Jackson Cooper is one of many success stories from the Vernon ScoreHawks hockey program. (Contributed)

Jackson Cooper is one of many success stories from the Vernon ScoreHawks hockey program. (Contributed)

Vernon ScoreHawks soar back to ice

Adaptive hockey league for kids five to 15 with physical or developmental delays begins in Vernon Jan. 8

Jackson Cooper is the epitome of the Vernon ScoreHawks hockey program.

The ScoreHawks were created more than a decade ago to give kids in the Okanagan Valley who had physical or developmental delays a chance to play Canada’s winter sport.

Cooper, who wore jersey No. 26 for the ScoreHawks, played for the team from 2013-2019.

“I loved going to the rink every Saturday, seeing my friends and coaches,”said Cooper. “We had great practices, the coaches helped with our skating and hockey fundamentals. It felt awesome to be a part of a team. Each week I felt that I was improving with my skills and abilities.”

As a team, the ScoreHawks would travel up and down the Okanagan playing games against other teams like theirs.

“We even traveled to a Special Needs/Autism tournament that was amazing,” said Cooper. “There was also lots of help on the ice if you needed it. Seeing my parents and all the other people in the stands cheering really put a smile on my face especially when I scored. We even had team jackets like some of the kids at school.”

Cooper is 18 now and playing hockey in an adult league.

“I am grateful for the support of everyone that volunteered for this program,” he said. “Hockey will always be a part of my life. Go ScoreHawks.”

Longtime program coordinator Sherry Demetrick said the aim of the ScoreHawks is to introduce kids aged five to 15 to hockey.

“We’ve had kids go from this program into minor hockey and they keep playing as adults,” said Demetrick. “They are introduced to the lifelong skill of skating, they make connections with friends. It’s a lovely way to show them the Canadian quintessential game.”

The ScoreHawks will start a new season on Jan. 8 and they are looking for some new players and one or two volunteer coaches.

The team is on the ice at the Priest Valley Arena in Vernon every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

To sign up as a player, and have as much fun as Cooper and the others, visit vernon.ca/parks-recreation/programs-select-activity.

To become a volunteer coach, you can put your name forward through the club’s Facebook page, facebook.com/Vernon-ScoreHawks-Hockey-Team.

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