The arena is filled with energy and excitement as the players take their places. The puck hits the ice, and sticks begin to clash. There’s no adrenaline rush quite like that of watching and playing ice hockey — especially when it’s our home team in Phoenix, the Coyotes.
An intriguing variation is sled — sometimes called sledge — hockey. It’s played in a sitting position on modified sleds and is ideal for wheelchair users who are passionate about competitive play. Players use two sticks that are shorter than those used in regular National Hockey League games to propel themselves across the ice and hit the puck. The strategy and rules are similar to those of regular ice hockey.
The Coyotes sled hockey team is composed of players with a range of skills, from beginners to a former national junior-level competitor. The game is a thrill to watch. Team members, however, would say that watching isn’t nearly as thrilling as playing.
Sled hockey has been a paralympic sport since 1994. It had its beginnings in Phoenix in 2001, when the Parks and Recreation Department organized a team that later became the Coyotes. The team is in the Midwest Sled Hockey League and expects to compete in tournament play this January in St. Louis. The Coyotes are also hosting a tournament in February that is expected to draw teams from California, British Columbia and Minnesota.
Unlike regular Coyote play, sled hockey has been unaffected by the NHL lockout. So if you haven’t caught this Coyote team, now is the time. Although team members will tell you in a nanosecond that sled hockey’s a thrill to play, it’s also a thrill to watch.
At Power Mobility and Lifts in Phoenix, we know that the right equipment is essential for your active life. We provide sales and service throughout Arizona, and we’re happy to work with you. Give us a call.
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