Sunday, December 22, 2013

Unique Invention's Ice Sleds

A gentle game of hockey shows ice sleds with and without
stroller bars attached.
Seated ice skates offer a greater opportunity for skaters of all abilities to have fun on the ice. Not just for people who use wheelchairs, ice sleds give ambulatory people with balance,  fatigue, and other issues the ability to switch skating modes and explore new ways to move and play.

DCR's Universal Access Program has been providing ice sleds at state rinks for about 15 years. Ice sleds built by Unique Inventions of Peterborough, Ontario have met our standard for program use and provided hours of fun for users of all abilities indoors and out.

Our original ice sleds feature sliding foot trays and
aluminum anti-tippers to prevent backwards tipping.

Unique Invention manufactures ice sleds for sled hockey, a Paralympic sport which is just as intense as conventional hockey, as well as for recreational use. DCR's Universal Access Program uses sleds purely for recreation, which can include gentle games of hockey. Unique Invention's sled designs have evolved over time and so our collection is quite eclectic, making it easy to serve a wide range of people at skating programs. Unique Inventions has been supportive of our requests for wider sleds than is typical since we include people of all sizes and abilities in our programs, including family members, friends and staff who are able-bodied.

The ice sleds are well built - even the very first sleds we purchased from Unique Inventions are still in constant use. In particular we make great use of adjustable length frames and anti-tippers on all our sleds. We also depend on sleds with high seat backs, chest straps and stroller bars to accommodate sled skaters with more severe disabilities.

New ice sleds suitable for people weighing up to 250 pounds.
White plastic braces to sides and rear of sled prevent tipping.
Most recently we have requested ice sleds which can support people well over 200 pounds. Though our standard size sleds have not been faulty for people beyond their weight capacity we decided we wanted something stronger so larger people can feel more secure. The largest sleds now support people up to 300 pounds and feature a new anti-tipper design to prevent tipping over sideways or backwards. There is a sacrifice of agility in favor of stability but for those at our programs who wish or need to not tip over this is a very secure feature.

Thanks to Unique Inventions for making it possible for people with disabilities to not only play sled hockey with the most up-to-speed competitive equipment but to also enjoy recreational skating with a good selection of durable gear!

To find out more about where to use ice sleds during programs, visit the Winter 2014 Schedule at the top of the page. Ice sleds can be independently used at the following Massachusetts State Rinks. The adult sleds support people up to 200 pounds. Kids sleds  are good for around 75 pounds.

Auburn:  Horgan Rink (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Boston: Steriti RInk, North End (indoors, with windows) - 2 adult ice sleds, 1 stroller bar
Brighton: Daly Rink (outdoors, bathroom not accessible) - 1 adult ice sled, 1 stroller bar
Brockton: Asiaf Rink (indoors)- 4 adult ice sleds, 2 stroller bars
Cambridge: Simoni Rink (indoors) - 3 kid sleds, 2 stroller bars
Charlestown: O'Neill Rink (indoors, fully accessible)- 2 adult sleds, 2 stroller bars
Franklin: Pirelli Veteran's Arena (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Greenfield: Collins-Moynihan Rink (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Holyoke: Fitzpatrick Rink (indoors) - 6 adult sleds, 3 stroller bars
Hyde Park: Bajko Rink (indoors) - 2 kids sleds, 1 stroller bar
Jamaica Plain: Kelly Rink (outdoors) - 1 adult sled, 1 stroller bar
Medford: Flynn Rink (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Newburyport: Graf Rink (indoors) - 1 adult sled, 1 stroller bar
North Adams: Vietnam Vets Memorial Rink (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Plymouth: Armstrong Rink (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Revere: Cronin RInk (indoors, fully accessible)- 4 adult sleds, 2 stroller bars
Roxbury: Roche Arena (indoors)- 4 adult sleds, 2 stroller bars
Springfield: Smead Arena (indoors) - 4 adult sleds, 2 stroller bars
Taunton: Alexio Arena (indoors) - 2 adult sleds, 1 stroller bar
Weymouth: Connell Rink (indoors) - 1 adult sled, 1 stroller bar
Worcester: Buffone Rink (indoors) - 3 adult sleds, 2 stroller bars

All of these rinks have reasonable wheelchair access. Those that are fully accessible include wheelchair accessible bleachers and other features. Ice sleds are free to use - be prepared to pay the rink admission fee, usually a few dollars.

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