Muskies sup­port­ing chil­dren’s cen­tre

Ryan Vlaad and Ken­dra Nor­ris join team for Oct. 20 ben­e­fit game

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - CATHARINE WHITNALL KAWARTHA LAKES THIS WEEK

LINDSAY — The Lindsay Muskies have added a spe­cial player to the ros­ter for their Oct. 20 game against the Welling­ton Dukes.

Ryan Vlaad was all smiles af­ter he was “drafted” to the team on Oct. 2.

Granted, be­ing only 10, the Lindsay young­ster won’t be log­ging any ice time. He will, how­ever, be the envy of his Elec­tric City Ma­roon and White spe­cial needs hockey team.

“It’s such an op­por­tu­nity for him,” said Ryan’s mom, Rachelle Vlaad, ad­ding be­ing part of a team “brings a huge smile to his face.”

It’s en­hanced the ef­forts of Five Coun­ties Chil­dren’s Cen­tre staff who have been working with Ryan most of his life.

Ryan was born five weeks pre­ma­ture and de­vel­oped slower than other in­fants. It wasn’t un­til af­ter Ryan be­gan receiving phys­io­ther­apy ser­vices when he was one that he was of­fi­cially di­ag­nosed with spas­tic quadriple­gia cere­bral palsy. The tod­dler strug­gled to do many things, in­clud­ing sit­ting unas­sisted. Ryan also ex­pe­ri­enced seizures.

A decade later, Ryan not only stands and walks, but also runs and plays hockey, with the help of a spe­cial Kaye trainer.

“They do mir­a­cles there. Be­ing part of Five Coun­ties has been a god­send,” Vlaad said.

Ryan isn’t the only spe­cial ad­di­tion to the Muskies.

Ken­dra Nor­ris will join head coach Dan West on the bench as the team’s new as­sis­tant coach.

“Some­times you need a dif­fer­ent set of eyes. Hope­fully, she’s not too hard on them,” he quipped.

Ken­dra has a rare chro­mo­so­mal ab­nor­mal­ity that causes global de­lays in her de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing speech and her joints.

Join­ing the team means a lot to Ken­dra said her mother, Karyn Nor­ris.

“It re­ally helps her keep that con­nec­tion to the com­mu­nity and that feel­ing of be­ing ac­cepted 100 per cent by ev­ery­body,” said Nor­ris, not­ing that while Ken­dra isn’t well-versed in hockey strate­gies, she is a fan. “She’s like the No. 1 cheer­leader. She’s very devoted and very loud.”

The game be­gins at 1:30 p.m. with the singing of “O Canada” by Five Coun­ties’ speech and lan­guage pathol­o­gist Jac­qui Al­leyne.

An hour be­fore the game, there will be face paint­ing, table­top hockey and gi­ant Lego blocks with pro­ceeds sup­port­ing Five Coun­ties. Fans can also skate with the team af­ter the game.

Tick­ets cost $12 for adults, $7 for se­niors and $5 for stu­dents. Half the pro­ceeds of tick­ets pur­chased at Five Coun­ties will be for­warded to the Peterborou­gh-based agency.

NOTE: To re­serve tick­ets, con­tact Lois Tuf­fin at 705-3249320, ext. 5850 or ltuf­[email protected]­coun­ties.on.ca.

LANCE ANDERSON PETERBOROU­GH THIS WEEK

Ken­dra Nor­ris, 14, and Ryan Vlaad, 10, work on some plays in­side the Lindsay Muskies dress­ing room. Vlaad has been drafted as a player and Nor­ris as as­sis­tant coach for the game at the Lindsay Recre­ation Complex on Oct. 20.

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