Electric City is always looking for dedicated volunteers who want to make a difference in the life of a special needs child or adult.
You'll quickly learn that this is much more than putting in a couple of hours on the ice teaching skills Relationships are quickly formed with players and their families and you'll walk out of the rink with a full heart and a smile on your face anticipating when you get to do it all over again. The adage of “giving back to the game" has never been truer, you're rewarded with smiles, laughter and a lot of high-fives.
Our current coaches are a close knit group with the single goal and vision of making this fun for everyone. Special Needs Hockey is very different from traditional hockey, it's non-competitive and there are few rules in a game situation.
It's a long season with practices starting in September and games or practices running from October through to March. Often we'll practice in Peterborough on a Friday afternoon, have another practice in Norwood on Saturday morning then be on the road for an away game on Sunday. By no means are you obligated to attend everything, we understand life can be busy with family and work and only ask that you come out when you can.
This is grass routes hockey that screams “for the love of the game" No offsides, no icing, 3 minute shifts with a buzzer and rarely a penalty unless we bring the ref over to call a penalty shot so that a player who may not have scored gets one! The scoreboard never shows anyone winning by more than 2 goals and we at the ECM&W strive for a tie.
Players lineup in position but at times we have 5 players in the opponents zone while the other 5 are in our end, we may have a player who just wants to stand and talk to the other goalie for the full 3 minutes. Some players may want to skate around the rink over and over for an entire game and that's encouraged, we cheer when our team scores and we cheer when the other team scores. Parents in the stands do the same cheering for all goals for both teams and there is nothing better than having a player from the other team skate by our bench for a line of high-fives! There is absolutely nothing but pure joy. It's pushing a player in a wheelchair who is now able to participate in the game they love for the very first time and being part of that player scoring a first goal. It's hearing from a parent how proud their son and daughter are to be able to wear their sweater to school and now be part of a team. It's watching an adult player with no family support system have a reason to leave their apartment on a Saturday morning, and be excited to do so! It's about being able to make that difference and see the results on the ice but more importantly off the ice.
During the International tournament in Peterborough in 2017 I had a seasoned ref with over 30 years experience who normally calls games at the “AAA" level and first time reffing special needs players. It was the last of his three games and he skated over and handed his pay envelope and smiled saying “There is no way I can charge for this, it's the most fun I've ever had"
This is special needs hockey!