Sled hockey, also known as ice sled hockey or sledge hockey, outside of the United States, is a form of ice hockey that was adapted for athletes with disabilities. The adapted sport was invented in the early 1960's at a physical rehabilitation center in Stockholm, Sweden. By 1969, Stockholm had a five-team league that included both disabled and able-bodied players. Due to the nature of the fast-paced and full contact sport, it has quickly increased in popularity.
It is played under similar rules to standard ice hockey, but some differences include players being seated on specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades and using two hockey sticks with metal pics or "teeth" on the tips of their handles to propel themselves on the ice. Goalies mostly wear the same equipment but wear modified gloves with metal picks that are sewn into the backside to allow the goalie to maneuver.
Anyone with a disability that would prevent them from participating in traditional “stand-up hockey” would be eligible to play sled hockey, such as people with amputations, spinal cord injuries, spina bifida and able-bodied people with knee, leg or hip injuries. Sled hockey requires a good amount of upper-body strength, balance and the ability to handle the puck.
Not only do hockey players use adapted equipment when playing the sport, but they also play in an adapted rink. The entranceways to the players’ benches and penalty benches from the ice are designed evenly with the ice so the players can access them without the help of a coach or able-bodied person. Another quality that makes a rink adapted is the surface area inside the players’ benches and penalty benches, which are made of smooth plastic or ice, designed for the purpose of avoiding any damage to the players’ sleds.