Most of us are unfamiliar with sled hockey, but the sport received major attention recently in The New York Times, which focused on – of all places – Newington, Conn., which hosts the Northeast Sled Hockey League (NESHL) monthly at the Newington Arena. It is the first-ever organized, multi-state, adult sled hockey league in the U.S, with teams representing Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Western Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Sled hockey, also known as sledge hockey, is a fast, exciting, rough-and-tumble version of ice hockey played primarily by people with lower limb mobility impairments. The game is essentially the same as “stand-up” ice hockey, the major difference being that the players use a sled with two hockey skate blades mounted under a seat.
A full slate of action is scheduled for Sunday, February 10 at the Newington Arena, with all the teams in town to play six back-to-back games set to begin at 10 AM and run through early afternoon.
Each team in the NESHL plays eight regular-season games and there are also playoff games. A 45-minute game is played on a standard rink. Players strap themselves into seated sleds with two skates mounted on the bottom, one at the front, one under the seat. They propel themselves with two half-hockey sticks in a fashion similar to cross-country skiers. The stick blades are less curved than those on standard ice-hockey sticks, and the elbows of the sticks are straighter than those on ice-hockey sticks, in part because the players are lower to the ice.
There is a US National Sled Hockey team, which competes in the US Paralympics, and has included members of the Connecticut team and others from throughout the NESHL. According to the league website, “these players have competed at the highest level reinforcing our commitment to provide an environment where our athletes can mature and realize their full potential, both on and off the ice.”
There is more to the story, at http://ctbythenumbers.info/2013/01/05/newington-arena-hosts-nations-only-adult-sled-hockey-league/