The Philadelphia Flyers will host a special Autism Awareness Night during the Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m. home game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers are partnering with and hosting a number of community organizations for the evening, including Autism Inclusion Resources (AIR), the Center for Autism, Autism Delaware, Autism Speaks, the Variety Club, the Children’s Charity, and the Autism Society of America, Greater Philadelphia chapter. Families associated with each of these organizations have been invited to attend the game and sit in special autism-friendly lounges, courtesy of the Flyers.
With the goal of providing a private space for families of children with autism to have away from the action of the game, these lounges will feature amenities such as beanbag chairs, board games, Xbox, player cut-outs for photos, headphones, and more—all in a controlled environment. Contributing to these lounges, Flyers Captain Claude Giroux will host families associated with the Center for Autism in his personal suite, as a part of his “Giroux’s Crew,” and Jakub Voracek will welcome families associated with AIR in his personal suite, as a part of his “Voracek’s Vault.”
In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, the exterior of the Wells Fargo Center will light up blue, beginning April 2 through April 9. Partner organizations’ logos and autism awareness’ signature puzzle piece ribbons will be displayed throughout the arena for the April 9 game. In addition, all Flyers coaching staff, broadcasters, and employees will wear a puzzle piece ribbon in observance of the evening.
The night is a culmination of a season-long partnership with AIR, a nonprofit organization that helps children with autism navigate stressful social environments. With the help of AIR, the Flyers have educated all game-day personnel on being more aware of the needs of people with autism. Additionally, the team has published a helpful pamphlet for children with autism that walks through the steps of a typical game-day experience. The team will also recognize Dr. Wendy Ross, founder of AIR, as the night’s Rothman Institute at Jefferson Hospital “Hometown Hero.”
The Bucks County Admirals, a special needs hockey team from Bucks County, Pa. will be the evening’s featured Mites on Ice team. Players on the team range from ages five to 25 and vary in physical and developmental disabilities. Also representing the Admirals, 16 mothers of players on the team will be recognized as the night’s “Philly’s Greatest Hockey Mom.”
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