Fifteen participants took part in a World Para Ice Hockey Development Camp from 9-13 December in Ostrava, Czech Republic, which was supported through the NPC Development Programme, powered by the IPC’s International Partnership with Toyota.
Coaches and athletes from Hungary and Latvia were invited by World Para Ice Hockey to learn more about the sport and had five introductory on-ice sessions. Participants from Great Britain and the Czech Republic also joined in on the camp.
The on-ice sessions were led by World Para Ice Hockey Sport Advisor Emma Poynton with the help of the Czech Republic’s national team coaches.
Participants were given an introduction to the sport’s basic skills, were able to meet in small groups with international classifiers to learn about the classification process and took part in video sessions about penalties and game analysis of past World Championship and Paralympic Winter Games matches.
On the final day of the camp, participants took part in a friendly match against the newly formed Ostrava Para ice hockey club — a match officiated by World Para Ice Hockey officials Martin Rapak (CZE) and Igor Hus (SVK).
The participants were also invited to the Czech Republic-Russia game at the International Para Hockey Cup on 12 December.
Both Hungary and Latvia have well-established ice hockey programmes and are now looking to add Para ice hockey to their repertoire as the sport continues to grow since it was added to the Winter Paralympics programme in 1994.