Racing to the blue-line at the Michael Cameron Arena with their legs strapped into a sled was how 22 students from St. Gabriel School spent yesterday morning.
In a bid to continue the Olympic spirit by cheering on all our Canadian athletes, their teachers decided to host a sledge-hockey game.
“It’s actually fun, it’s getting easier,” said Trevor Eaton, a Grade 6 student who took a little time to adjust to the unfamiliar movements.
Brought to Canada in 1982, sledge hockey was invented in a Swedish rehabilitation centre in the 1960s to give those who are physically disabled the ability to play hockey.
“We go out to schools through the Sledges in Schools program,” said Suzanne Harrison as she unloaded the black and silver sleds from her van. “It’s just great to get more people coming out.”
On the count of three, Harrison showed the kids how to propel themselves across the ice with two small hockey sticks.
“We want them to understand that even when they are not able to do something, they can find a different way of doing it,” said St. Gabriel teacher Cory Roffey. “They can still be strong academic students, just like these athletes.“
Hopefully, the Paralympic men’s hockey team will do just as well as the Olympic team. In Torino in 2006, Canada won gold, but was defeated last year at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge after the U.S. tied the game with 59 seconds left on the clock.