International Institute for Prosthetic Rehabilitation of Landmine Survivors (IPRLS)
Boston, MA 02111
November 01, 2001
The current project “Amputee Hockey World Team” is a part of the program “US-Russian Prosthetic Rehabilitation Bridge” developed in 1998 by the IPRLS in cooperation with the St. Petersburg Albrecht Institute of Prosthetics (SPIP), Russia. The aim of that partnership program is to utilize new prosthetic technologies and rehabilitation techniques to assist victims of land mines during their reintegration into society in Russia, former Soviet Republics, and other countries.
IPRLS and SPIP formed the first ever Ice-Hockey-on-Prostheses Team “St. Petersburg Elks” in September of 1999. Four players were Russian Army Veterans who lost their limbs due to landmine or gunshot trauma in Chechnya, Nagorny Karabakch and Afghanistan, and one player lost his leg in a train accident when he was 10. A demonstrational match of the Elks was conducted in Lowell, MA, on December 04, 1999. Consequently, the IPRLS recruited eight American amputees playing upright hockey in Boston, MA, and arranged a US-Russian match during the Ice Hockey World Championship-2000 in St. Petersburg.
Alexei Balakhontsev, Captain of the Elks, to the Second State Parties Meeting in Geneva, where he received a medal of honor from Heather Mills and Sir Paul McCartney. The ICBL and the USCBL/PHR included the First International Amputee Hockey Tournament in the program of “Ban Landmines Week” in Washington, DC, March 7-11, 2001. The Russian Team participated in the IPPNW Conference on Small Arm Prevention, Helsinki, Finland, September 27-30, 2001.
Current Capacity and Activities
The IPRLS’ current project is to form an Amputee Hockey World Team, and to link its athletic activities with the ICBL agenda and in the other aspects of the peace movement. The first ever match of the Amputee World Hockey Team will be against Russian Champions of the World and Olympics will be conducted on November 28, 2001, in St. Petersburg. There, American, Canadian, Belorussian and Finnish amputees will join Russian players who are landmine survivors to form a World Team. The team will symbolize a coalition of democratic countries against international terrorism.
The amputees on the Hockey World Team will play in St. Petersburg, and later all over the world. By doing that, they will demonstrate two things: what can happen with sound people if the planet is not cleared of mines, and what landmine victims can do if they have high spirits and friends, and are provided with proper assistance.