Introducing Powerchair Hockey in Victoria


Introduction

Powerchair Hockey is a modified version of Ice Hockey for electric wheelchair users. It is commonly known as “Power Hockey”. The sport is played on an indoor basketball court. There are two teams of five players.

The game was birthed in Europe by accident in the 1970’s when schools began offering sports lessons to students in wheelchairs. Inspired by able-bodied hockey, the students picked up sticks and started hitting a light, plastic ball. Soon this recreational activity became institutionalised and is now an official international sport.

The governing national body for Powerchair Hockey is the Australian Powerchair Hockey Association (APCHA). Powerchair Hockey has been played in New South Wales since the late 1990’s and for some time in Queensland in the early 2000’s. Victoria’s history with electric wheelchair Hockey has focused more on field Hockey but have participated in Powerchair Hockey at Albury Weekends run by both organiations in NSW and VIC. 2017 will see Powerchair Hockey officially introduced as a sport in Victoria’s Winter Season competition. APCHA are responsible for Australia’s participation in international competitions.

Australia first competed in the 2004 World Cup Hockey Competition, in Helsinki. The Australian team was ranked 8th at the 2014 Electric Wheelchair Championship held in Munich, Germany. The game is gaining international recognition and a growing network of athletes and fans.

It is expected that Powerchair Hockey will replace the current National form of Hockey at the National Electric Wheelchair Sports event in the near future.

Powerchair Hockey

Photo credit: http://www.pbase.com/wrs864/australian_powerchair_hockey_nsw_20162017

How to PLAY Powerchair Hockey

Powerchair Hockey follows traditional Ice Hockey rules. However, it is modified to enable play by athletes who use electric wheelchairs for everyday mobility. Players use light-weight hockey sticks or plastic T-Sticks that are mounted onto their footplate to hit a plastic ball.

Players are allocated one of five positions:

  1. Centre
  2. Goaltender
  3. Left Winger
  4. Right Winger
  5. Defencemen

They can alternate positions during the game, provided there are five players on court at all times.  The objective is to score a goal by hitting the ball across the opposition’s goal line. The game is won by the team who scores the most goals.

Basic Rules of Powerchair Hockey

Please click here to download the Rule Book from www.powerchairhockey.org.

Who can play Powerchair Hockey

Impairment Type

To be eligible to play Powerchair Hockey the athlete must use an electric wheelchair for daily mobility. Participants include persons with quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, hand trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury and other disabilities.

Classification

Each athlete is classified based on their physical disability. Classification is done through functionality tests designed to assess the athlete’s upper body range movements and their aptitude with the chair.

Tests:

  1. Is the T-stick or foot stick fastened to the chair?
  2. Hitting a moving ball as hard as possible from the stick side of the wheelchair while driving the wheelchair. Same from the opposite side of the wheelchair.
  3. Pushing the ball with forehand by performing a slalom on high speed around cones. Same with backhand.
  4. Hitting the top of cones while driving the wheelchair between two lanes of cones. Same with hitting the basis of the cones.

From these tests, classifiers group athletes into one of four classes. Each player is given points based on their classification.

There are 4 classes:

Class 1 (1 point)

  • Fastened T-stick or foot stick

 Class 2 (2 points)

  • Able to use stick on 1 side of the wheelchair only
  • Unable to lift the stick or able to lift the stick till sitting height (top of the seat/cushion).
  • Problem on both sides of the wheelchair
  • Weak back/forehand
  • No steering limitation
  • Limitation in using hand stick with driving power and fully maneuvering

 Class 3 (3 points)

  • Able to use stick on 1 side of the wheelchair only
  • Able to lift the stick above sitting height (top of the seat/cushion)
  • Problem at one side of the wheelchair
  • Problem with backhand
  • No hitting limitation
  • Limitation in trunk movement

Class 4 (4 points)

  • Able to use the stick on at least 2 sides of the wheelchair
  • Able to move the stick from the stick side of the wheelchair to the opposite side of the wheelchair and vice-versa
  • Able to play from forehand to backhand
  • No hitting limitation

No complete limitation in trunk

Each team is allowed five players on court with a total of 11 points. Penalties apply for teams that exceed 11 points.

Get Involved

Powerchair Hockey is a competitive, high intensity sport that physically empowers people with a disability. It is a fast-paced, tactical game and thus an excellent spectator’s sport. Australia is slowly climbing the world ladder.

To find out more: info@vewsa.org.au

Where Is it Played

The sport will be played at the Aquahub in Croydon.

Become a Volunteer

Powerchair Hockey is a new sport and relies heavily on the work of its dedicated volunteers. Volunteering is fun, easy and extremely flexible. Spend a couple of hours operating an electrifying event and make an athlete’s dream come true!

To volunteer please contact us at volunteer@vewsa.org.au

Videos

Video Gallery from IPCH Powerchair Hockey Youtube channel.

Resources

Operational Guidelines

Ball Drawing Diagram

Goal Diagram

T-Stick Diagram

Playing Area Diagram