Coaches of children’s sledge hockey teams attended a US Disabled Hockey Festival, which took place in the US town of Wesley Chapel between 27 March and 7 April.
The Timchenko Foundation sponsored the trip as part of a junior sledge hockey promotion project and a children’s hockey coach upskilling programme in Russia.
The team of Russian professionals included coaches of teams from Krasnoyarsk and Ufa, as well as professionals from the Children’s Sledge Hockey League. They studied the American system of disabled hockey, which has several hockey disciplines – blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, standing/amputee and sled hockey.
Disabled hockey in the USA exists mostly as an amateur sport and brings together a large community of people who gain experience in teamwork, love hockey and play it despite their disabilities.
“Such sharing of experience is very useful, opines Igor Baradachov, deputy general director of the Timchenko Foundation. – Sledge hockey, which we sponsor in Russia, is but a part of the large system of disabled hockey in the USA. In America, amputees play using prostheses to adapted hockey rules; blind ice hockey enthusiasts can use a puck that makes noise. Our coaches should also learn how their American colleagues motivate trainees and the basics of the Save sport [SafeSport] programme for the prevention of abuse of and cruelty to children.”
Russian coaches also learned how volunteering is solicited, how relations are managed with the parents and families of players and how the training process is run: a large part of it is fitness training; the team trains on the ice once a week on the average.
Based on the results of their fact-finding trip, the placees will prepare reports and will share their knowledge with their Russian colleagues and will continue their relationships with their US colleagues. Plans provide for USA Hockey experts to be invited to speak and teach masterclasses to Russian professionals, as well as for a children’s sledge hockey teams to join the Disabled Hockey Festival in the USA in 2020.