Members of Cardiff Huskies. Credit: Katherine Gray.

From life-changing injuries to dreams of Team GB — Wales’ only para ice hockey team

After a life-changing injury last year, all Tom Williams wanted was to play for the Huskies

ATHLETES at Wales’ only disability-inclusive ice hockey team want more home supporters and more sponsorship for their next season at the Vindico Arena.

With a team full of Team GB athletes, they are this year’s UK league champions and one of the most well-established sledge hockey teams in the country.

Tom Williams, 26, recently joined the Huskies after a life-changing injury left him in a wheelchair in April last year.

“When I first had my injury, I thought my life would be confined to just having to live indoors and [being] very insular,” he said.

“But so many inspiring people have told me ‘Your life is still the same, the only difference is you might be differently abled now but you’re still you’.”

The Cardiff Huskies use sledges and a set of two ice hockey sticks with ice picks on the end to play the sport. 

Tom joined the Huskies last September, just five months after his injury.  He had been a fan of the Cardiff Devils, the men’s standing team, for almost a decade and had often seen the Huskies training after their games. 

He now goes to team practices with his dad, using a hoist to get in and out of his hockey sledge.

“When I was first awake from a coma and there were nurses coming round to plan the rest of my life, they came round and they said, ‘What’s the one thing you want to do?’ and I just remembered that para team, the Huskies,” he said.

The Huskies are also home to many para ice hockey Team GB athletes.

“I really want to see myself, even if it’s not Team GB, playing as well as I can, really putting my all into sledge hockey and just seeing how far it goes. Team GB I’d love to do if I can,” he said.

“The sky’s the limit.”

We’d love it if when our season starts, we could get some more supporters.” 

– Emma Douglas, Team GB member

The Huskies coach and member of Team GB, Emma Douglas, joined them six years ago. She isn’t a wheelchair user but suffered an injury which means she can no longer play standing sports. 

Ice hockey at the Paralympics has traditionally been played in mixed-gender teams. However, Emma joined the women’s only Paralympic team when it was first created just two years ago.

Huskies teammates. Emma Douglas (left), Tom Williams (centre). Credit: Katherine Gray.

Playing for Team GB has offered her opportunities such as going to Canada to compete, where ice hockey is the national sport.

“Being part of the GB training and Team GB has been a great opportunity. As a team [it] really benefits us that we’re getting all that GB training coming in,” she said.

Some of the players on the new women-only Team GB had never played para ice hockey before.

“It’s been a massive journey for everybody from that perspective,” she said.

Despite the Huskies winning last year’s UK Para Ice Hockey League, home game support is often low.

“On a good day we might get ten to watch,” she said.

“We’d love it if when our season starts, we could get some more supporters.” 

The Huskies are a mixed-gender team and both disabled and non-disabled athletes can join them. This means that disabled people have the chance to play sports with their families, partners, and friends, sometimes for the first time.


The Huskies are Wales’ only para ice hockey team and current double league and playoff champions! Head to the link in our bio to read more #icehockey #icehockeytiktoks #paraicehockey #ukicehockey

♬ Hockey Night In Canada Theme (HNIC Hockey Night Theme Song) – Dr. Cover Band

Emma’s wife, Jo Harvey, who is club secretary, also decided to get involved with the Huskies to offer on-ice standing support and occasional goalie duties.

“It’s a mixed team which is really nice, everyone gets treated the same, checked the same against the boards,” she said.

She wasn’t a natural ice skater when she started just nine months ago, although you wouldn’t be able to tell. Now she plays for the women’s standing team, Cardiff Comets.

“I was an edge clinger, a desperate edge clinger. I had a go, eventually let go of the sides, and fell over a lot,” she said.

The cost of playing para ice hockey can be expensive, as the price of equipment quickly adds up. There is also little second-hand gear available as the sport is still relatively small.

“A sledge can set you back anything from one to two grand, one to two grand more when you start customizing. Just for a basic pair of sticks it’s 200 quid. Body armour another 100, elbows another 60 or 70, helmet 100 plus,” she said.

Most of the club’s funding comes from the charities or companies who sponsor them. They’re always looking for new organisations who want to get involved with the team.

Daniel Hutchinson, whose company Newport Safety Limited sponsors the team, is running the Bath Half Marathon to raise funds for them. He often goes with his family to watch the Huskies play.

“I want my kids to grow up not noticing [if someone’s in] a wheelchair or not noticing someone missing an arm, they’re just a person,” he said.

The Huskies’ next season begins in May. Games happen around once a month and are free for the public to attend.

  • If you want to sponsor or join the Huskies you can contact them on their website or on Facebook.
  • To support Daniel’s run you can go to his Just Giving page.