|Ryan and Isaac|
As Lachute, Quebec prepares to host the 33rd edition of their annual hockey tournament, I thought a great way to start 2011 here at Main Street would be to share an inspirational hockey story. Through my work at The Hockey Writers, I discovered the Capital City Condors - A hockey program in Ottawa for children with physical and learning disabilities. It is a truly remarkable team, helping children with special needs explore their love of hockey as they discover a newfound confidence off the ice.
“We get so much out of this, the interaction with the kids and their parents. Many of these parents are like heroes to us – the tenderness that they demonstrate to their kids. It has been really moving for us. It is a great thing to be involved in, a ton of work, but we get a lot out of it in return. This isn’t just a team, it is a community.”
In their first year, Jim and Shana welcomed three children into the Condors program, now there are 40 participants and a waiting list. They would like to see the program expand in Ottawa and perhaps into Gatineau as well. The Capital City Condors fall under the umbrella of Special Hockey, an international organization dedicated to enriching the lives of special needs children through hockey. Besides playing and practising locally, they take part in a tournament each year.
|Matt Carkner and Zachary|
“The following year, the tournament is in London, England, 2013 is in Kitchener, Ontario and we have put a bid in for 2014 to host the event here in Ottawa. They like to jump back and forth between Canada and the US and every fifth year it is London.”
With the help of a tremendous group of volunteers, which includes Ottawa Senators defenceman Matt Carkner, Jim and Shana Perkins are helping to enrich the lives of these children through hockey; it is a truly inspirational program.
You can find more information about the Capital City Condors at their website: capitalcitycondors.org