About Sled Hockey
Sled hockey is an adapted form of ice hockey. Players use some different equipment, including a sled and two small sticks with picks on the end, but otherwise play the same game by the same rules. The sport is ideal for athletes with lower-body disabilities. But each team can also have several able-bodied athletes as well, given that being strapped into the sled takes away nearly every advantage such athletes would otherwise enjoy.
Sled hockey was invented in Stockholm in the early 1960s. After a slow start, the game was first demonstrated at the Paralympics Winter Games in Sweden in 1976 and became an official game at the 1994 Paralympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
History of the River City Sled Rovers
The River City Sled Rovers were founded in 2011, after Chris Kleva and the St. Joseph High School Hockey Team hosted several exhibitions in South Bend between the Grand Rapids Sled Wings and the Turnstone Flyers. A group of parents and friends formed River City Challenged Athletes, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that now manages both wheelchair basketball and sled hockey, as well as other programs for disabled athletes.
The Sled Rovers purchased their first set of six sleds and stick sets in late 2011, and soon added an additional six sleds and stick sets because of overwhelming interest in the team. Continuing fundraising and sponsorship efforts have enabled the River City Sled Rovers to purchase additional sleds, equipment, and uniforms.
The Sled Rovers are affiliated with the local wheelchair basketball team, the River City Rollers. Thanks to the Irish Youth Hockey League, we are also affiliated with the IYHL Rovers hockey program.
The Sled Rovers are a combined team of youths and adults, following the model that the Ft. Wayne team did when they got started. They hope to grow in numbers to the point where they can one day split into 2 teams, one adult team and one youth team, but still share the ice for practices. For now, they are a combined team that competes with both youth and adult teams in the region.
The Sled Rovers’ season starts in October and continues through March each year. We practice nearly every Sunday (but not in December) and play in a number of scrimmages and tournaments, depending upon what we are able to schedule each year.
Thanks for your interest in Sled Rover hockey!