January 24, 2018
By: Gwen Begley
I have been a lifelong hockey fan, but It wasn’t until I interned with the Philadelphia Flyers that I learned the sport was accessible for all abilities. One day after a game, people took the ice in not skates, but sleds. I used to go up to these players after they practiced and played and pick their brains about the sport. I learned a lot from them and always wanted to try it out for myself.
Fortunately, I was able to get that opportunity thanks to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and USA Hockey during an event at the PPL Center. I knew the sport was for people with physical and mental challenges, and I knew that it was a highlight in the Paralympic games, but what I didn’t know, was that it is also open to able-bodied people as well.
At first I thought it might be insensitive for me to try sled hockey. But, upon talking to many athletes who play the sport, they assured me that the it is for everyone, and in fact, that it is even harder than standup ice hockey! They were not wrong.
While you don’t use your legs, you use literally every other muscle in your body. Your core, your arms, it is extremely hard to maneuver that sled while also handling sticks and a puck. I honestly don’t know how they do it, and I admire them even more now that I have tried it.
USA Hockey holds sled hockey camps all over the country, and are actively trying to make it more and more accessible to America’s youth. Even the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are aiming to create a youth sled hockey team right here in town.
Head on over to http://www.usahockey.com/sledhockey to learn more!