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West Valley City Journal

Sled Hockey Returns to Salt Lake City

Aug 30, 2016 03:57PM ● By Travis Barton

Sled hockey is set to return to county run ice centers. Salt Lake City once boasted a nationally ranked sled hockey team.— Salt Lake County Adaptive Sports

Many sports are adapted to encourage everyone to play. In little league the bases are placed closer together; basketball leagues lower the hoop for the younger players. The Paralympic sport of sled hockey is an adaptation for those with lower body impairments.
At West Valley’s Acord Ice Center everyone is encouraged to play the fast moving, high energy full contact sport. Sled hockey (referred to as sledge outside the United States) was invented in Sweden in the late 1960s.
There is little difference in sled hockey and stand-up hockey. The goal is still to put the puck into the net. Sled hockey players use their arms to power themselves around the ice. Play is on a regulation sized ice rink with standard size pucks and goals.  They use shortened hockey sticks with small ice picks on the end to give themselves the traction they need to move around the ice.
“We set up the clinic in August and we will have more upcoming. All to introduce people to the sport. They can come see it, try it out and learn how to skate on the sleds. It is designed for people with lower body disabilities and friends and family are more than welcome too. Anyone can play and it is super fun,” Salt Lake County Adaptive Sports Manager Susie Schroer said.
The August clinic included instruction from Jhon Bryan, an experienced player and former member of the USA Sled Hockey Jr. Development Team.
At one time Salt Lake City boasted a nationally ranked team, The Salt Lake City Golden Eagles. Greg Shaw was forward on that team and also played on the USA National Sled Hockey Team. In the 2013 Sled World Championships he had two assists and the Americans won the silver medal.
“We lost a few players and the team dynamic faded away. Our goal is to bring a team back to Utah. Recently there has been more requests for the sport. We are trying to build the numbers back up with clinics and more opportunities,” Schroer said.
Sled hockey was introduced into the Paralympics in the 1994 Lillehammer Games. The United States won its first sled hockey gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. In those games Team USA swept through the preliminary round of games with a perfect 5-0 record.  They outscored their opponents 22-3, never trailing at any point. The gold medal game was held in front of a record setting crowd of 8,315 fans. In a shootout Team USA defeated the Norwegians 4-3.
For those who are interested in playing, contact the West Valley Acord Ice Center.