organize the sport of amputee ice hockey began just over one year ago as
a result of collaboration between Drs. Mark Pitkin and David Crandell of
New England Sinai Hospital and Rehabilitation Center of Stoughton,
Massachusetts. Mark Piktin, Ph.D. a rehabilitation engineer
originally from St. Petersburg Russia founded the Institute for
Prosthetic Rehabilitation of Landmine Survivors at Tufts University.
He was looking for ways to get amputees back to sports as part of their
rehabilitation. David Crandell, M.D. a physiatrist who specializes
in working with disabled athletes suggested that Pitkin put together a
Russian amputee ice hockey playing upright on their prostheses, bring
them to the US and "we'll get a game�" And so they
The first amputee hockey team, The St. Petersburg Elks, came to Boston
in December 1999 and played an exhibition against and able-bodied hockey
team from the US Postal Service a the Tsongas Arena in Lowell,
Massachusetts. The US National Sled Hockey Team was in Boston for
a training camp at that time and also participated in a demonstration
earlier that same evening. Afterwards spectators came down to the
ice to meet both the US and Russian teams and learn more about disabled
The Elks continued skating, practicing throughout the winter in St.
Petersburg. In May 2000, the World Ice Hockey Championships were
to be held there and Pitkin and Crandell were anxious to bring an
American team to Russia to play the Elks and help raise awareness of the
abilities of these hockey players during this international event.
Six amputee skaters from Boston and Philadelphia, the US All-Stars came
together to practice and train beginning in late March and then traveled
to St. Petersburg to take on the Russians.
The first exhibition match of amputee skaters playing upright on their
prostheses took place on May 10, 2000 during an extended intermission of
the Russian and World Teams "Old-Timers" Game. The
amputee action was physical and exhilarating. In front of a large
crowd at the Ice Palace the USA All-Stars skated to a 0-0 tie.
Despite being out-skated by the Russians (sounds familiar?), the US had
an ideal opportunity to win on a penalty shot by USA captain, Scott
Harrington but the Russian goalie made a great save. It was a
great experience to all participants, the home town and international
crowd, and for the city of St. Petersburg, hosting an historical
sporting event for both disabled and able-bodied skaters from around the
Even before the All-Stars arrived back from Russia the players were
asking "What's next?" In recognition of the need
to expand opportunities for these players and for other amputees looking
to play ice hockey and compete at higher levels, the American Amputee
Hockey Association was formed. The story is being written now.
Come join us�