Charlottetown – Hockey PEI has confirmed that the Hockey Canada Sledge Hockey team will be visiting PEI in March for a mini camp. The camp will be held at the MacLauchlan Arena on the campus at UPEI.
This year’s version of Team Canada which will be officially announced in late February and will be heading to Boston for the 2008 World Sledge Hockey Championships March 29 to April 5th. In preparation for the World Championships, they are spending three days in Charlottetown to ready themselves to take on the world. The team will be arriving on March 22nd and will depart Charlottetown on March 25th.
“This is a unique opportunity for the hockey community and the sporting community in general. We are very pleased to host these world class athletes for this camp as they prepare for the World Championships”, states Hockey PEI Executive Director Rob Newson. “This is an exciting sport and the talent of these athletes is truly amazing and a must see for all sports fans”.
The practice sessions will open to the general public and opportunities will exist to meet some of the players. One such player is PEI native Billy Bridges. Bridges was born in Summerside, PEI and was born with a spinal cord disability and has been playing Sledge Hockey since he was 12 years old. At the age of 15, he was the youngest player ever to join Canada’s National Sledge Hockey Team in 1999.
Practice sessions at MacLauchlan Arena (Rink A) will be as follows:
March 23rd March 24th
9:45 am – 12:00 pm 9:45 am – 12:00 pm
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Canada’s National Men’s Sledge Team has a number of achievements to its credit including one world championship (2000), one Paralympic gold medal (2006), one World Sledge Hockey Challenge gold medal (2007) and two World Cup championships (1991, 1992).
SLEDGE HOCKEY HISTORY
Sledge Hockey is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. It follows the rules of the international Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the ice surface and markings, nets and pucks are all the same as able-bodied hockey. Other than the use of specially designed sledges and two sticks, it is very much the same as mainstream hockey; fast paced and highly physical.
The history of sledge hockey began in Sweden in the early 1960’s but it wasn’t until 1982 that Canada had its first team. In 1994 Sledge hockey debuted at the Paralympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway and in 2006 Canada won its first Gold Medal at the games in Torino, Italy.
An associate member of Hockey Canada since 1993, Sledge hockey became an official member at the 2004 Hockey Canada AGM, when the board of Directors approved the full integration of Sledge Hockey within Hockey Canada family of programs. Canada is now the recognized international leader in the development of both the sport and equipment.