Yes I Can – the motto, the song and the video, has truly become a legacy to the 2013 tournament in Kitchener. With over 600,000 hits to date on YouTube it has attracted attention from people in every walk of life.
Here are just a few comments.
“Although I honestly do not care for hockey at all, I just wanted to let you guys know that what you guys do for these children is AMAZING. Your video, that’s all over Facebook, has made a football (not soccer!) loving, country boy from the State of Alabama, cry over hockey, which I never expected I would do in my life! It’s the little things we do in life that make the world a better place, and y’all have done that.”
Andy Mayer, Alabama
“My name is Kari mathew and I am a teacher on vancouver island. I saw the video posted of your tournament and heard the amazing song YES I CAN. My school is part of a a special project this year called I can. I would love to buy a copy of the song. Is it available anywhere for download??”
“I just watched the shot on goal video that goes with the song Yes I Can! Choices is an organization that provides services to developmentally challenged individuals in the Hamilton area we were looking for a theme for our upcoming Annual Meeting and would like to use Yes I Can and the song!!”
CHOICES Group Inc.
“How can I get the theme song “Yes I can” by Jason Berry. I want to play it in my classroom.”
After 3 days of the most exciting and energetic special hockey tournament ever tournament chair John Thompson said it best -
A little over 3 years ago, Bill Weishuhn approached the Barrie Minor Hockey Association about starting up a Special Needs Program within our community. Bill had already been a part of a program like ours, being a parent of a Special Needs child himself, in a similar program. Bill really wanted to extend and bring awareness that these types of programs existed and there was a place for all individuals within our community to participate in a recreational hockey program, regardless of on ice skill ability or developmental limitations. Bill has been a driving force behind the success of our program working directly with the Barrie Minor Hockey Association to make our Special Needs Division a success, just nearing the end of our 3rd season. Our team continues to grow and Bill continues to put our name out there working with other organizations so families of Special Needs individuals know that there is a program that may be well suited for their family member’s. Bill was diagnosed with cancer last season but still managed to work behind the scenes throughout his treatment coordinating games, fundraising, and advocating for our team. While he wasn’t able to make it out to the arena every weekend he still wanted to be an active member of our coaching staff and still do what he could given his health crisis. He is back this year and in remission and continues to fulfil his duties as a coach/volunteer to our team and then some. We are very lucky to have someone on our team with such dedication and drive to see this program a success. I definitely feel Barrie Minor Hockey Association would be a great recipient of this contest on behalf of Bill Weishuhn and know we will continue to run a wonderful program with so many great individuals finally participating in a sport they love!
David Bebee/Record staff Guelph Giants goalie Ian Amos makes a save on Kitchener Ice Pirates forwards Jamie Harrison (left) and Tony Borghese during a recent game in Kitchener. As the score clock flirted with the final buzzer of their regular season, the Kitchener Ice Pirates trailed the Guelph Giants by three goals and had zero chance of coming back.
But when a trio of the home team’s forwards crashed their opponents’ crease and poked the puck behind their sprawling goaltender with only minutes to go, the bench erupted in a burst of blue and orange hockey jerseys.
And while the Pirates would go on to lose their season finale by a score of 9-5, the entire team skated to centre ice and met the Giants with genuine smiles and hearty handshakes.
For the Kitchener Ice Pirates, a local hockey program for developmentally challenged players, it doesn’t matter who wins and who loses. It doesn’t matter how many goals they score, or how many they give up. All that matters for those 45 minutes at a time, whether it’s their first game of the season or their last, is having fun.
According to Kirsten Carr, director of special hockey operations for the Kitchener Minor Hockey Association and general manager of the Ice Pirates program, the goal of the club is to make the sport accessible to individuals who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play.
“It’s for anybody who has a developmental delay that would keep them from participating on a typical team or in a typical league,” she says. “Whether it be autism, Down syndrome or fetal alcohol syndrome, we make it possible for everyone to join.”
Since it was launched in 2008, the Ice Pirates program has grown from eight players to about 50. They range in age from five years old to adulthood and are separated into three teams – fundamentals of hockey, junior and intermediate/senior. Players are assigned to their teams based on ability instead of age.
Each of the club’s teams, which generally practise once a week and play anywhere between six and 17 games throughout the season, compete against other special hockey teams from communities across Ontario.
The biggest way the Ice Pirates program differs from traditional minor hockey programs, Carr says, is its flexibility.
“When you join a house league and you know there’s a game or a practice or a tournament, you’re expected to go, no excuses. With us, if the player’s having a bad day and doesn’t show up, that’s OK. When they come back the next time, they’ll be welcomed back as a regular member of the team.”
Jamie Harrison, who has skated for the Ice Pirates intermediate/senior squad for the past several years, says his favourite aspect of special hockey is the lack of contact.
“I like that there’s no bodychecking,” says Harrison, a Grade 9 student at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School. “It’s friendly hockey and we don’t get hurt.”
The 15-year-old, who wears No. 87 in honour of Sidney Crosby, says he always wanted to play hockey growing up and is grateful the Ice Pirates program finally gave him a chance to do so.
“I didn’t think I could ever play, but my mom heard about the team from someone at work and she signed me up,” he said. “I really like the team a lot.”
Harrison, who alternates between forward and goalie but prefers playing between the pipes, says his favourite thing about being on the team is the friendships he’s forged over the years.
“I like hanging out with my teammates,” he says. “The year-end party is always lots of fun.”
Carr says it’s the social aspect of the club that makes it truly unique.
“We have players who are being invited to birthday parties for the first time ever, we have players who are starting to have sleepovers with their friends from the team,” she says. “When you’re that age you always want to be able to hang out and play video games or whatever, and now they’ve got those people they have a connection with.”
Alex Morrison began playing special hockey with the Cambridge Ice Hounds in 2007, but joined the Ice Pirates when they were founded the following year. He says his favourite day of the season is the annual game against the Kitchener Rangers.
“I love facing the Rangers,” says the 16-year-old Grand River Collegiate Institute student. “It’s always fun, but I like it best when we win.”
“It’s a phenomenal event, and one our players look forward to tremendously every single year,” says Carr of the club’s annual tilt with the local OHLers. “The Rangers are amazing with how they participate and support the team.”
While the Ice Pirates wrapped up their regular season on March 2, their work is far from over; from March 14 to 16, the team will play host to 60 teams from Canada, England and the United States, at the 19th annual Special Hockey International tournament.
Carr, who says she is looking forward to having the tournament in her own backyard, expects it will be the highlight of the Ice Pirates’ season.
“It’s one of those things where everybody’s on the same page, everybody understands, everybody is accepting,” she says. “It’s a fabulous thing to be a part of.”
Ryan Bowman’s column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared in the Waterloo Region Record.
The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club is in the business of helping players achieve their dreams. The young men who suit up for the club aspire to be professionals and the Rangers strive to give them the tools and stage they need to take the next step in their careers. But not every player who takes to the ice is looking to make a living out of it. Some are happy just to lace up their skates and get in the game.
So when the opportunity to lend support to Special Hockey International 2013 came around, the Rangers jumped at the chance to get involved and signed on as the title sponsor for the tournament, which will include games on the ice of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, the team’s home rink.
“It’s a unique opportunity for our community to support a type of hockey that doesn’t always get a lot of attention – this tournament was coming to our community and we could help make that happen,” says Chief Operating Officer Steve Bienkowski, citing the Rangers’ bond with two of the participating teams as an additional incentive to come on board. For the past five seasons, the club has partnered with the Cambridge Ice Hounds and the Kitchener Ice Pirates to present a benefit game – an evening of hockey and fun that sees the Rangers players take on both the junior and senior teams. That relationship has shown Bienkowski and the organization the value of Special Hockey International.
“I think what you see is what hockey can do for people. It’s not about players who have gone on to the National Hockey League – it’s about everyone, from young kids to adults. The fact that this tournament exists is great, because it brings the sport to players who otherwise might not be involved. It allows them enjoy the game and develop a passion for hockey.”
Presenting this year’s tournament was also an opportunity to show off the city that the Rangers have called home for 50 seasons. With 64 teams and their families and fans descending on Kitchener, he hopes that everyone will be impressed by the hospitality.
“When the organizing committee came to us, it was a chance to support the community,” explains Bienkowski.
“There is a lot of mainstream sponsorship out there for high-level international events. This is in that same category. It’s a good fit for us as a hockey organization, but we’re also helping to bring people into our community for this tournament, where they can have a great experience and take a lasting impression away with them.”
Scroll down for English version.
Spänningen och förväntan i omklädningsrummet är hög när spelarna får hjälp med skridskor och hjälm. Det är spelarna i Sala Special Hockey Team som ska träna. Träningen består av skridskoövningar, puckträning och match på slutet. Några spelare kan åka på egen hand medan andra behöver stöd för att hitta balansen. Laget är den enda laget i Special Hockey i Sverige.
- Jag tränar med Sala Hockey! säger en av de stolta spelarna och pekar på den stora skylten i ishallen.
Vi försöker lägga upp träningen så att de ska passa just de spelare som kommer på träningen. Det är viktigt att spelarna känner att det är roligt och lagom utmanande. Vi har ju ingen erfarenhet så vi provar oss fram och lyssnar mycket på de signaler spelarna ger oss. För flera av spelarna är hockeyn veckans höjdpunkt och det märks att de har roligt. De kämpar på och när träningen är över är många helt slut och riktigt svettiga.
Det finns fortfarande plats för nya spelare i alla åldrar. Intresserade kan höra av sig till:
Linda Sebek på 0224-20360 eller firstname.lastname@example.org
The excitement and anticipation in the dressing room is high when players get help with skates and helmets. It’s time for the players in Sala Special Hockey Team to have their weekly practice. They will practise skating, handling the puck and a mini-match at the end. Some players can skate on their own, while others need support to find the balance. The team is the only team in the Special Hockey in Sweden.
- I practice with Sala Hockey! says one of the proud players and pointing to the big sign in the arena.
We are trying to set up the practise so that they suit the players who will be joining this time. It is important that players have fun and feel challenged. We have no experience, so we try our way and listen closely to the signals the players gives us. For many of the players are hockey highlight of the week and you can tell they are having fun. They struggle on, and when the practice is over, many exhausted and really sweaty.
There is still room for new players of all ages. Interested parties can get in touch with:
Linda Sebek at 0224-20360 or email@example.com
Registration is open for the First Annual ASHA Tournament in Lake Placid!
The First Annual American Special Hockey Association Tournament will be held in Lake Placid, NY on April 5-7!
Organized by Can/Am and held in beautiful Lake Placid, this is the Tournament of a lifetime!
If you have never watched Miracle on Ice, Oh my!! We get to play in the 1980′s Herb Brooks Arena! Home of the 1932 & 1980 Olympics, we have fun planned in the Olympic Village for sure. We hope EVERYONE gets a copy of Miracle to watch over the Holidays!
Can/Am has agreed along with American Special Hockey, to host an all-inclusive yearly tournament, which will give our hockey players the opportunity to travel, see old friends, and make new ones as we switch from East to West each year for this Tournament! We are excited to play teams we’ve not yet met, trade pins, and dance the night away together!
Will Mike Hickey go down the Bobsled hill? Stay tuned………
And Clear your calendars!!!!
To register your teams, go to:
Some additional information is attached.
April 5-7 Lake Placid, NY, (Arrival April 4 or 5).
A team deposit of $500 will be required at registration. This will be refunded. (Notify Debbie if you need help with this.)
Some Q’s you may have:
This is an all-inclusive tournament (with the exception of travel).
You will be asked the approximate number of rooms you may need for the team.
Leave Ages blank.
Put A,B,C in “adult box” This is just a filler, put anything.
Everything else is pretty self-explanatory.
You will receive and e-mail confirmation.
In a week or two, you will receive the formal instructions for each family’s information, etc.
Let me know any questions you may have about the registration process.
UCT GIVES BACK BY SPONSORING A $10,000 VIDEO CONTEST FOR SCHOOLS WITH PROGRAMS FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES!
COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 2012 – UCT (United Commercial Travelers) is sponsoring a video contest for schools with programs for people with intellectual disabilities or universities with programs to train special education teachers. And the winner will receive $10,000! That’s right, $10,000! The contest is open to schools in the U.S. and Canada.
Do you know of or work with schools for people with intellectual disabilities or universities with programs to train special education teachers? Then let them – and teachers, parents and concerned individuals – know about this opportunity and encourage them to enter. Here’s how:
- Create a short video up to two minutes long
- The video doesn’t need to be professionally filmed – use a video camera or Smartphone and keep it simple!
- Explain how the $10,000 would help your program
- Post the video on YouTube and complete the contest form at UCT’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/UCTinAction by clicking on the “UCT Gives Back” tab
All entries must be submitted by November 30, 2012.
Video finalists will be posted on UCT’s Facebook page January 14-February 15 for fans to vote on the winner. Fans can vote once per day, every day, throughout this time! The winning school will be announced and awarded the $10,000 cash prize in March 2013. See http://www.uct.org/uct-gives-back-official-rules/ for contest rules. Contact UCT at (800) 848-0123, ext. 206, or at firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.
UCT is a non-profit financial services membership organization based in Columbus, Ohio. Helping people with intellectual disabilities has been UCT’s number one community service project for over 50 years. Members support local schools, workshops, camps and other programs for people with intellectual disabilities. UCT also supports Special Olympics and the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) and awards scholarships to college students seeking to teach people with intellectual disabilities.
Learn more about UCT by visiting www.uct.org.
The song writer is Jason Barry, an accomplished and award winning guitarist and songwriter/arranger. Please visit his site at www.jasonbarry.org
Please visit the Host Committee website at www.shikitchener2013.ca.
The single biggest struggle for many of our players has been lacing up skates. While we have all felt that there has to be a better way someone has actually done something about it.
Peterborough Petes Trainer Brian Miller has come up with an idea that has been very beneficial for some members of the Kawartha Komets who cannot tie their own skates. He has designed Velcro straps that can be installed on hockey skates without too much difficulty. They no longer needed help to tie their skates up. This invention could prove beneficial to others who have difficulty tying skates. The Komets have about a half dozen players with them on their skates. The Peterborough Petes love them because they can put their skates on in a flash. They come in different sizes, can be placed and can be shipped anywhere.
These new Velcro straps are called Option B and you can learn all about them at www.chooseoptionb.com.
SHI does not officially endorse or have any interest in this product, but since it is something of great interest to our members, and that is not readily in most places, it seemed worth mentioning.