The inclusion of female athletes for Ice Sledge Hockey is a step in the direction of promoting greater female participation in this sport and the Paralympic Winter Games in general.
The tournament designation will change from a men’s to a mixed tournament and teams may bring up to 16 athletes if at least one is female.
This decision applies only to the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and the qualification period leading up to. The IPC will continue to explore other initiatives and opportunities to further develop the sport world wide in the lead-up to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Since its debut on the Paralympic Programme at the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Paralympics, Ice Sledge Hockey has quickly become one of the largest attractions for spectators at the Winter Paralympics. It is quick, highly physical and played by athletes with a physical disability in the lower part of the body. Ice Sledge Hockey follows the rules of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) with modifications. Instead of skates, players use two-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath. Players use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.