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Rules and equipment

Rules of the game

Sled hockey  is played on a standard-size rink with regulation hockey goals, six players to a side including the goalie. Full contact is allowed. Penalties may be called for hooking, roughing, t-boning (ramming an opponent’s sled midships), or other infractions.

Sleds are typically made of lightweight tubular aluminum, 4 to 5 feet long, with double blades mounted underneath. Custom-made models cost $700 to $1,000. The closer together the blades, the speedier the sled; wider apart, they make it easier to maintain balance, especially when pivoting.

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To propel themselves,  players use a pair of cut-down hockey sticks, 18 inches in length, with metal teeth affixed to the nonblade end for gripping the ice. Protective equipment includes gloves, helmets with face guards, and body padding.

In the Northeast Sled Hockey League,  games consist of three 15-minute periods. Extra players remain on the ice, near the team benches, to more easily enter and exit. Teams may employ stand-up skaters — usually no more than two — to push the sleds of players more limited in mobility. Teams may have up to 20 players, no more than five of whom can be able-bodied.


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