SHI – Our History

Special Hockey International or SHI as we like to call it was formed in 1996 for individuals aged 5yrs and up with developmental disabilities to have the chance to play ice hockey!

What started as one small team has blossomed into the global collective of special teams that we see today celebrating a diverse and inclusive group of athletes, families, volunteers, and coaches.

Developmental disabilities as defined by the CDC are:

"... a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime."

SHI players may have Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Fragile X, Global Developmental Delays, and many other various conditions. Some SHI players skate on their own very well, others require assistive devices such as weight-bearing supports, manual wheelchairs, and Kaye Trainers. As we stated earlier, any player who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to play is welcome.

SHI member clubs provide non-competitive, non-contact hockey for those who wouldn't otherwise have the chance to play.

Our clubs operate according to the needs of their own communities (some teams are mixed level, some are leveled) but all embrace the importance of focusing on the love of the game, fun, sportsmanship, and friendships.

SHI tournaments are wonderful events that allow teams the opportunity to celebrate our rich heritage of inclusion, acceptance and belonging.

SHI as an organization strongly encourages each club to be affiliated with their local branch of their National Governing Body such as: Hockey Canada, USA Hockey, and the English Ice Hockey Federation. SHI also encourages all teams to purchase their own annual insurance through the same governing body, ensuring that tournament sanctioning requirements are properly met.

Special hockey truly is "hockey with heart" and it is our communal dream, and even our goal, to see special hockey continue to grow and develop on a global scale.