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Home / Blog / New Youth Special Hockey Team Just Launched in Peoria

New Youth Special Hockey Team Just Launched in Peoria

Special hockey teams now play in areas and cities all over the country.  There are two main organizations that represent special hockey leagues:  The first is USA Hockey, which supports different kinds of hockey players with disabilities through blind hockey, deaf/hard of hearing hockey, special hockey, sled hockey, standing/amputee and warrior hockey.  The other is the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA), which gives individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities the ability to safely enjoy the sport of ice hockey.

By playing hockey, special players enjoy being on the ice, learn new skills, have fun, gain confidence, get to be part of a team, create friendships, and can feel pride in their accomplishments.

The goal of special hockey programs is to create a hockey game experience that is specifically tailored to the ability levels and needs of individuals with special needs.  Special hockey serves people with a wide variety and degree of disabilities and these programs assert that hockey is for every body, no matter the perceived limitations.

As players participate in special hockey leagues, they have opportunities to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, social skills and cooperation, as well as receive all the physical benefits of participating in a sport activity.  Additionally, hockey requires considerable skills and mastering those skills brings a significant measure of fulfillment and pride.  The ultimate objective is an improved quality of life for the players through activities both on and off the ice.

Often, the fun and learning continue off the ice because many teams have other life skill programs to help the players with additional important, everyday skill development.

Hockey may not seem like a natural fit for special players because traditional hockey is generally thought to be a difficult and sometimes rough sport; however Special Hockey is designed specifically to take the players abilities and needs into primary consideration, making the sport accessible to all.  The athletes often play upright, but can also be part of special sled teams, and generally offsides, icing, and penalties are not part of the gameplay.  Players simply have a chance to have fun on the ice while working as a team to move the puck toward the net.  Everybody wins when fun, confidence, and teamwork are the goals.

Here in Arizona we have our own special hockey teams, including an adult team through One Step Beyond, Inc., a special hockey team through Mission Hockey, and now the ACCEL Youth Coyotes special hockey team for youth with special needs. With the launch of the new ACCEL Youth Coyotes program, we have seen so much excitement and enthusiasm for the program, including significant community support from One Step Beyond, Inc., Arizona Coyotes, Behind the Mask, Grand Canyon University Women’s Hockey, AZ Ice, Puckhead Hockey Charities, and many others.  Last weekend marked the beginning of our season and our kids were ecstatic to be able to lace up their skates and hit the ice this past Saturday.  We all look forward to an amazing inaugural season!

ACCEL Youth Coyotes would love to engage additional volunteers, both on and off the ice as well as hockey gear donations.

If interested, please contact Dorian Townsend at dtownsend@accel.org.