This article appeared in the October 2016 edition of the Apsley Voice.
Why Can’t I Play Hockey? by Carol Fisher
Have you ever been asked this question by a child, teen or adult who has never been able to enjoy playing hockey due to various challenges? Whether it’s an intellectual disability, Autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome or physical barriers to playing hockey, many individuals feel left out…unable to play a game they love. Do you know that there are over forty (40) Special Hockey International (SHI) teams in Canada giving these girls, boys, teens and adults with physical, emotional and/or neurodevelopmental challenges an opportunity to play the great game of hockey?
In April of 2009 I launched the Kawartha Komets Special Needs Hockey Program in Peterborough so that individuals of varying abilities could achieve their dreams of learning how to play hockey, scoring goals and building relationships with teammates. The Komets program has now grown to sixty (60) players ranging in age from 6 to 43 with both male & female athletes lacing up their skates every weekend. This season we will ice four (4) teams, with rosters determined according to ability not age.
We are actively seeking a parent, grandparent, caregiver, support worker or just an individual who is passionate about supporting “special needs individuals” to launch a team in your community or area. What an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these players. We have seen the beautiful North Kawartha Community Centre, having played a demonstration game there several years ago. We have players who come to Peterborough on Saturday mornings to play for the Komets because there is no team in this area. Some players have stopped making the trip because it’s just too far but they really want to play. They are counting on you to start a team for them.
Playing hockey is just the avenue to help these players learn meaningful life skills needed throughout their lives such as learning how to get along with others, talking to people they don’t know, working as a team, making eye contact and learning to help a struggling teammate. Dealing with loss when you don’t win and helping someone else to score a goal.
We would like to hear from anyone that would be interested in starting a team in the Bancroft/Apsley area because we know there are individuals in this community and surrounding towns that want an opportunity to realize their dreams of playing hockey for a “real” team. This program is for players who cannot play in a regular hockey program for whatever reason. The Kawartha Komets are always looking for teams east of the Greater Toronto Area to play against and your beautiful arena would be a perfect location for this.
We would be more than happy to come alongside anyone wishing to launch a special needs hockey program in this area. “Go for it” and give us a call. You can share in the Kawartha Komets mandate of “Making Dreams Come True”.
Please call Carol Fisher at (705) 750-0655.