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Paralympic sports - 11. November 2010.

100 days to IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships

There are just 100 days to go until 11 hard-hitting teams make their way to Solleftea, Sweden for the 2011 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships.

From 12-20 February 2011, a total of 125 athletes are expected to take part in the tournament, which is the biggest European Championships to date. With Russia competing for the first time, many of the teams will be using the ice in Sweden as preparation for winning gold at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Chairperson of the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Sport Technical Committee Mr. Keith Blase said spectators will have a chance in Sweden to watch the intense winter sport and see why it is being noticed by the public.

"Speaking from the perspective of a former coach and someone who has been involved in the able-bodied side as well as the Paralympic side, I am just amazed at the capability of the athletes, their skill levels, and their competitive nature," Mr. Blase said. "And of course the game is so exciting because it is fast-paced and there is a lot of hitting that is associated with it. And I think that's one of the things most appealing to the fans and it is something that they just don't expect."

The European Championships are the biggest event to take place after the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, where team USA took the gold medal, followed by Japan and Norway.

The last Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships took place in 2007, with Norway taking the gold medal and Sweden taking the silver. Both teams are sure to make a big impact on the ice in 2011 hoping to medal again.

Ice Sledge Hockey is one of the most spectator friendly Paralympic sports due to its fast flowing physical nature, and February's European Championships are the biggest event on the 2011 Ice Sledge Hockey calendar.

Updates on ticket sales and further information about the 2011 IPC European Championships will follow over the next few months.

For more information about Ice Sledge Hockey, please visit www.ipc-icesledgehockey.org.
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