Since our post about not being able to cover sledge hockey, we’ve learnt two things.
- Teams don’t want coverage. We see you following us, one un-named team. Get in touch.
- The sport isn’t even called sledge any more!
That’s right, the International Paralympic Committee has rebranded sledge hockey as para ice hockey. It makes sense, it’s ice hockey for the Paralympic movement.
And people want it to grow.
While the Motorpoint Arena is usually home to touring pop acts and rock stars, as well as the home rink of the Nottingham Panthers, in late May it becomes the site of the first Great Britain Women’s Para Ice Hockey development camp.
Running from 26-28th May, women of any age and skill are invited to take to the ice and participate – whether it’ll be your first time in a sledge, or you’ve been playing for years.
There’ll be taster sessions for complete novices, as well as development camp-based training sessions for beginners and more advanced players.
Caroline Bonner, who has spent several years training with the male GB para team, explains why this event is huge for the British game:
“There are three national-level women’s para ice hockey teams already in existence: USA, Canada and a combined-European team. If any of us are going to make it to the Winter Paralympic Games, we need more teams. There has never been an event like this for women in the UK, so we’re thrilled that we have the chance to introduce the sport to new people.”
Running alongside the camp is a one-day coaching event – for anyone of any gender – led by the coaches of the Canadian Para team. One of those, Derek Whitson, is a Paralympic gold medallist with Team Canada:
“I’m looking forward to coming over to the UK to share what we know. We all want to increase participation in para ice hockey, both for men and women, but that’s impossible without good coaching skills.”
This session is intended to get those who want to coach Para hockey in a position to be able to do so.
The weekend does cost, but it is very reasonable. £40 gets you weekend access to the development camp, while the coaching session will cost £30, but you’re learning from the very best.