The best and brightest minds of Para ice hockey played a part in shaping the future of its classification system at the World Para Ice Hockey Research Expert Meeting in November in Berlin, Germany.
Held in conjunction with the Wold Championships B-Pool and supported by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community; the meeting was the first of its kind and brought together athletes, coaches, sport technical experts and scientists.
The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Medical and Scientific Department and World Para Ice Hockey (WPIH) led the three days of sessions that were interactive and covered topics such as: Athlete Classification Code/Standards, Para ice hockey classification analysis against Code/Standards; classification research framework and match analysis.
World Para Ice Hockey (WPIH) Manager Barbora Kohoutova said: “The three days of meetings here in Berlin were very productive and we are very grateful to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community for providing funding for the first ever WPIH Classification Research Expert Meeting.”
Kohoutova added that the aim was to discuss and plan the sport’s mission toward achieving evidence-based and sport-specific classification in Para ice hockey.
The combination of Para ice hockey experts from all corners, including athletes, created a dynamic group atmosphere and excitement in the progress toward achieving a more even and safe playing field on the ice.
Andrea Macri, WPIH athlete representative from Italy, said: “It was a meeting that needed to be conducted for a very long time and I think we made a good start to accomplish evidence-based and sport-specific classification in Para ice hockey.
“As the athlete representative, I am happy that Peter Ojala and Raymond Grassi were here with us as well which shows deep athlete involvement in the sport. A meeting like this proves that we are doing something for the Paralympic Movement and that we are willing to progress and grow the sport.”
Mia van Bemmel, WPIH Head of Classification from Canada, said: “This was the first meeting of this kind to start the process of critically thinking about evidence-based classification for Para ice hockey. I am very pleased with the progress of this meeting and that athletes had a strong voice about the sport. This group will continue to work together to establish a proposal so that biomechanical research can be conducted. I want to thank all the meeting members who have dedicated their time, expertise and passion for the sport.”