The 2009 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships (A Tournament) are in the midst of final preparations in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Taking place from 9-16 May, athletes from around the world will make their way over the next several days to Ostrava for the event, all hoping to bring back a hard-earned win. A total of eight teams will be competing at the World Championships, including Canada, Japan, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, USA, Italy and Korea. The championships will be divided into two different groups (A and B), with four teams in each pool.
The teams will also have the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games on their minds, as the World Championships mark the final winter season event for 2008/2009. The Paralympic Winter Games next year, taking place from 12-21 March, will give athletes in Ice Sledge Hockey another chance to show their elite skills in the Paralympic Sport at the highest level.
The venue for the 2009 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A is the Ice Arena SAREZA, a modern multi-purpose arena which can hold up to 5,000 spectators and has wheelchair access to the auditorium and all other important areas. The ticket price for the event is 25 Czech Crowns (EUR 1). Tickets are valid for both the morning and afternoon games and can be purchased at the box office of the Ice Arena SAREZA.
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 male 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.