In just over a week, the three current national level women’s teams will be meeting up in Norway for a three day tournament.
Teams from USA, Canada and a combined European team are playing six games, with training sessions and off-ice activities from the 20th-22nd October at the Skien fritidspark. But despite the competition between the teams, there will be some serious collaboration occurring as well.
Women’s sledge hockey is still not able to be recognised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) due to the small number of teams taking part. During this tournament, the three teams will be discussing ways that they can help promote women’s sledge hockey, and get the additional interest that they need. While no one is willing to speculate about a timescale for the sport’s inclusion into the Winter Paralympic Games – which can’t possibly happen until at least 2022 – they are all aware of the ticking clock.
Japan are in the early stages of creating a women’s team, and several members of the European team are hoping to expand the sport in their own countries, but for now, there are only three. But if those involved are as determined off the ice as they are when they’re on it, there can be little doubt that they’ll achieve their goal and eventually be able to call themselves Paralympians.