Friday, September 14, 2012

Special Hockey Minnesota: another season begins

It's been six years since Special Hockey began in Minnesota. Now there are teams throughout the state and even into North Dakota.

A new season has begun; this year we'll be doing more advanced skill development. A year or two ago we were the national champions. Susie and friends have put together a pretty good program.

Even after 6 years of it, I'm always a bit amazed that it works. The range of players is astounding. One team has a gentle forward who's 6'8". We have six year olds. Girls, boys, women, and men. We have players who are minimally verbal and players with Aperger's who take advanced study classes. We have chair bound players pushed by aides, and players who've played mainstream hockey.

There's been a lot of progress over the years. Even players with significant motor disabilities often learn to skate. Some players have joined rec leagues. Others have used benefitted from a supportive environment to learn flexibility and adaptability.

There are many similar opportunities in Special Olympics, but for us this activity has worked extremely well, and we include many players who would not be SO eligible.

It's a movement worth supporting.

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