The new season of sledge hockey started with a resounding win for the Irwin Mitchell and Inspire Peterborough sponsored Peterborough Phantoms,
The city side beat Manchester Phoenix 7-1 in their first league game in a high-octane, physical battle on the ice.
Scotty Turner scored three of the Phantoms goals with two for Gary Farmer while Kieran O’Meara turned in a man-of-the-match display.
Sledge Hockey is predominantly played by people with a disability but due to its uniqueness everyone can enjoy the all-inclusive sport.
Although growing in popularity, clubs around the UK are always looking for new players and Irwin Mitchell is supporting Peterborough Phantoms to help raise awareness of the game and provide new equipment for the team.
Officially classed as the Paralympic version of ice hockey, the sport debuted at the Lillehammer 1994 Paralympic Winter Games. The rules are very similar but instead of skates, players use double-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath. Players also use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.
Irwin Mitchell launched their ‘Don’t Quit, Do It’ campaign to highlight the benefits of sport in helping people recover from serious injuries. Although there are 9.4m people with disabilities in the UK only one in six takes part in sport regularly.
Neil Whiteley of Irwin Mitchell said: “The match this weekend showed what a fast-paced and entertaining game sledge hockey is and with no barriers for participation it’s a great, inclusive way for families and friends to enjoy sport together.
“Through the work we do, it’s truly rewarding to see the role physical activity can play in rehabilitation. Sport can be a huge help for our clients when they are recovering from a serious injury and adapting to new challenges and changes in their lives.
“As well as increasing the numbers of participants we want to improve awareness by showcasing the physical and skilful aspects of the game to a wider audience.”
The Peterborough Phantoms sledge hockey team are now into their sixth season and are supported by Inspire Peterborough who specialise in promoting sport and leisure activities, as well as health and well-being initiatives to support disabled people and their family members and carers.
Nicola Griffiths, development manager at Inspire Peterborough, said: “It’s great to have Irwin Mitchell on board and together we can help promote sledge hockey and increase participation in Peterborough and at other clubs in the UK.
“The team is made up of an amazing mix of people, some who’ve had to overcome difficult challenges in their lives and others who just love the enjoyment that comes with playing sport.
“We’re always looking for new players so if you’re interested then come down to the team’s ‘Bum in the Bucket’ sessions and try it yourself.”
These sessions take place on Friday evening from 4.15-5.15pm at Planet Ice in Peterborough, and are followed each week by Inclusive Ice Skating for people with disabilities, their carers and family members.
The final word should go to the captain of the Phantoms, Matthew Coleman, who helped his team start the season in style.
He said: “I’m over the moon with our win today. It is never an easy prospect when playing our first game of the season away from home, and against a tough team in Manchester Phoenix.
“Every player from Phantoms gave everything they had on the ice to secure the first win of the season. Now we need to start looking towards our next game on the May 21st at our home rink in Peterborough. The game starts at 4pm, and entry is free for all, so I hope we have a good crowd to show their support.”
You can get your FREE tickets to the first Phantoms home game of the season from Inspire Peterborough’s Inclusive Skating session this Friday (May 13) from 4.15pm-6.15pm at Planet Ice on Mallard Road, Bretton, Peterborough PE3 8YN.