(Photo: Buffalo News)
USA Hockey and the NHL are proud to present the fourth annual USA Hockey Sled Classic, hosted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The event takes place this weekend at Robert Morris University Island Sports Center and Blade Runners Ice Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa. The three divisional championship games will take place on Sunday, November 24 at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Sled hockey (known as sledge hockey outside the United States) was created as a way to give disabled athletes a chance to play ice hockey.
Among the 200-plus competitors at the USA Hockey Sled Classic will be 15 members of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. They will be signing autographs for fans on Saturday, November 23 at RMU Island Sports Center from 5-7 p.m.
“The NHL and its member clubs have been tremendous supporters of the USA Hockey Sled Classic,” said Jeremy Kennedy, manager of membership and disabled hockey for USA Hockey. “With the 2014 Paralympic Games just a few months away the interest in sled hockey is significantly increasing. This year’s tournament in Pittsburgh includes the addition of two more teams and a third division.”
All of the competing teams are associated with NHL clubs – Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Sled hockey teams will represent their affiliated NHL club by wearing official NHL licensed jerseys with local club marks and logos.
If you live near one of the NHL teams affiliated with a sled hockey team, I encourage you to look them up! There are also many sled hockey teams in other locations. Sled hockey has the same fast paced, heart racing action we love in traditional hockey with the added benefit of bringing the game to athletes who would otherwise be unable to participate.