Ice Sledge Hockey, a competitive sport

In the early 1960s at a rehabilitation centre in Sweden a group of men invented Ice Sledge hockey as a means of continuing playing the sport despite their physical impairments. They modified a sledge by adding two ice hockey skates onto it (meaning the puck could pass under the sledge) and, using round poles with bike handles attached as sticks, played the first ever match on a frozen lake near Stockholm.

By 1967 the sport was being played on a regular outdoor rink and had spread from Sweden to their Scandinavian neighbours Norway.

Two years later in 1969 Stockholm hosted the first international match between a local team and one from Oslo. From there it spread further afield and is now played around the world. As a thrilling, fast paced and extremely physical sport it is, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most watched sports at the Winter Paralympics. In 2016 it was ‘rebranded’ as Para Ice Hockey.

In 1981 Great Britain established its first team and the British Sledge Hockey Association (BSHA) was formed in 1995 to further develop and act as an advocate for the sport. In line with the name change, it is now also known as ‘GB Para Ice Hockey’.

Ice Sledge Hockey, a Paralympic event

Two teams from Sweden played an exhibition match at the inaugural Winter Paralympics in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 1976 but it only became an official Paralympic sport at Lillehammer 1994 (which was incidentally the first time the Winter Paralympics and Winter Olympics were held in the same place). It has been a constant presence ever since.

Ice Sledge Hockey at the Winter Paralympic Games

  • 1994 Lillehammer, Norway
  • 1998 Nagano, Japan
  • 2002 Salt Lake City, USA
  • 2006 Torino, Italy
  • 2010 Vancouver, Canada
  • 2014 Sochi, Russia

British Ice Sledge Hockey medal winners

Although Team GB has competed in 3 Winter Paralympic Games, 1994 Lillehammer, 1998 Nagano and 2006 Torino (Turin), they have yet to win any medals.

How Ice Sledge Hockey has evolved 

In terms of equipment, the basic design of the sledge hasn’t fundamentally changed since the Swedes’ initial version in the 1960s. Nowadays though equipment is professionally made and can be adapted to each player’s needs.

Rules of Ice Sledge Hockey

ice sledge hockey

Who can participate?

There is no classification points system for ice sledge hockey meaning that it is fully inclusive. It has very quickly become one of the most popular attractions for athletes who have an impairment of a permanent nature in the lower part of the body.

The rules are, on the whole, the same as for ice hockey (only allowing for some modifications because of the difference in equipment). Therefore, the aim of the game is to score more goals than the opposition and to try and stop them scoring.

There are three, 15 minute, periods. Six players (out of a possible 15) from each team are on the ice at any one time (usually 3 forwards, 2 in defence and a goalkeeper). There is also overtime and shootouts to determine a winner.

Players use an adapted sledge which is fitted with two blades so that the puck can travel beneath it. They have two playing sticks each, allowing them to push across the ice and also for controlling the puck. Each stick has two ends, one a spike (for pushing) and the other a blade (for shooting), although either may be used to shoot.

Players also need to wear protective equipment including a full cage helmet/mask, shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin pads and gloves. The goalkeeper wears additional padding as protection from flying pucks travelling at up to 100kph.

Governing bodies (Facebook page for GB Women’s Para Ice Hockey)

Regional clubs

Cardiff Huskies 
Kingston Kestrels 
Manchester Mayhem
                                    [email protected]
Peterborough Phantoms

References (Huskies claim the title in October 2018) (video of BBC Look North visiting the Sheffield Steelkings before their maiden season, from 2015)

British Ice Sledge Hockey League

The Peterborough Phantoms

The Peterborough Phantoms were established 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. Prior to 2011, 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 Basingstoke Bisons, we joined the league.

Each year since, new clubs have come and gone but the league has continued to move forward, and now more players are coming into the sport. The league now boasts a total of 5 clubs that include the; Manchester Mayhem, Cardiff Huskies, Kingston Kestrels, Sheffield Steelkings and the Peterborough Phantoms.

In 2011, we won our 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 we won the first Planet Ice League Championship. We followed this up in 2014 with the League and Play Off double, and in 2015 we successfully retained the League Championship for a third time. 2016 saw us win our 4th League Championship in 4 years, along with our 3rd Play-Off Tournament trophy.

The club started with only a small handful of players, and the majority are still with us today, along with an ever-expanding squad that is growing every season. We are proud to provide a fully inclusive experience for those new or experienced to the game.

We have helped to develop players, who have represented Great Britain at World Championships and Paralympic Qualification tournaments.

Current GB players who play for the Peterborough Phantoms are; Matt Coleman (Forward), Darren Brown (Defence), Robin Gaze (Goal) and Scotty Turner (Defender).

Read Peterborough Phantom player Naomi Adie's story here

Matt and Namoi from the Peterborough Phantoms Sledge Hockey Club on the Ice Photo of the Peterborough Phantoms Para Sledge Hockey Club Dave from The Peterborough Phantoms Sledge Hockey Club on the ice