On Monday, the Prince Albert Raiders and students from the Queen Mary School at the Art Hauser Center were given a demonstration of sleigh hockey including basic skills and learning about the equipment led by expert people involved in the game.
Mia Fairley, secretary-treasurer and coach of the Cut Knife Sledge Hockey Club, and Tracey Arnold, goalkeeper for the national sledge hockey team of Canada, had a question and answer period after the first session. Arnold was the first Saskatchewan born player to make the Canadian national team.
Then the Prince Albert Northern Bears and P.A. Lehner Electric Bantam AA Foxes also came to try it out.
“It was good. It was a full day, and everyone had fun and I think it served its purpose,” Mays said.
Mays added that he also tried sleigh hockey and said that it is quite difficult.
“It’s not as easy as it looks and you use different muscles,” he said, and some of the Raiders players added said it is heavy on the core muscles and shoulders. “The only thing I didn’t know is that you don’t have to be disabled to play and I think a lot of players were a little surprised about that.”
Fairley told paNOW they were asked by SHA to participate because they had been involved in the game for 18 years.
She said that when they first introduce sleigh hockey to a group, they will first familiarize them with the equipment and then let them try.
“We don’t start too deeply with skills in the beginning, because it is often just the whole sensation to sit in the sled and learn to move and even learn to handle the sticks,” said Fairley.
Players learned how to stop on the sled, puck treatment and how body contact works just to name a few.
She added that it can be a bit overwhelming for people who are new to the sport.
“I think the people are more athletic, like when we had the Raiders and those guys in the sleds, we notice that their legs actually contract more than other people,” she said. “The reason for that is because they are trying to use them. We see that they are more tense; they are trying to use every muscle they have at their disposal. But of course in sleigh hockey – to make it a level playing field, you have you no legs needed. “
Fairley said the demonstration generally went well and everyone had a lot of fun.
“There are a lot of smiles, it’s pretty exciting, and like I said it’s a challenge and it’s pretty informative,” she said.
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