Sledge hockey: A game for everyone
People all over the world love to play the game of hockey, but it wasn't until recently that everyone could play the game.
In the early 1960s two Swedish wheelchair athletes took it upon themselves to re-invent the game of hockey so that people with physical disabilities could play.
In 1961, on a frozen lake in Stockholm ice sledge hockey was invented.
Instead of skates, they created two skate blades on a metal frame that allowed the puck to pass underneath.
They completed the ensemble by including two round poles with bike handles for sticks. Talk about creativity!
The game was an instant success, and after only a couple years of development, five teams competed for the Stockholm City Championship.
It wasn't long until the sport was catching the attention of athletes all over the world — including hockey-loving Canadians!
As a result of the rapid growth of the sport, Sledge Hockey of Canada (SHOC) was created in 1993 and given the title of a national sport federation by the Government of Canada.
In 1994, sledge hockey was introduced as a demonstration sport at the Paralympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Since then, this fast paced sport has become a full medal event and is one of the largest attractions for spectators at the Winter Paralympics.
At the 2006 Paralympic Games in Torino, Italy, Canada captured its first gold medal in Sledge Hockey. The Canadian team's win put the world on notice and was a clear reminder that any form of hockey is our game.
After the victory, star goaltender Paul Rosen was surprised to find that his 2006 gold medal had been stolen.
Hockey icon Don Cherry went on national television and made a convicting request to have the medal returned. In the end, the medal was returned to its rightful owner.
In 2010, the Canadians were the favourite to once again repeat for the gold in Vancouver.
After coasting through the preliminary round, however, the Canadians lost to Japan in a 3-1 heartbreaker.
Japan played a perfect defensive game plan and scored late in the game to pull off the big upset.
Regardless of the loss, our team should feel proud knowing their play has earned thousands of new fans across the country and a new respect and appreciation for their sport and the Paralympic Games.