The GPYHA/RI Special Needs Hockey program offers Learn to Skate/Instructional Hockey for children age 4 to young adult with Down Syndrome, Autism, or any other developmental disability.
Ice sessions are held Saturday mornings at Lynch Arena in Pawtucket, RI, starting in late October and ending in March. No previous skating experience is required; enrollment is open throughout the season.
The program is open to any boy or girl who is physically able to play, but would be unable to participate in any other organized program due to his or her developmental disability. Players must be free from any physical or medical condition that could cause them to do harm to themselves or to other participants during participation.
The minimum equipment required for the program will be skates (single blade hockey skates) and a hockey helmet with face mask. We have historically found that players who have elbow pads, knee pads, hockey pants (with the standard tail-bone pad) tend to get up smiling when they fall – a great motivator for new skaters!
Private individuals have generously donated some used hockey equipment for participants in the program.
For more information email: RISpecialHockey@aol.com
On Sunday March 12th, players from both the Men's and Women's teams from Brown, Johnson-Wales and URI participated in a hockey game with players from the Rhode Island Special Hockey Program.
The GPYHA Special-Hockey staff cannot commend these players enough for their involvement in this event. The college players brought a new level of intensity and enjoyment for our skaters. Our coaching staff was moved and impressed by how the college players took interest in the kids and took them under their wings. The entire event was elevated to a higher level because of their involvement. The college players teamed up as mentors to the kids, interacting with them both on the ice and on the benches. The pre-game drills somehow evolved into races between college players and special needs players. The excitement in the kids was so apparent in their intensity to win. The dark vs. white mixed squad game had cheering from the benches, bench-line hand-shakes after goals, team group cheers after the game and a traditional post-game handshake. The event was an overwhelming success thanks to the kindness and caring of all the college participants.
The staff and families of the special hockey program cannot adequately convey how much this meant for our kids. This is as big as it gets for these kids who, through the years have grown in their skills and love for the game.
In addition to the college players we also had our loyal staff of adult and junior coaches who lace up the skates every Saturday morning from October through March to work with the kids. It is to these volunteers that we give all of the credit for making a small difference in the kid's lives.
Great article about RI Special Hockey in last weekend's Providence Journal.
Click HERE to view Providence Journal article.
Stick taps to GPYHA Coach Gerry Letourneau and all the volunteers that make RI Special Hockey possible!