“IPC Ice Sledge Hockey have been working together with Ottobock to provide a fantastic programme that should stimulate further growth across the sport and encourage more countries and athletes to get involved.”
IPC Ice Sledge Hockey announced its two-year partnership with Worldwide Paralympic Partner Ottobock on Friday (8 March) to develop the sport of ice sledge hockey through the Equipment Loaner Programme.
In total, Ottobock has provided IPC Ice Sledge Hockey with 30 sledges and sticks to distribute to National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) or organisations to build the future of the sport in their respective countries and build those organisations’ capacities to offer the sport.
IPC Ice Sledge Hockey will select the NPCs or organisations who apply for participation in the programme and co-ordinates the distribution of equipment, which is supplied and maintained by Ottobock.
This programme will help emerging nations who are at the grassroots level in the sport, providing them with sledges for either six-month or one-year terms.
Keith Blase, IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Sport Technical Committee Chairperson, said: “IPC Ice Sledge Hockey have been working together with Ottobock to provide a fantastic programme that should stimulate further growth across the sport and encourage more countries and athletes to get involved.”
In the past, IPC Ice Sledge Hockey has faced challenges in helping the sport develop, especially in emerging countries where the sport is still in the early phases and needs more participation from both youth and adults.
This new initiative aims to increase the number of athletes and rehabilitation centres practicing the sport, as well as to increase the number of people with an impairment who regularly practice the sport.
It will also influence emerging ice sledge hockey countries to host public events to create further awareness for the sport.
Gunter Roper, Managing Director of Ottobock Mobility Solutions, said: “As a partner of the IPC, Ottobock provides the athletes of the world with the technical know-how and enthusiasm of its employees. We are happy to help spread the highly attractive sport of ice sledge hockey into more countries and create a broad basis for this rapid game.”
IPC Ice Sledge Hockey is currently practiced in 15 different countries across Asia, Europe and North America, and the sport has been a part of the Paralympic Winter Games programme since the Lillehammer 1994 Games.