About Sled Hockey
Most people are aware of wheelchair sports such as Track & Field and Basketball. What most people don't know is that the disabled can also play ice hockey.
Sled hockey (also called sledge hockey) started in the 1960’s in Stockholm, Sweden. It spread to the United States in 1990, and became an official Paralympic sport in the winter games in 1994. Sled hockey is played in sleds that consist of a plastic seat riding on a metal frame with two blades underneath the seat. Each player has a shortened hockey stick in each hand. The end of each stick has two stainless steel picks that the player uses to push the sled along the ice. The other end of the stick has the blade that the player uses to move the puck, pass, and shoot. Sled hockey rules are essentially the same as standard hockey rules, with a few exceptions made to accommodate the sleds.
Sled hockey gained a foothold in Florida in 2006 with a series of clinics over a spring weekend in Clearwater, followed by the establishment of programs in Miami and Tampa Bay later that year. One of the original participants in the Tampa program was Nick Reinarts of Merritt Island, an eighth grade student at Edgewood Junior/Senior High School. Nick’s father, Tom Reinarts, worked with the Space Coast Iceplex in Rockledge to bring sled hockey to Brevard County. The owner of the Iceplex, Rick Ninko, was very supportive of the idea, and brought in help from USA Hockey and SAHOF (State Amateur Hockey of Florida). Tim’s Kids, a program established by the late Tim Szymula to introduce children to hockey, recognizing the opportunity to make hockey possible for people who normally wouldn’t have a chance to play, has generously taken the sled hockey program under its wing. With help from the Miami program, sled hockey started in Rockledge on January 4, 2008. Since then, the program has grown to 20 players. Last season, our players competed against teams from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Boston, Ohio, Washington DC, Nashville, and many other locations. This season they will play in a number of games against competition from around the country.
Last season, our players competed at all levels of competition. Declan Farmer and Greg Shaw won paralympic gold medals. This season, Chris Douglas and Declan Farmer will compete at the World Championships in April in Buffaloe.
Our goal is to make sure that every player develops their skill to the maiximum possible, from beginners to our players at the National level.
Coach/Coordinator Tom Reinarts
Practices and home games are held at the Space Coast Iceplex in Rockledge, FL
Check out our group in Facebook: Space Coast Hurricanes Sled Hockey