BARRY’S BAY – Hockey will be accessible to everyone come November.
Barry’s Bay parent Anita Jessup has confirmed that sledge hockey officially comes to the Madawaska Valley next month and everyone, disabled and able-bodied, is invited to join.
Her son Chadd Stoppa will be on the team. In fact, he was the inspiration for bringing the sport to the Bay.
Stoppa was born with hydrocephalus and spina bifida, a condition that prevents him from taking part in some sports including traditional hockey.
Because he was so keen on hockey, his parents began searching for options when he entered kindergarten.
They discovered the Sledge Hockey of Eastern Ontario (SHEO) organization based in Ottawa and registered Stoppa soon after.
“He was thrilled he could be on the ice,” Jessup explained “But Ottawa is really far away.”
So, she decided to start up a similar club closer to home.
Junior development sledge hockey has the same rules that are followed as in ice hockey, with six players on the ice including a goalie.
Players sit and are secured on a sledge, which is a narrow platform with skate blades attached to the bottom, and propel themselves using two specially constructed hockey sticks that have picks on the end.
Jessup said for this season, players will take part in the development level, which is open to all ages and skill levels.
Get your October 22, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.