By Duncan Mackay at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo

An MoU has been signed between the International Paralympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation ©IOCA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Ice Hockey Federation, agreeing an historic partnership designed to promote and help the development of sledge hockey. 

The MoU was signed by Sir Philip Craven, IPC President,  and René Fasel, head of the IIHF, here where both men are attending the 127th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session. 

Xavier Gonzalez, chief executive of the IPC, was also present at the signing ceremony. 

"There is no better way to round-off a hugely successful year for ice sledge hockey, than with the signing of this MoU with the IIHF," said Sir Philip. 

"Sochi 2014 gave athletes the ideal platform to attract global interest to the sport, and ever since we have been working with new and existing partners to cement that development.

"We are delighted to be working with Rene Fasel and his team on further growing the worldwide impact and promotion of the sport, as well as refereeing and coaching.

"The MOU brings together the knowledge and expertise that exists in both organisations and puts in place actions to raise the profile and progress of ice sledge hockey ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games."

Sledge hockey was a popular attraction at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty ImagesSledge hockey was a popular attraction at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty Images

The MoU includes an agreement to create an ongoing awareness campaign for ice sledge hockey, targeting IIHF Member National Associations and to partner on digital and print communications initiatives.

Refereeing and coaching of the sport will also be incorporated into the syllabus of IIHF annual programs and ongoing training opportunities.

In addition, IPC Ice Sledge Hockey will work with the IIHF to publish guidelines for venue owners and operators on how to make ice rinks more accessible.

"We are happy to be able to help raise the profile of sledge hockey going into the next Paralympic cycle," said Fasel.

"The dedication and effort that these athletes demonstrated in a hard-fought tournament in Sochi showed that this is a sport worthy of the Paralympic Games."

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