What is Para Ice Hockey?
Formally known as Sledge Hockey, Para Ice Hockey is a variant of ice hockey and can be played on and off ice, using sledges to allow participants to move about the rink at high speeds hitting a puck travelling at speeds of up to 100kph. Players sit in adapted sledges, propelling themselves with sticks adapted to allow propulsion in a manner similar to skiing. As players are strapped to a sledge everybody has the same restrictions, regardless of whether or not the player has a disability.
Para Ice Hockey was first introduced into Great Britain in 1981 and the British Sledge Hockey Association (BSHA, http://www.sledgehockey.co.uk/) was formed in 1995 order to promote and develop the sport. Ice Sledge Hockey is one of the five sports that form the Winter Paralympic Winter Games and a Great Britain (GB) Sledge Hockey team has competed in International events since 1982 including three of the five Paralympic Winter games since Sledge Hockey was included (1994, 1998, and 2006). Ice Sledge Hockey is a Paralympic sport played using the same rules as ice hockey and Team GB competed in the Paralympic Winter games in 1994, 1998 and 2006. Off-ice Sledge Hockey, officially called Inline Sledge Hockey, is a new variant of Sledge Hockey developed in the UK by the British Sledge Hockey Association and uses specially designed sledges with wheels.
There is no classification points system dictating who can be involved in play within Para Ice Hockey (simply an eligibility classification for Paralympic events) unlike other team sports such as Wheelchair basketball, rugby and sitting volleyball. This makes Para Ice Hockey the only fully inclusive sport. Equipment is exactly the same as for ice hockey with the exception of the sledge and an additional stick. Para Ice Hockey is a full contact sport and the rules are the same as those for ice hockey with a small number of additions to allow for the difference in equipment.
The main objectives of the BSHA are to expand the number of teams active in the UK (and by association the number or participants), to re-introduce a national league and to develop the national team to ensure qualification for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
To find out more about Para Ice Hockey take a look at:
Inspire Peterborough and Irwin Mitchell (http://www.irwinmitchell.com/personal/personal-injury-compensation/disability-sport) are proud new sponsors of the Peterborough Phantoms (http://www.phantomssledgehockey.co.uk/)
The club was born in 2011, due to a major push by Planet Ice and the British Sledge Hockey Association, to breathe new life into the game within the UK. Sadly, just before the club formed, the game was on the decline, with only 1 club remaining that could play at a competitive level. This all changed in 2011, when along with the Peterborough Phantoms, and Basingstoke Bisons, they joined the league.
With 3xSilver-trophies each year since, new clubs have come and gone – but the league is always moving forward and more players are coming into the sport. The league now boasts a total of 5 clubs that includes, Manchester Phoenix, Cardiff Devils, Kingston Kestrels, Sheffield Steelkings and Peterborough Phantoms.
In 2011, they won their first trophy, the Play Off finals against the established team, Kingston Kestrels. It took another 2 years for our club to gain experience and in 2013 they won the first Planet Ice League Championship. They followed this up in 2014 with the League and Play Off double, and in 2015 they successfully retained the League Championship for a third time.
The club started with only a small handful of players, and the majority are still with the club today, along with an ever expanding squad that is growing every season. The Phantoms are proud to provide a fully inclusive experience for those new or experienced to the game. They have helped to develop players, who have represented Great Britain at World Championships and Paralympic Qualification tournaments. They are always looking for new members, so if you’re interested in giving this great sport a go, please contact us or the team direct.
The team is based at the Peterborough Arena in Bretton, and they are competing in the Planet Ice Sledge Hockey League this season, attempting to go for our fourth Championship crown in a row along with Manchester Phoenix, Kingston Kestrels, Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelkings. All the home games are played on a Saturday, and each fixture can be found here.