“Hood Rush” Sledge Hockey Program
Robin Hood Association is a non-profit, registered, charitable organization committed to assisting individuals with disabilities to achieve their personal best and experience a quality lifestyle. We serve 290 individuals with developmental disabilities in our Adult Services program, many of whom are extremely enthusiastic hockey fans with a keen interest in experiencing the sport themselves.
Robin Hood recently developed a foundation for a brand new Sledge Hockey Program by way of a 5-month pilot program that ran from February – June 2013. Support from the Paralympic Sport Association, ASRPWF, CJM Trucking Ltd and Pro Hockey Life enabled us to purchase protective hockey equipment and jerseys, as well as cover the cost of sledge rentals. This pilot project was extraordinarily successful. The program participants – now referred to as the “Hood Rush” team have improved their on-ice capacities to such a degree that their reliance on staff support has drastically reduced. Sledge hockey is now one of our most popular programs; as such we would like for it to be a permanent fixture in our program offerings.
Our most substantial barrier is the significant investment required in order to purchase the equipment. The low-income individuals we support cannot afford this equipment, many of them living on fixed AISH income and for whom employment is difficult to achieve.
Robin Hood is in need of financial support in order to propel our Sledge Hockey Program from its pilot phase into a stable program offering. In addition to the cost of staff support, transportation and facility rental, we require funding for the purchase of sledges. The cost breakdown is based on 21 sledge hockey sessions held weekly from January – May 2014, and is as follows:
Cost of Staff Support: $2,261.60
Cost of Transportation: $495.00
Arena Facility Rental: $2,594.40
Purchase of 15 sledges and sticks: $8,008.88
Who Will it Benefit?
Many sport programs for individuals with disabilities in Western Canada focus on uniting the disabled community in exclusive competition. Robin Hood’s Sledge Hockey Program aims to take a different approach. Our goal is to use this adapted sport to “even the playing field” between individuals with disabilities and able-bodied people, and in doing so, help the people we serve to build real relationships within the community and develop their athletic skills in a more inclusive way.
Apart from the physical and social benefits of team sport, we feel the most valuable element in a sports program such as this is the integration of the disabled population into an environment where they are treated as equals. Our main objective is to establish authentic engagement with three new social groups before the conclusion of the upcoming sledge hockey season. We have already developed partnerships with two: the Emergency Services Academy and the Strathcona Christian Academy. These groups have committed to participating in our Sledge Hockey Program, and together we have developed a framework for ongoing collective engagement.