How to Play Sledge Hockey? Rules and Techniques

sledge hocky

Sledge Hockey is also known as the Para Ice Hockey by the International Paralympic Committee. It is also known by two other names, viz., Ice Sledge Hockey or as the United States of America likes to call it, Sled Hockey.

sledge hocky

Sledge Hockey is an outdoor sport usually meant for the physically disabled persons who cannot play the original form of hockey due to the disability in the lower part of their body Importance of Sports. This sport came into being in Stockholm of Sweden in the early 1960s and was first played at a rehabilitation center. It is now the most popular game of the Winter Paralympic Games. In 2018 Winter Paralympic Game, USA won the gold medal/trophy, Canada won the Silver medal/trophy and Korea won the Bronze medal/trophy. The Paralympic Winter Game is played at an interval of 4 years. The previously known Ice Sledge Hockey has been rebranded and named the Para Ice Hockey in 2016.

Gears Required for the Sledge Hockey

Sledge Hockey equipments

Since Sledge Hockey is played on ice, there is a requirement of gears for the sport. Here is the total list of all the gears or equipment that one would need in order to indulge oneself in the sport.

  • Sledge – Sledge is the most important part of the Sledge Hockey sport as it helps one to slide and glide on the ice. The sledge is made up of 80 cm long aluminium or steel material and has a curved front end with a seating system known as the bucket. On two blades, the sledge is set on which are made of 3 millimetres thick tempered steel. The length of the blade is not more than one-third of the sledge. An ideal sledge has a height between 8.5 cm to 9.5 cm above the ice layer. A sledge comes with straps that secure a player’s feet, ankles, knees, and hips to the sledge. The sledge is so made that the puck can pass through the gap underneath the sledge.
  • Puck – In real hockey or golf, a ball is used for playing the game. Similarly, in Sledge Hockey, a puck substitutes the ball. A puck is a vulcanized rubber in general. There are other pucks that are made of some other approved material. The thickness of a puck is 2.54 centimeters while the diameter of the puck is 7.62 centimeters and weighs between 156 and 170 grams.
  • Stick – The stick is another important gear of Sledge Hockey as it is used to support and move the puck to make a goal. In this type of sport, two sticks are used. In one of the end, a hooked blade is present for the handling of the puck and shooting ambidextrously. In the other end of the stick, the stick is modified into a pick. The sticks are made up of carbon fiber or fiberglass and are 1 meter in length. Generally, blades have 32 cm length except for the goaltender’s blade, which has a length of 39 cm at the maximum. The pick end might just damage the ice layer or might just hurt any other player during the game session. To avoid such emergencies, some rules are followed while manufacturing the sticks of Sledge Hockey. The first and the foremost is that the picks or the teeth portion of the sticks do not come is sharp pointed ends. A basic rule needs to be maintained for the stick pick length which must not exceed 1 cm. The pick must have a 4mm length of a minimum of 6 teeth. For goaltender picks, he or she might have a stick with picks at both the end.
  • Protective Gear – Safety in any sport is the prime lookout and should be. Therefore, protective gear comes in handy in this. The protective gear set comprises of the helmet (with a protective cage or a mask), protective padding, shoulder padding, shin guards, elbow pads and large padded gloves (a catcher glove and a blocker gloves). Protective gear must be included in the Sledge Hockey.
  • Warm Clothing – Another important thing one would ever need while playing Sledge Hockey is warm clothing. A warm breathable jacket with breathable tights is what one should wear during the sport. This will ensure protection from the cold as the sport is an outdoor sport played in an ice skating rink or a frozen pond.

How to Play Sledge Hockey

How to Play Sledge Hockey

If this is the first time you are playing Sledge Hockey, then this how to play section will definitely help you. Sledge Hockey is played on the ice skating rink or a frozen pond. There are two teams involved in a single game. Each team consists of six players of which one is the goaltender or a goalie. The players sit on their respective sledges and propel themselves using the sticks across the ice. The sticks have a curved blade like the usual hockey stick that helps to move the puck. The teeth in the opposite direction of the metal blade help in the propulsion and steering. The main focus of the teams is to score a goal in the opponent’s net. At the end of three periods, the team with the maximum number of goals win the match.

Here we reach the end of the Sledge Hockey session. Though the sport is made for the physically disabled persons, yet it has taken up the best position in the Winter Paralympic Games and is played by normal people as well. Sledge Hockey has been played in the other seasons of Winter Paralympic Games. The USA has won the gold in the last three consecutive seasons of Winter Paralympic Games that have taken place in the years 2018, 2014 and 2010. In 2002 also, the USA won the gold in the Winter Paralympic Games. Para Ice Hockey or Sledge Hockey has not been an official sport until the Lillehammer Paralympic Winter Games held in the year 1994.

Rules for Sledge Hockey

Sledge Hockey has certain sets of rules that every player has to follow. The game starts in the center circle with a face-off between both the team. The referee drops the puck and the game starts. Each player tried their best to get hold of the puck. The main objective of this game is to score as many goals possible. The team with the maximum number of goals wins the match.

Bit of aggression is seen in this game when the players try to get the puck. Players use force to get hold of the puck but they aren’t allowed to use force while trying to get the puck. A player can use shoulder, hip and torso to hit the player but this is allowed when the player has the puck with him, this is known as body checking.

Sledge Hockey Penalties Explained: Body checking is allowed during the game but when the players try to hurt their opponent they are liable to penalties. Penalties include minor and major penalties. While minor penalties include trapping the player using sticks and holding the player by force using a stick or hand. Major penalties include fighting with the opponent and hurting them badly.

If a player keeps committing minor penalties he is charged with a major penalty. When a player commits a minor penalty he is removed from the game for 2 minutes, and the team has to play with 5 players. If the opponent strikes a goal during that time period the player can join just after the goal even if the 2 minutes hasn’t been completed. When a major penalty is committed the player is removed for 5 minutes.

Other Rules: There are also some rules that don’t seem that important but plays a very vital role in the game. Like the puck can be moved using a stick and foot, hands cannot be used during the whole game as it will be considered a penalty.

Sledge Hockey Rules: A maximum of 20 players can be part of each sledge Hockey team but only six players can be on the field. The unlimited number of substitution can take place during the game and no prior official permission is required. But if a player is ejected by the referee then substitution cannot take place. Though body checking is allowed in the game if a player targets the head of another player then it is considered as a penalty. A player cannot use offensive method to have control on the puck, as this will be considered as fore-checking.

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