We here at When Girls Love Hockey enjoy shining the spotlight on all the fantastic grass roots programs and education initiatives that the Anaheim Ducks provide for our community in an effort to grow the sport of hockey. Their commitment to this effort has introduced the game to thousands of local kids and adults and has drastically changed the landscape of hockey in Southern California.
And now, through THE RINKS program, they’ve added a new experience to their already comprehensive offering with the introduction of the Top Flight Street Hockey League, a hockey league designed specifically for players with special needs.
This eight-week program is for participants of all ages and abilities, and will teach the fundamentals of the sport, like shooting, passing and stick handling, through weekly group clinics and games. The program will take place on Fridays beginning Friday, January 10, 2014, from 5:30–6:30pm at THE RINKS – Huntington Beach Inline.
Now in its second season, the league got its start last fall through a three-week Learn to Play clinic held for special needs participants that focused on introducing the fundamentals of street hockey. The response to the clinic was so great that it was determined that there was a real need for a program like this to serve the local special needs community.
“After the completion of our Learn to Play clinic, we received an enormous amount of positive feedback, with parents and players asking, ‘What’s next?’ That’s how the Top Flight League was born,” says Marketing Manager for THE RINKS, Jesse Chatfield. “We then offered an eight-week fall season and the response has been tremendous.”
The fall season saw 25 participants, and Chatfield says that he expects 30-40 participants for the winter season. He went on to say that the goal is to offer the eight-week sessions four times a year, and depending on demand, possibly additional nights and locations.
With support and funding from the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, the $89 registration fee for the eight-week season includes a stick that the participants can keep, as well as a jersey, a team photo, and a trophy.
The rink used at the Huntington Beach Inline location is fully accessible for all players requiring a wheelchair or other mobility assistance. The approach includes segmenting the players into teams by age, ability and functioning level. There is typically one coach for each four or five participants, and parents or other family members who typically assist those who need one-on-one attention are welcome on the rink.
So if you have a family member or friend you think might be interested in this new street hockey program, pass the information along. There aren’t many things better than giving kids, no matter their ability, the chance to learn how to play this great sport.
And to register for the eight-week session beginning January 10, 2014, click here.
**Images courtesy of THE RINKS