The Power of Powerchair Hockey – Three player perspectives

Ryan pictured left with his teammate and friend Daniel on the right.

Ryan Seck:

“My name is Ryan and I’m currently 16 years old. Being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 3, I’ve always been interested in sports but haven’t been able to play due to my disability. However, after discovering the world of powerchair sports in 2015 through MDNSW, my life changed drastically. Seven years later and I was scouted to be a part of the national powerchair hockey team, The Australian Sliders.

Turning up to my very first powerchair hockey, I was instantly hooked by the game. A fast-paced, intensive, and competitive team sport was the thing that I have always longed for. Getting in the sports chair for the first time was exhilarating and has always been a highlight of my life. Getting used to the sensitive and twitchy chair was tough but I thought it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Using the T-stick was complicated to begin with, but I quickly got attached to play-style. Just like that, the day was over and I could not wait till next time.

My achievements in powerchair hockey so far include three 2nd places in the NSW league as well as 1st place in the league for the first time just last year. Furthermore, my selection to represent the national team at the 2022 Powerchair Hockey World Championships in Switzerland was such a surreal experience. Playing the thing I love and being able to represent my country in it was just the greatest thing ever. Attending national training camps and meeting the best players in the country was just an honour. And on top of all, I would be playing with them in the World Championships!”


Daniel enjoying the game from courtside as he represents Australia

Daniel O’Brien:

“I was first introduced to powerchair hockey in 2015 when I was 7 years old through an advertisement at the facility where I played powerchair soccer. From there, we started engaging in monthly development programs, before committing to a weekly competition.

I started out playing powerchair hockey in monthly training programs for developers at Kevin Betts Stadium. From there, I progressed to playing in the weekly competition, and joining a team. This competition goes for 15 weeks in the summer months. After progressing to one of the highest teams in the competition, I tried out for the world cup selection. After a long day of intense training, the draw was announced. I didn’t believe my ears when they announced my name in the small conference room. And that’s where it all started.

Powerchair hockey means many different things to me. From a sport to a lifestyle. By playing powerchair hockey, I am able to feel like I can do anything. It has opened up an entire new world to me.

There are many benefits to playing powerchair hockey. The huge community of the sport has created some of my closest friends, and exposed me to people like me. Powerchair hockey also develops many mental skills useful in the real world, such as reaction speed. For those who use a stick while playing, the arm usage can also be a great help from a physio perspective.

Powerchair Hockey is a sport played through many countries in Europe and Oceania. The sport is played on a basketball court, with 50 cm high walls ringing the pitch. Depending on your strength level, the sport can be played differently. People with stronger muscle strength can play with a floorball stick with

a flat paddle at the bottom. In comparison, people with a more severe form of disability can use a ‘T stick’. This is two pieces of plastic stuck together in a T shape. You can use this to trap the ball and drive in which direction you want. You can also use it to hit the ball using the wheelchair’s momentum.

In NSW, the weekly round robin is played at Kevin Betts Stadium in Mt Druitt. The number of people playing powerchair hockey has decreased in the past few years. The equipment needed includes a powerchair, and a T stick or floorball stick. These can be borrowed from the venue or from other players.

The people that support me in this sport include my family, and the community within the sport itself. NDIS has provided me with the necessary wheelchair to play this sport at a professional level, enabling me to play in the world cup. The people in the community of the sport may also provide you with the equipment needed such as a T stick or hockey stick.

Powerchair hockey is played at an international level with teams from all over the world such as Canada, Denmark, England and more. In the future, I hope to be able to get to the next world cup in Denmark.

If I could say one thing to young people with neuromuscular conditions about hockey and sport in general, it would be to not feel that you can’t do anything sport wise. There are an infinite number of sports played both internationally and nationally for all kinds of disabilities. The communities that you are opened up to by playing these sports and the friendships you can make are truly special.”


Kieran playing for Australia

Kieran Watts:

“My name is Kieran, I am 24 years old. I started playing Powerchair hockey when I was 11 years old and have loved it ever since. I became involved in the sport as I had several friends who played, and they encouraged me to start playing.

My journey through Powerchair Hockey has been an incredible experience. I have played in the NSW local competition since the 2010/2011 season at the Kevin Betts Stadium in Mt Druitt. My experience at the local competitions were fun and competitive and really shaped me into the person I am today. My Powerchair hockey career really took off in 2018, when I was chosen to be a member of the NSW team in the first ever National Championship. I was then selected for the Australian Nationals team for the 2018 World Championships, which was held in Italy. A highlight for me was being named as vice-captain of the team. At the end of the tournament, I was awarded the most valuable player at the World Championship. Fast forward to 2022, I was again chosen to be a part of the Australian team, where I would be captain at the 2022 World Championship in Switzerland and score a goal for Australia.

Powerchair Hockey is a fast-paced sport and an exciting environment to be a part of. I have made lifelong friends over the years and have had so many incredible opportunities through playing this sport. There are many benefits of powerchair hockey such as, maintaining physical fitness and ability, making new friends and being connected with a community with likeminded people.

In Powerchair hockey we use equipment such as a T-stick, handheld stick (for those that have ability to do so) and either a regular powerchair or a dedicated sports chair, the choice is yours. A T-stick is used by the goalkeeper and blockers/defenders. The T-stick is attached on the front of the powerchair and allows players to maneuver the ball without use of their arms. Players with a handheld stick usually play

attacking positions and use their stick to swiftly pass the ball and score goals. There are usually around seven to ten people on a team however, only five people are allowed on the court at one time.

I have been super blessed to have incredible people support me through my journey with hockey. My mum and dad have been my number 1 supporters, travelling with me overseas for the sport and helping me fulfill my dreams. I have also had amazing support workers assist me with my Journey in the last 12 months.

My goals for the future are to help grow and expand our Powerchair hockey community and see other people fall in love with the sport just like I did. I encourage anyone with a neuromuscular condition to give Powerchair Hockey a go.”