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Kaitlin Burnam

COMM1071
5 March 2015
Payne Rankin
Topic: The history, rules, and current state of sled hockey, with a particular focus on the sport in
the U.S.
General Purpose: To inform
Specific Purpose: To inform my COMM1071 class about the Paralympic sport of sled hockeys
history, rules, and success in the United States.
INTRODUCTION
I.

(Attention-getter) Every two years, millions of Americans follow the Olympics, but

II.

the Paralympics seem to go unnoticed by most of those same people.


(Relevance to audience) If you have never watched a Paralympic sport, the most
important thing to realize is that they are simply adaptations of the Olympic sports
you love watching for example, there is a Paralympic version of ice hockey known

III.

as sled hockey.
(Credibility material) If you know nothing about sled hockey, learning about it is
not difficult to do, thanks to the resources available via the Internet and in many local

IV.

rinks.
(Central idea) Sled hockey is a sport with a rich history, adapted from an Olympic
sport and growing in popularity in the United States today.

(Link: All of this is reflected by the story of how sled hockey originated.)
BODY
I.

Ice sled hockey, called sledge hockey outside of the U.S., was created by people with
the hearts of true hockey players they wouldnt let anything, not even a physical
disability, keep them away from the game they loved.
A. Sled hockey is a game that allows individuals with disabled legs to still play
hockey.

B. According to the About The Sport page, found on Paralympic.org on February


27, 2015, sled hockey was invented in the early 1960s by patients of a Stockholm,
Sweden rehabilitation facility.
1. They started out playing on a lake.
2. By 1969, there was a full-fledged sled hockey league in Stockholm.
C. From then on, international matches began to take place, between countries such
as Norway, Great Britain, Canada, the U.S., Estonia, Japan, and of course,
Sweden.
D. Sled hockeys first Paralympic Games appearance was in the 1976 Games, held in
Sweden, not as an event, but as an exhibition.
E. It was made an official event for the 1994 Paralympic Winter Games, where
Sweden took home the gold medal.
F. Sled hockey has appeared in all Winter Games since then, and a World
Championship tournament is held in the off years.
(Link: It makes perfect sense that sled hockey would be included in the Paralympics, because it
is the counterpart to a Winter Olympic sport.)
II.

Sled hockey has all the same rules as standing ice hockey, with a few modifications
made to accommodate for the challenges and advantages of being in a sled during
gameplay.
A. Sled hockey requires a different skill set and the use of different muscles; in this
video, you will see that some of the best ice hockey players in the world can
barely even stay up in their sleds. (0:53-1:52 of Gatorade Sledge Hockey video)
B. Players sit in sleds with bucket seats and two parallel blades beneath the seat, with
a supporting bar by the toes.
1. The space between the blades and the bar is raised from the ground, so that the
puck can be passed from hand to hand under the sled.

2. Instead of one long stick, players have a short stick in each hand, with ice
picks on the ends, used to propel themselves along the ice surface, as well as
to handle the puck.
C. Players in sleds do not skate backwards.
D. If a player has limited use of one or both of his or her arms, he or she may have a
pusher.
1. The pusher wears full protective equipment, a team jersey or warm-up, and
holds onto a curved bar on the back of the sled.
2. The pusher may not skate backwards or faster than the fastest player on the
other team.
3. The pusher may not communicate with the players or obstruct the play in any
way.
E. According to the 2011 USA Hockey Disabled Coaching Manuals section on sled
hockey, once players are old enough, body checking is allowed, just as it is in
standing ice hockey.
1. Pushed players cannot check or be checked.
2. Players cannot T-bone other players.
(Link: The closeness to standing ice hockey gameplay makes sled hockey a great way for
hockey lovers with spinal problems, difficulty walking, amputations, and other physical
limitations to get the full experience of being on a hockey team.)
III.

The desire for that experience has caused sled hockey to prosper in the United States.
A. Three sled hockey matches from the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games were
broadcast on NBCSN, with the gold medal game being featured on NBC.
1. The article Television schedule set for Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter
Games, published on February 19, 2014 on TeamUSA.org by the United
States Olympic Committee, says that this was an unprecedented amount of
television coverage for the Games, coming in at 52 hours for all events, eight
of those allocated for sled hockey.

2. The gold medal sled hockey match was deemed the highlight of NBCs
Paralympic coverage.
B. Team USA took home the sled hockey gold medal.
1. This was Team USAs third gold medal and fourth medal overall in the sport.
2. Team USA also earned the gold at the 2009 and 2012 World Championships,
where their overall medal count is five.
3. In addition to the teams winning record, many of its players have served the
country in the military.
C. In keeping with USA Hockeys purpose, To help communities grow hockey from
a grass roots level, local sled hockey organizations are popping up around the
country.
1. These programs are largely fueled by donations and volunteers.
2. They provide opportunities for people of all ages and all physical ability levels
to get on the ice.
3. The local team, founded in 2008, is called the Cincinnati IceBreakers.
a. At practice you can see a mix of children, teens, adults, males, females,
experienced players, brand new players, players with pushers, coaches,
parents, and volunteers all working together smoothly.
b. The players participate in tournaments throughout the Midwest each year.
c. They also have fundraising events, such as the Flying Pig Marathon and a
demonstration at the Cincinnati Cyclones game.
D. In addition to local teams, there are also specialty teams, such as select teams, and
the USA Warriors team for injured military veterans.
(Link: The game has spread around the world and found success in America, where there are
opportunities for people of all ages and lifestyles to get involved with sled hockey.)
CONCLUSION
I.

(Summary statement) Today you learned that sled hockey has its origins in Sweden,
created as a way to adapt traditional ice hockey for people with limited use of their
legs, and has been a success after coming to the United States.

II.

(Audience response statement) If you ever get a chance to see a sled hockey
demonstration or help out at an event, take advantage of the opportunity to observe

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the dedication and heart of the players.


(WOW statement) Sled hockey truly is a game for everybody.

Works Cited
About the sport. IPC Ice Sledge Hockey. International Paralympic Committee, n.d. Web. 27
Feb. 2015.
About Us Cincinnati IceBreakers Sled Hockey. Cincinnati IceBreakers Sled Hockey, n.d.
Web. 27 Feb. 2015.
Brennan, Dan and the USA Hockey Disabled Section. Disabled Coaching Manual. USA
Hockey, 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2015. PDF file.
GatoradeCanada. Gatorade Sledge Hockey. Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 Jan.
2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.
Television schedule set for Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Team USA. United States
Olympic Committee, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2015.
USA Hockey White Paper for Disabled Hockey Disciplines. Cincinnati IceBreakers Sled
Hockey. USA Hockey Disabled Section, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2015. PDF file.