Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wheelchair Ice Skating, anything you can do...

A couple years ago, Liz Carr wrote a very good article on the BBC Ouch web site called Cripples on Ice*. She discusses her experience ice skating in her wheelchair. 

How easy is it, I was wondering, to find ice rinks where people in wheelchairs may go to skate? How do you get this information? Is it just understood or assumed that persons with disabilities may skate? I looked online to find ice rinks whose web sites noted their wheelchair policies. 

Will you visit a seasonal holiday ice rink or a year-round ice skating facility? It's best to check before visiting.

If you're in England, you're in luck. The best I found for site information is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, UK. They have a clear site link to info and a telephone number for more information. The ice rink at London's Natural History Museum has policies and a calendar of wheelchair sessions on their site. The Winchester Cathedral Rink spell out their policies. 

Winter 2013-2014 it continues to be difficult to find wheelchair skating info on rink web sites. If there is anything about accessibility, chances are you'll find their tech information for reading the web site itself. Telephoning or emailing a venue close to you seems to still be your best option. This post is originally from 2009. Please share information for your local ice rink if they have policies on wheelchair, accessible ice skating and we can add it to the page.

Wheelchairs are allowed on the ice at the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink in Surrey in all but the last session of the day. The same is true for the Tower of London Rink. This wasn't all of the UK ice rinks that noted wheelchair ice skating information, just a sampling. ** Please double check on all information, if you can find contact information. As mentioned previously some of the info is from 2009. I've provided the best links available.

Visit the National Ice Centre's site. It includes a page on disabled inclusion ice skating.

Finding information for US ice rinks was much more difficult. 
The Colorado Springs Sled Hockey Association (CSSHA) is a sled hockey program in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Finding athletic programs was easier than finding mentions on ice rink web sites about any policies they might have pertaining to disabled users.

I found a site that talked about Reno, NV's Rink on the River. The rink is said to have sledges available so people with disabilities can join in the fun. Sledges are sled/skate devices that permit a seated person to maneuver across the ice using short poles. This didn't seem to be mentioned on their own site, but the rink doesn't open until late November.

Boise's Idaho IceWorld was welcoming wheelchairs and adapted recreation equipment on the ice in 2008. Couldn't find this on their 2009 or 2013 page but it may be there. The Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, VA had been offering free ice time for clinics and tournaments, working with groups of people with disabilities. Cannot find this information in 2013. Please call or look deeper into their web site to find out.

If you're in New York, The Schenectady County Recreational Facility has information under Skate Aids. "Upon request, we have permitted wheelchair access on the ice. Those in wheelchairs must be accompanied and propelled by an adult."

Sharks Ice, official practice facility of the San Jose Sharks, California has public skating times including beginner skater periods, Bucket Sessions. "Buckets are used to assist new skaters to enhance their experience at Sharks Ice." This is the closest I could find in the south bay area to anything at any ice rink about accessibility. Again, I would phone to ask. Maybe chairs could be used during this time?

The summer of 2010, Pleasanton, CA was to get a new ice rink should with have special needs programs for physically and developmentally disabled children and a "disabled hockey program providing sled hockey for disabled persons." I can't find working links to this ice rink.

Check out Dublin Ice Land in Dublin, California. They discuss their facilities' catering to all who want to skate and one group they particularly mention is blind skaters. "For over 35 years, Dublin Iceland has promoted skating to people of all ages and abilities. Today, the rink continues to be a hub for recreational skaters as well as Olympic hopefuls."

There are other disability issue articles online in regard to US rinks. This was information about rinks' becoming more accessible to wheelchair patrons who would be watching events and need ramps and proper wheelchair seating.

A few times I came across a video that someone had posted on various 'joke' web sites. The video was described as "Wheelchair Skating. Guy ice skates in his wheelchair."  

A 2001 Wheaton, IL online newspaper article exemplifies online discussions I found about the safety of wheelchairs on the ice.  

Though it should go without saying, all skaters, those with or without disabilities are expected to follow rules and be courteous to others.

Please share any information on wheelchair ice skating so everyone can benefit.

2009/December from Comments, Southern California: Orange County Ice Palace allows chairs on ice as long as they sign a waiver and someone is pushing them at all times. Westminster Ice also allows chairs on the ice, stating that the ticket is the waiver. 2013/14 Note: Looking online I cannot confirm this information for this year. Be sure to call or email first.

Thank you so much for the contribution!

Wheelchair Weddings: I'm looking for additions to my article on disability-friendly, wheelchair weddings. This page is being updated to be re-posted. If anyone has a story, venue, etc to suggest, please stop by. Thanks again.

If you're reading this on my Facebook Fan Page, you may also want to check out my blog.

*Cripples on Ice, Liz Carr

Images:  Liz Carr from Ms. Carr's article on the Ouch Blog

Skating image from Somerset House Ice Rink


  1. just one more thing I had never considered where people in wheelchairs are excluded or limited - that's so much for raising my awareness!

  2. Thanks for your comment. I'd like to learn more about it myself.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your information. One of my best friends is in a wheelchair, and recently we were trying to find a rink in southern california that allowed wheelchairs to be on the ice. I'm happy to say we found two. Orange County Ice Palace allows chairs on ice as long as they sign a waiver and someone is pushing them at all times. Westminster Ice also allows chairs on the ice, stating that the ticket is the waiver. :)

  4. Thanks very much. I'll incorporate this new info into the post.

  5. My wife is a figure skater,she was injured in an auto accident .She is now disabled and uses a wheelchair Is there anyone who might know of a facility on Long Island, NY that could permit her to skate.


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