Whitby, Ontario – As part of the Durham Region’s commitment to creating more inclusive sports opportunities, approximately $25,000 worth of modifications were made to improve accessibility for sled hockey, also known as para hockey or para ice hockey nationally and internationally, at the Iroquois Park Sports Center to improve Arena 3 in Whitby.
The work was funded as one of the Durham Region 2019 Ontario Parasport Games initiatives and was completed by the City of Whitby in partnership with the Durham Region. The goal was to improve the gaming experience for sled hockey players and give the Durham area more opportunities to host sled hockey events in the future.
The modifications include:
- Replacing the panels on the players’ benches and penalty boxes with clear polycarbonate panels.
- Adding 36-inch wide goals to the players’ benches and penalty boxes.
- Lowering the entrance area to players’ benches and penalty boxes.
- Replace fixed benches with removable benches.
Click here to watch a video of the rink modifications.
Iroquois Park Sports Center Arena 3 is home to the Durham Steelhawks, who over the past 25 years have grown into one of Ontario’s premier sled hockey programs.
“Durham is a caring community; a place where treating one another with dignity and respect fosters a strong sense of belonging for all who call this region home. I am proud of the work that our region does to ensure equal opportunities for athletes of all skill levels. The Durham area is home to some of the best and busiest high performance sports venues in the greater Toronto area. These changes to the rink – and facilities like the Abilities Center – reflect our ongoing commitment to inclusion and accessibility, and I look forward to the positive impact this initiative will have on adaptive sports in our community.”
– John Henry, Regional Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Durham Region
“Whitby has world-class leisure facilities such as the Iroquois Park Sports Center that offer a first-class experience for visitors of all ages and abilities. We are proud to be working with the Durham Region on these important accessibility improvements that will increase and support participation in the sport of sled hockey.”
– Don Mitchell, Mayor of the City of Whitby
“We are proud of all of our gaming initiatives that provide more opportunity and increase participation in adaptive sports in our region. These rink improvements will make Whitby a destination for sled hockey events.”
– Don Terry, Co-Chairman, Durham Region 2019 Ontario Parasport Games
“Our players appreciate these rink changes and can’t wait to get on the ice and try them out.”
– James Titmarsh, general manager, Durham Steelhawks
The community rallied around the Durham Region 2019 Ontario Parasport Games and generated a legacy fund of $112,000. In addition to the accessibility improvements for sled hockey at the ice rink at Iroquois Park Sports Center in Whitby, legacy initiatives include:
- A grant program to support young people from low-income families to take part in parasports in partnership with Durham area charity Their Opportunity.
- Durham Adaptive Sport Collective (which first met in October 2019) and working subcommittees.
- A two-year Parasport School Grow It program run in partnership with the Abilities Center and the Durham Adaptive Sport Collective to introduce parasports to schools in the Durham area, which includes the provision of tuition and some equipment.
- A new annual Adaptive Sport Festival in the Durham area.
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