American Amputee Hockey Association

History

Put your disability on ice.


Efforts to 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 did.

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 hockey.

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 world.

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�

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