Ready, sled, go: New all abilities ice hockey comes to town

Anthony Baltissen and daughter Emma, 5, try out the sled.
Anthony Baltissen and daughter Emma, 5, try out the sled.

Liverpool Saints Ice Hockey vice-president Anthony Baltissen is encouraging all-comers to try sled ice hockey when the club hosts a development day on Sunday, November 24.

Sled ice hockey? It's as the name suggests, using all the skills of traditional ice hockey, but played sitting down in specially-constructed sleds. Two modified sticks are used to both propel the player and hit the puck.

The free development day is part of a drive to launch a competition in Sydney after an appeal by members of Para Ice Hockey Queensland to start a NSW competition.

While the fast-paced game is a paralympic sport, able-bodied people are also permitted to play.

Para Ice Hockey Queensland have donated the ice sleds to Liverpool Saints in a bid to get the competition kick-started.

Para Ice Hockey Queensland have donated the ice sleds to Liverpool Saints in a bid to get the competition kick-started.

"We try to cater for anyone who wants to play ice hockey and try to set them up with a program that best suits them," Baltissen said.

"And this is a great opportunity for people of all abilities to get on the ice and have a go."

It is hoped that the NSW competition will be shared across two rinks, Liverpool Catholic Club Ice Rink and Ice Zoo in Alexandria and lead to a national competition. Depending on numbers the format will range from four-on-four to six-on-six with three to five players on the open rink and each team using a goalie.

Liverpool Catholic Club Ice Rink is already home to Liverpool Saints, the Sydney Sirens Australian Women's Ice Hockey League team and several junior teams, with almost 300 club members registered.

Anthony Baltissen with the modified sled ice hockey sticks.

Anthony Baltissen with the modified sled ice hockey sticks.

Karen Goldberg, who normally volunteers for the Saints on BBQ duty, has already registered for the ice sled competition.

"Normally I wouldn't be able to to take part because I'm in a wheelchair but with sled ice hockey, I'm able to get on the ice and compete with friends and family," she said.

Liverpool Catholic Club President Michael Coffey said: "The chance for a sled ice hockey competition is an exciting addition to their existing offering which will broaden its appeal even more."

  • The development day, which will see registered players demonstrate the sport, starts at 10.30am.