Hockey Canada officials say they are "shocked and surprised" by a memo from the International Paralympic Committee that opens up sledge hockey rosters to female players in March at the 2010 Winter Paralympics.

The tournament designation will change from a men's to a mixed tournament, and teams may bring up to 16 athletes if at least one is female, according to a statement from the IPC. The body said it had received "numerous requests" from nations regularly practising the sport, and the IPC's governing board acted by approving an entry provision for qualified teams to add female athletes to their rosters if they wish.

"We just got the letter from the IPC and we're making determinations on it right now," said Johnny Misley, Hockey Canada's executive vice-president of hockey operations. "Only 10 months out from the Paralympic Games, needless to say, the timing isn't the greatest, and there wasn't any serious discussion of this with the national federations."

Source:Globe and Mail

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