Pat Flick who had been involved with minor hockey since 1970, notices a young boy who always came out to rink but only to watch his brother. He discovers that he is developmentally challenged. So with the help of the Grandravine Athletic Association he arranges some ice time and with just 2 players the Grandravine Tornadoes is born.
In 1992 while waiting for his flight at Toronto International Airport, Tony Sansone reads about Pat’s team and dreams of starting a similar program in St. Louis. For 2 years he struggles to find the ice time necessary. Finally in January of 1994, with the help of Kelly Chase of the St. Louis Blues, Tony launches the Gateway Locomotives. On Thanksgiving weekend , he invites Pat Flick and the Grandravine Tornadoes to St. Louis for a two team tournament.
In 1995 St. Louis again hosts their Thanksgiving tournament with 2 new clubs joining Grandravine and the host Gateway Locomotives. They are the Durham Dragons and the Ottawa Valley Ambassadors.
In 1996 Special Hockey International is officially launched, with Pat Flick as commissioner and Tony as President. They establish an annual tournament to be hosted by different teams each. St. Louis hosted the first annual SHI tournament and then alternated between US and Canadian cities.
In 2002 Mike Dwyer makes SHI truly international by starting a team in London. The Werewolves of London are a part of Streatham Youth Hockey Club in London, England.
Today SHI has teams throughout North America and Europe and the SHI Annual tournament attracts over 70 teams to it’s four day festival.