Para Ice Hockey: Ready for action?
Action on ice is inextricably linked to Ice Hockey. A tough, rough and fast game of which its true fans don’t want to miss a single second. The Gangneung Hockey Centre in PyeongChang could hold their horses during the Paralympic Winter Games of 2018, because the para ice hockey players didn’t let their disability get in their way.
Para Ice Hockey was first discovered by a group of people in a rehabilitation centre in Stockholm in the sixties. The sport became popular very fast and by 1969 the city held five competition teams. After that, the game extended to Norway, Great-Brittain, Canada and Estonia. After its first début in 1994 at the Paralympics, Para Ice Hockey spread even further into Europe, North-America and Asia.
Para Ice Hockey follows the rules established by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IHF) along with a few adjustments. For instance, instead of skates, the players are tied to a sledge with double irons, so there is room for the puck to go underneath. Also, two sticks with spike-ends are used to be able to push and shoot. It is a mixed sport, meaning that a team can consist out of both men and women.
PyeongChang confirmed the rule: Para Ice Hockey is one of the biggest attractions during the Paralympic Winter Games. The stadium was packed and fans were loudly supporting their national teams. Para Ice Hockey is an amazingly attractive game to watch, since it’s a fast game where a lot of tactics and physical endurance is involved. It is tough, but the players show each other respect. The Gangneung Hockey Centre showed what sports is meant to be like.
As a way of support to help develop Para Ice Hockey in other countries, the PyeongChang 2018 organisational committee and the Agitos Foundation collaberated started the ‘PyeongChang 2018’s Dream Project’. This project allowed several countries to obtain materials (sledges, sticks and protection) and they were impulsed with the opportunity to popularize the sport. Check out the website of the International Paralympic Committee for more information.