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Hockey is for Everyone: Minnesota Special Hockey

Organization recently held two-day outdoor jamboree event on Hockey Day Minnesota ice

by Minnesota Wild @mnwild / Wild.com

Hockey is for Everyone uses the game of hockey to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities. During the month of February, the Wild will celebrate organizations and teams around Minnesota that work to create a greater State of Hockey and exemplify the meaning of Hockey is for Everyone -- providing a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

Hockey Day Minnesota 2018 took place in St. Cloud on Jan. 20, and with a full schedule of events it saw a docket of seven fast-paced and high-scoring games in front of packed stands. But the action wasn't limited to high school and college teams. 

A record 83 players attended Minnesota Special Hockey's two-day jamboree event during Hockey Day 2018, taking the ice at the Lake George municipal complex. With such a large turnout, the players could meet and compete with other special hockey athletes as they continued to grow the game and, most importantly, make friends and have fun. 

Minnesota Special Hockey is an adapted ice hockey program for players of all ages with developmental disabilities. The program has more than 220 players in 13 cities across the state of Minnesota, a significant growth since its inaugural season when there were only two teams.

Its goal is to enrich the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities through growing their personal development and self-confidence on and off the ice. 

With a focus on having fun, learning teamwork, building friendships and increasing physical activity, Minnesota Special Hockey has helped its participants build interpersonal bonds and social skills since its inception in 2006. 

Not only do participants practice or play games weekly from November through March, but are able to maintain connections and continue their progress during the offseason. A summer get-together, an open skate in October, and various tournaments and festivals allow the teams and athletes to travel and grow. 

The most common developmental disabilities include autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, neurological disorders, intellectual/developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, ADD/ADHD, and seizures. Many Minnesota Special Hockey players have more than one of these disabilities, but are able to play hockey in a respectful and safe environment. 

Minnesota Special Hockey's guiding vision is to ultimately make organized ice hockey available to every Minnesotan with a developmental disability.

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