Sports­man­ship and team play found in abun­dance at opener

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - FAISAL ALI

THE SUN RAYS SPE­CIAL hockey team held their home-opener game Satur­day af­ter­noon against the Guelph Gi­ants, and though they ul­ti­mately fell to the stiff com­pe­ti­tion, the young team showed plenty of heart.

It’s only the Sun Rays’ third sea­son, af­ter all, and the team is still learn­ing the ropes. For 11-year-old Joshua Sto­er­mer, he is sure all the team needs is a bit more ice time for them find their stride.

“I feel we did OK be­cause Guelph had some pretty good play­ers,” he said about Satur­day’s game. “But I feel that with some more prac­tice and years we can get to the same skill level as them.”

Joshua has been with the Sun Rays for the past two years. When he started, his mother Kerri Sto­er­mer adds, he did not know how to skate. Now the cen­ter is glid­ing across the ice with the rest of them.

“I find it fun that we have a chance to play hockey and play games and stuff, where nor­mally I wouldn’t be good enough to play reg­u­lar hockey,” said Joshua. “So, that I can be able to play hockey and have fun with the team.”

“They’re amaz­ing with their vol­un­teers and their coach­ing,” added his mother of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. “I don’t even know what to say – they are amaz­ing with spe­cial needs.

“It al­lowed him to play a sport that he loves,” she said. “With this op­por­tu­nity, he has some­thing to call his own.”

The spe­cial hockey league aims to be in­clu­sive, and on Satur­day the sense of ca­ma­raderie and co­op­er­a­tion was pal­pa­ble. Not just amongst the Sun Ray play­ers, but even be­tween the two teams as play­ers on both sides worked to­gether to en­sure ev­ery­one had a good time.

At one point, all the play­ers and the vol­un­teers even came to­gether to as­sist one smaller Sun Ray, who was mov­ing a lit­tle slower on the ice than some of the other play­ers, to score a goal for the team. It’s a level of sports­man­ship not al­ways seen in other leagues.

“This is the sec­ond year I’ve been coach­ing [the Sun Rays],” said coach Rick Moser af­ter the game. “I’ve coached prob­a­bly 30 years in Wool­wich Mi­nor Hockey ... and this is prob­a­bly the most fun I’ve had.”

The play­ers are cer­tainly hav­ing fun as well. Next Satur­day, the Sun Rays will wel­com­ing a spe­cial hockey team from Bruce-Grey area to Elmira for a match, and Joshua is look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge.

“I’m ex­cited,” he said. “I al­ways like play­ing games.”

The game will be on Novem­ber 18 from 11 a.m. to noon, and Sun Ray pres­i­dent Julie Jamieson rec­om­mends ev­ery­one to come out and watch.

“Come and see sports­man­ship at its best and sup­port your com­mu­nity. Your al­ready di­verse and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity has found a way to put spe­cial needs hockey in the pro­gram of re­cre­ation and it’s a great op­por­tu­nity for folks to come see that and see it live,” she said.

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

The Wool­wich Sun Rays fell to the Guelph Gi­ants at their home opener this Satur­day, but the ca­ma­raderie trumped the score­board.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.