Muskies supporting children’s centre
Ryan Vlaad and Kendra Norris join team for Oct. 20 benefit game
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.
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.