MEDICINE HAT, AB – It just a few years ago that Medicine Hat Adaptive Sport and Recreation decided to try their hand at starting a sledge hockey program in the city.
Approaching the two year anniversary of their first game, they’re now getting ready to host their first major tournament.
Medicine Hat will welcome teams from Calgary for their first Sledge Hockey Jamboree set for the weekend of January 12.
The local sledge hockey program has exploded in popularity over the last year, as adult membership has expanded to 25 skaters.
Meanwhile, they’ve attracted a dozen junior members to try out the sport on a regular basis and have launched their own youth program.
Program coordinator Tara Chisholm said the junior program has been one of their biggest successes over the last year, bringing kids interested in the sport together.
“For some of our kids that have never really had the opportunity or came out with our adults in the past, there now is a peer group for them,” said Chisholm. “So, that’s really cool to see.”
The Medicine Hat youth squad will take part in the Sledge Hockey Jamboree alongside the local adult club, while adult and junior teams from Calgary will make the drive down.
Chisholm said it’s easily going to be their most high profile event since the sledge hockey program launched in early 2017.
“With our adult team, we’ve only had a couple exhibition games,” she said. “Where as this, it’s a full-on weekend of games. So, people can come by throughout the majority of the weekend on the Saturday or Sunday and check out sledge hockey.”
She added it’s exciting to see the youth program taking off, giving her a reminder of how far they have come in the past two years.
“We’re almost in the same place we were with our adults a few years ago,” she said. “So, every time we thought we’d only get a handful of youths to start, but it continues to grow.”
Locals will also get a glimpse at what the sledge hockey program has to offer later this month, as Medicine Hat Adaptive Sport and Recreation will be showing off their sleds at the Family Leisure Centre on New Year’s Eve.
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