It was a special sight on Main Street last month during the annual Downtown Festival of Christmas Traditions.
The Special Olympics Vernon Floor Hockey team took on the Scorehawks, an ice hockey team for children with special needs.
The two teams played a typical shinny game where fun and participation are the most important component. Just ask Glen Schwebbach, the Special Olympics coach who said there was also a fierce competition going on.
“My team has been looking forward to this event for weeks. To play outside against another well-trained team in front of the public amongst all those spectators, is a dream for most of my athletes and gives them the feeling of integration and accomplishment,” said Schwebbach.
Special Olympics Vernon has more than 120 athletes training and competing in 14 different sports, and volunteer coaches make this happen.
Their opponent, the Scorehawks, is one of only a few teams for children and teens with an intellectual or physical disability playing ice hockey in B.C.
“We are always looking for a way to have our players challenging another team, so this was a great opportunity to come out and show the public who we are and how well those kids can play hockey,” said Sherry Demetrick, the program’s coordinator
“This was a great opportunity for the players to experience the fun and camaraderie of a team environment.
“It is amazing to see what kids with challenges, but kids with desire, can do.
Deb Bell, a parent of a Special Olympics athlete, said the smiles of everyone involved really did light up the streets that night.
After the official game, the rink of hay bales was open to the public and many kids and adults enjoyed the tradition of a pick-up hockey game.
Both societies welcome new players and are always in need of equipment and volunteers.
Please call Demetrick at 250-542-0989 for information on the Scorehawks and go to the Special Olympics Vernon website for floor hockey or any of the other sports offered at www.sobcvernon.ca or phone 250-306-8954.