Wanna Know More About Our Top Ten Special Hockey Team Finalists?

UCT Gives Back to Special Hockey Video Contest is in to the third week of the voting phase – with over 21,000 votes tallied so far!!! Our top ten finalist special hockey teams are collecting votes from all over the country!  Let’s meet our top ten finalists!

West Michigan Patriots – West Michigan’s only special needs hockey program!  Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the mission of WMSHA is to offer an amateur level ice hockey program for children and young adults with any developmental disability. Their goal is to help as many kids get into skates and on the ice as they possibly can as every child should have the right to enjoy the fun of playing sports, the joy of teamwork, the achievement of hitting a ball, crossing the finish line or scoring a goal. For more information contact Marie Sly at info@wmspecialhockey.org and visit www.facebook.com/wmspecialhockey.com.

Bucks County Admirals – Located in Warminster, PA, the Bucks County Admirals started in 2007 with 13 players and have now grown to a roster of over 30 players ranging in age from 5-25.  They have a great group of coaches as well as a wonderful supporting cast of student coaches who show up every week to teach the players the great game of hockey.  The team looks forward every year to traveling to some new location to compete and meet other special hockey players who love the sport of hockey. For more information contact Brian Damiani at brian@simplifiedlogistics.com and visit http://bcsn1.org/ 

California Condors – Located in Simi Valley, California, the California Condors were created in 2006 and at the time the only program in California for kids and adults with development disabilities to learn and play hockey. Since, the Condors have inspired the creation of three other special needs teams in California. The Condors are a proud member of ASHA (American Special Hockey Association) and the hockey community.  For more information contact Rita Eagle at ritaeagle@yahoo.com and visit https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaCondorsSpecialNeedsHockeyClub

Boston Bear Cubs – Located in Quincy, Massachusetts, the Boston Bear Cubs’ mission is to offer an amateur-level ice hockey program, at minimal cost, for children and young adults with developmental disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder or other developmental disability. Massachusetts Special Hockey is open to any player aged 6 or older, male or female, who is physically able to play, but would be unable to participate in another organized hockey program due to his or her developmental disability. Special Hockey players will learn about teamwork. They’ll learn from their coaches, but more importantly, they will learn from their peers—their teammates. For more information contact John Quill at jquill@specialhockey.org and visit http://maspecialhockey.org/.

CCYHA Columbus Blue Jackets – Located in Columbus, Ohio, the CCYHA Columbus Blue Jackets is ice hockey for individuals with developmental disabilities. Their goal is to provide children and adults who have developmental disabilities with the opportunity to play ice hockey in an environment adapted to each athlete’s level of physical and mental ability. For more information contact Chris Wenzke at cwen0569@gmail.com and visit http://www.columbusspecialhockey.com/ 

Valencia SNAP Flyers – Located in Valencia, California and founded in March 2012 by a collection of Special Olympics coaches, the Valencia SNAP Flyers is open to all ages and genders, and no skating experience is required.  This program is 100% staffed by experienced special needs volunteers and provides opportunities for mobility, learning, and teamwork. This engaging and therapeutic special needs hockey team is provided at virtually no cost to the athlete’s families, and to date the team is 100% privately funded. For more information contact Dave Chase at dc@snaphockey.org and visit www.snaphockey.org.   

San Diego Chill – Located in San Diego, California, the San Diego Chill special hockey program was created by Isaiah Grant, a peewee hockey player who wanted to give back to the community as part of his Bar Mitzvah. The Special Needs Ice Hockey program is a not-for –profit organization, run by parents and volunteer coaches who are skilled at working with kids with special needs. Special needs players not only learn to skate – they learn about cooperation and teamwork; they develop social skills and they experience camaraderie; they have fun in this exciting sport, and they feel great pride as they develop their skills and make that goal – like any other player!  For more information contact Lisa Becker Granet at lisagranet@gmail.com and visit http://www.sandiegochill.org/.

Southern Connecticut Storm – Located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Southern Connecticut Storm Special Hockey program is dedicated to providing children from the age of five through young adult with a developmental disability the opportunity to play ice hockey. Their therapeutic program teaches skating and hockey skills, as well as gives the player the opportunity to play a team sport. Through hockey, the program emphasizes the continued development of individual life skills such as self-reliance, dependability, focus and confidence. Prior skating or hockey experience is not required. For more information contact Debbie McQuilkin at dmcquilkin@specialhockey.org and visit www.ctstormhockey.org.

Pasadena Maple Leafs – Located in Pasadena, California, the Pasadena Maple Leafs special needs hockey program is designed to teach hockey to athletes with developmental disabilities! This is a wonderful opportunity to learn to play this exciting sport in a safe, supportive, family-friendly environment, with an experienced and dedicated coaching staff. Some requirements for this program include participants should be 7 years of age or older; their athletes have a range of diagnosed developmental disabilities, including (but not limited to) autism spectrum disorder, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and cerebral palsy; full hockey protective gear is required and equipment will be available for participants free of charge as-available (please note that our equipment is donated, so we may not have all gear needed for every athlete); ability to skate is an asset, but is not required for participation. For more information contact Crissy Finney at specialhockey@pasadenahockey.net and visit www.pasadenahockey.net.

Pittsburgh Emperors – Located in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Emperors’ mission is to organize, administer, and promote special ice hockey for the communities of Western Pennsylvania regardless of sex, race, creed, religion, and/or financial situation. WPSHA will try to provide the best possible experience for all involved by encouraging, developing and advancing the core values adopted from USA Hockey and/or American Special Hockey Association ASHA. WPSHA will also be bound by the operating rules of the disabled hockey leagues in which we decide to participate. To achieve this mission WPSHA will work: To educate and encourage all individuals with developmental and physical disabilities to participate in the sport of ice hockey within an environment that is adapted to the levels of the athletes participating; To use the game of ice hockey to assist individuals with disabilities in their development of dependability, self-confidence, improve concentration and personal accountability which will help them become successful both on and off the ice; To encourage and educate the general public about how adapted sports for people with disabilities will promote social awareness and the development of physical disabilities. For more information contact John Stephenson at wpsha.emperors@gmail.com and visit www.pittsburghemperors.org.

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