Sometimes it’s easy to get disfranchised with hockey. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the business aspect that occurs in all pro-sports. Long ramble short… stories like this one here help us remember what hockey is really about.
In special needs hockey, there can often be some disparity between teams because of their wide range of hockey skills and challenges. As the undefeated Junior Komets entered their final game against the Steel City Icebergs (from Pittsburgh), it was clear that our team was faster and more skilled than their opponents. And (realizing this) our juniors quickly adapted their game…showing a tremendous amount of empathy for the Icebergs. Then, the most incredible spontaneous act of sportsmanship happened in front of the Steel City net.
Brandon VanSickle of the Kawartha Komets gave the puck to 5 year-old Nicole Mullins of the Icebergs. As you will see in the video, Nicole uses a special-made walker created by her father, fully equipped with her hockey stick. Nicole was born with hip dysplasia…meaning she has two dislocated hips, two short-bent femurs, and two club feet. But, special needs hockey has allowed her to be part of a team…and allowed this tiny, courageous and very determined girl to achieve her goals.
After Brandon put the puck on Nicole’s stick, the entire Komet line skated the length of the ice beside her, and watched her score a goal…as fans from both sides cheered wildly. Afterwards, there were tears running down the cheeks of many of us who had witnessed this unprompted, unscripted act of sportsmanship. I have never been so proud to be part of a sports program.
and the video:
Thanks to @Wes_Mantooth for alerting me to this story. I’m tearing up here.