Friday, November 9, 2012

Accessible Public Skating At Massachusetts State Rinks!

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has officially announced the start of public ice skating November 23 at 42 rinks around the Commonwealth. DCR's Universal Access Program maintains adaptive ice skating equipment at 20 of these rinks.

Towns with state rinks that feature adaptive ice skating sleds are Auburn, Boston, Brighton, Brockton, Cambridge, Franklin, Greenfield, Holyoke, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Medford, Newburyport, North Adams, Plymouth, Revere, Somerville, Springfield, Taunton and West Roxbury.

Ice sleds offer a seated option for skaters who cannot use their legs or who have balance issues too difficult for conventional skating. Those who can use their upper bodies evenly can use two shortened hockey sticks with a figure skating pick on the opposite ends of the blades for self propulsion. A stroller bar handle can be inserted into the back of the ice sled to push sled skaters who cannot self propel or steer. Anti-tippers prevent people from tipping over backwards and an adjustable leg tray allows kids and adults to use most sleds. This equipment offers more inclusion of people with disabilities into the rink experience. Whole families can skate together!

Click here for a reference list of where ice sleds are located in the Massachusetts State rink network. Most rinks have two sleds, two sets of sticks, and one stroller handle. Some rinks (Brockton, Holyoke, Revere, Springfield, West Roxbury, Worcester) have more sleds and handles, and some rinks (Cambridge, Hyde Park) only have kid-sized sleds. (Kids fit well into adult-sized sleds but not usually the other way around!) Call the rinks directly (using phone numbers listed on the link above) or DCR's Universal Access Program at 413-545-5758 for more specific information.

For a full list of DCR skating rinks with public skating hours and directions, click here.

No comments: