Gaylord Sports Association - Gaylord Wolfpack Sled Hockey Team
The Gaylord Sports Association Wolfpack is part of the Gaylord Sports Association, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare’s adaptive sports program and is the only Sled Hockey team in Connecticut. The team is coed and consists of 12 adult players with a range of diagnoses including spinal cord injury, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, amputation and multiple sclerosis. The team is part of the Northeast Sled Hockey League (NESHL) and competes across the northeast from September through May.
Sled Hockey is a sit-down version of hockey, played by individuals whose disability prevents them from playing stand-up hockey. Players use their arms to power themselves on the ice with specially designed sleds, and most of the standard rules of hockey apply.
There is little difference in sled hockey and stand-up hockey, other than the equipment. Players sit in specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades. There are two sticks for each player instead of one, and the sticks have metal picks on the butt end for players to propel themselves. Sled hockey follows most of the typical ice hockey rules and is played on a regulation sized ice rink with standard size nets and puck. Checking and high-speed slapshots are common features of the sport. Sled Hockey has the same energy, excitement and thrills as able-bodied hockey!
Sled hockey is played by a wide range of individuals who have a variety of mobility limitations including limb loss, spinal cord injury, spina bifida and anyone who has a permanent disability that limits participation in stand up hockey. In addition, with the exception of the highest level of competition, non-disabled players are encouraged to participate.
Team practices are held on Sundays from October through April at Westminster School in Simsbury. Additional practices are scheduled during the week at Northford Ice Pavilion. Travel games with the NEHSL league are scheduled monthly from September through March. The team has also travelled to attend the USA Hockey Disabled Festival and the NHL Sled Classic. The team coaches are USA Hockey Certified Coaches and have specialized training in Sled Hockey.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020-2021 NESHL league games have not been scheduled. For updates, please visit the NESHL webpage.
- Three Wolfpack players, Karen Smith, Kelly Lavoie and Rachel Grusse, have been part of the National Women’s Development Sled Hockey Team, competing in national events and helping to further grow the sport of women’s sled hockey. Currently, Rachel Grusse, is a member of the US Team.
- In 2019, the team competed in the Disabled Hockey Festival in Florida and finished 2nd in the National Championship game.
- We joined up with Team USA sled hockey athletes Declan Farmer and Jack Wallace for the 2018 Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago and won the National Championship in Division B.
- The team travelled to Detroit for the Disabled Hockey Festival in April 2016 and placed second in their division. They also became an affiliate of the Boston Bruins and played in the NHL Sled Classic for the first time in November 2016. They again placed second in their division.
- We partner with Camp No Limits at Quinnipiac University and help introduce sled hockey to youth with limb loss during their annual summer sports camp.
- The team was started in 2003 by Chariots of Hope and transitioned to become a program of the Gaylord Sports Association in 2015.
We encourage you to try this fast-paced and exciting sport! It’s not only a great form of exercise and fitness, it’s about building confidence, independence and strength while enjoying the team camaraderie. Competitive opportunities range from recreational all the way to the USA National Sled Hockey Team and Paralympics.
COME JOIN US!
Men and women ages 16 and over who have a physical disability can join the team, as well as up to two able-bodies players. We welcome both new and experienced players and have opportunities for new players to try sled hockey throughout the season.