Equipment

He scores!

It’s a quick down the middle…she passes it off in front of the net aaaand…he tips it in!

By Chris Murdoch

Volt hockey is Variety Village’s brand new, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-chair recreational and competitive sport. It’s fast, exciting, accessible and a team skill builder, and practically anyone can play.

Quick and responsive
Specialized beechwood chairs have a plastic stick that is mounted facing outward. Incredibility agile, joystick responsive, low to the ground and electric powered, these exceptionally designed chairs provide players with unparalleled performance opportunities. The chairs can turn 360 degrees on a dime, and even reach a thrilling 7.5 km per hour. Safety features include a four-point seatbelt for stability and three fully modifiable sizes for “best fit,” and a myriad of seated heights of athletes and players can be accommodated.

Volt hockey gives youngsters who have previously only cheered from the sidelines the chance to participate in a game. This involvement promises to improve not only the kids’ physical health, but also their emotional and mental well-being. Beyond the immediate benefits of recreation, volt hockey provides opportunities, increases inclusion and builds connectedness, meaning stronger social relationships. Volt hockey is indeed a game changer.

Royal beginnings
Volt hockey began in the 1990s, when the Crown Prince of Denmark donated funds to the Danish Disabled Sports Federation. These funds came from the Prince’s commemorative coin which were then used to develop and build the chair which has been used for Volt Hockey in Denmark and Europe for quite a few years now. The Danish Consulate and Variety Village formed a partnership to raise $100,000 to buy 10 chairs to bring the game to Canada at Variety Village. The Danish Consulate thought the game would be popular here, in Canada, the home of hockey.

Since then the game has grown significantly across Scandinavia, providing access to sport for individuals with physical disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, osteoporosis and dwarfism. It’s now here in Canada and it’s rockin’!

In March Break 2016, Variety Village hosted its first volt hockey camp to introduce the sport to our young athletes. During the camp, Danish volt hockey champion Nicklas Charlton and hockey sport chair manufacturer UB-Let representative Allan Johansen taught eight young athletes with a disability how to play the game and
use the chairs.

Expansion to other communities
Two years later the program is still running with these original athletes, and Variety Village continues to breakdown barriers and promote inclusivity in sport by demonstrating volt hockey in other cities.

Variety Village hopes to roll out volt hockey across Ontario, starting with Markham this summer, and is working toward building a league that can compete provincially, nationally and internationally.

To ask about bringing volt hockey to your community, contact Chris Murdoch at cmurdoch@varietyvillage.on.ca.

Chris Murdoch is the manager of teams and team events at Variety Village. Variety Village is an inclusive and family-friendly fitness, sports and life skills facility in Toronto. It is also a charity that works to help young people with disabilities and those who face developmental barriers to achieve their life goals.

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