If you are at Kettler Capitals Iceplex this week you may notice as slightly different crowd of hockey players. The large contingent of young ice hockey players, coaches and proud parents in and around the arena are celebrating big milestones, as their Autistic children learn to skate and play hockey. The NOVA Cool Cats are a non profit organization that uses the game of hockey to help Autistic players develop characteristics that will help them be more successful both inside and outside of hockey.
“This is my fourth year coaching the camp and it is amazing how the boys and girls have progressed” says NOVA Cool Cats ice skating coach Bruce Porter Jr.”There may be something to this that deserves a closer look and more research. The kids are genuinely excited about the sport of hockey and seem to be able to focus dramatically better while on the ice than in other situations.”
You can hear the echo of these words across North America and undoubtedly the world as the numbers of Autistic children continues to grow. As more and more parents of developmentally disabled children find themselves looking for positive outlets, organizations like the NOVA Cool Cats are priceless. Every year the camp is also joined by a group of youth volunteers. These kids are drawn from competitive local ice hockey programs, and they spend their last week before going back to school volunteering their time for a noteworthy cause with the Cool Cats Camp.
Today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex the Washington Capitals Red Rockers are making a special visit and hopefully the Caps mascot Slapshot who is always a big hit with the kids. In years past NHL Washington Capitals John Erskine has joined the camp on ice and demonstrated slap shots, stick handling and passing; while Mike Knuble made all of the campers day last year with an inspirational photo opp appearance.
I want to raise the awareness about the sport of ice hockey helping developmentally disabled children, especially Autistic children focus and excel like never before. This is a truly amazing, timely, and newsworthy story that deserves a voice. With the sport of ice hockey these kids are learning valuable life lessons and how to interact with with their peers and contemporaries. Come out today and show your support, we take the ice at 11am!