The IC’s own Lisa Harrison-Hall participates in sled hockey. What is sled hockey, you ask? Sled hockey is an alternative sport that uses the rules of hockey. Players use the same equipment as in “stand-up” hockey with the exception of the skates. Instead, they use a sled which consists of a cushioned seat mounted on a tubular sled that has skate blades and a center pivot underneath. The player sits four inches above the ice and is held into the sled with Velcro straps. Two shortened hockey sticks are used to handle the puck as well as propel the player across the ice. If a player is unable to move across the ice then a “pusher, someone to help with the movement of the sled, may be used for assistance.
“It’s awesome! I was extremely athletic before my injury playing softball, basketball, volleyball, track, and flag football. Sports were a major part of my life and sanity. I was introduced to sled hockey this past season and fell in love my first time on the ice. Finally, fifteen years since actively being involved in sports, I am able to fulfill that missing piece of my life,” Harrison-Hall said.
The mission of the Junior Tigers Sled Hockey Team is to promote and develop the health and success of athletes with disabilities through the exhilarating sport of sled hockey and the recreational activity of sled skating. The program is devoted to insuring that all individuals with a disability in the greater Colorado Springs area have the opportunity to participate in recreation and sports.
Sled Hockey, which has been a Paralympic sport since 1994, has a strong following here in Colorado Springs. The Colorado Springs Sled Hockey Association (CSSHA) has worked hard to keep the sport reasonable with fund raising, grants and sponsorships for anyone who wants to remain active with a disability.
“It’s wonderful to see the passion, effort, and excitement of the players and that such an opportunity is available,” Harrison-Hall said.
Legal body contact and raised puck shooting are as much a part of sled hockey as they are traditional hockey. It is a sport that totally integrates players with mobility limitations, amputees, and able-bodied people with knee, leg, or hip injuries, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and spinal injuries that would limit their participation in standard hockey.
Sled hockey gives a person with mobility disabilities the chance to develop strong core muscles, improve balance, improve upper body strength, as well as improve all the physical abilities they do have. Sled hockey is also provides players the opportunity to improve endurance, coordination, social skills and more.
Interested in trying sled hockey? Now is your chance! The CSSHA is offering an afternoon of complementary sled hockey at Sertich Ice Rink, Sunday Decemeber 15th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. come join in on the fun!