Coyotes Skate with Kids from Foundation for Blind Children
/ Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE - The Coyotes on Tuesday hosted 12 children, between the ages of three and 16, from The Foundation for Blind Children, and invited them to experience ice skating with some of the players at Gila River Arena.
Each child, most of whom had never skated before, was paired with a player for more than an hour.
"We're all great fans of the Coyotes, but this is a true experience," said Marc Ashton, the foundation's CEO. "This gives them an opportunity to try something new and to explore their own insecurities and to build confidence to do other things. We're having a great time."
Forward Mikkel Boedker was one the players who volunteered his time to interact with the kids. He and his partner Jorge Castro skated three laps around the ice and also spent time chatting about hockey and the arena on the Coyotes bench and in one of the penalty boxes.
"(Blindness) is something that I can't imagine living with and going through, and he was real positive and real open," Boedker said of his skating partner. "It's pretty special for all the players here to be able to share a little time of our lives with some fun kids."
Forward Viktor Tikhonov also skated with a child and said the experience was memorable.
"It kind of brings you back to your first time skating when you were out there slipping and sliding and falling," Tikhonov said. "Overall there's just so much happiness here today. It was fun to see."
Per its website, The Foundation for Blind Children is the largest non-profit agency of its kind in the United States serving the blind and visually impaired of all ages. It has three Valley locations.
"The Foundation for Blind Children has a very simple mission," Ashton said. "We don't believe that vision loss is a disability. It's just a diagnosis. So we want to get our kids to challenge themselves and do things they would never, ever do."