-ice training. This video is available free of charge to anyone that would like it. To request a copy, please email DisabledHockey@USAHockey.org. You may also download the video (.mp4) here
Sled hockey has a small variety of equipment suppliers to provide the sleds, sticks, and pics that are unique to sled hockey. All other hockey equipment that is necessary such as helmets, gloves etc. can be bought from any other normal hockey equipment supplier.