LETHBRIDGE, AB – Therapeutic Recreation in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services is offering a free try-it day for sledge hockey. The sport is an ideal one for people with lower-body mobility issues.
Sledge hockey is like traditional hockey with a few sport-specific modifications. Players sit in a specifically designed sled with two regular-sized hockey skate blades that allow the puck to pass underneath. Players use two sticks that have metal picks on the end to propel them on the ice.
Melissa Mangone is a Recreation Therapist with AHS, and says the program was first started back in 2011. “It was treated out of client need. We had quite a few clients on our caseload with an interest in hockey. Due to various health effects like stroke, amputation, motor vehicle accidents, they were no longer able to play stand-up hockey.” She adds the aim of therapeutic recreation is for participants to have improved health outcomes through engagement in sledge hockey.
Mangone says tomorrow’s try-it day it just that, a chance for people to give the sport a go. “We want to get people from the community to come out and give it a try. Skating around on the sled, doing some passing and shooting. It’s a fairly new sport and not many people know much about it.” She adds that the sport is physically demanding with the upper body. “Its challenging but very fulfilling when people get on the ice and have the freedom to go fast and play a sport. Its quite exhilarating for them.”
Mangone says while she is doing her job, its very rewarding for her. “My role is to treat these conditions and have these individuals successfully experience leisure despite their psychological, physical, and social limitations. It is so nice to see people out there having fun and enjoying a new sport.” Mangone is hoping to gain more interest in the sport and hopefully establish regular players for the 2022-23 season.
The try-it day is booked for 1 to 2 p.m. tomorrow at Nicholas Sheran Ice Arena, 401 Laval Boulevard West in Lethbridge.