Students Kick Off 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games with Youth Sled Hockey March 5 at Calfornia Park
The Chicago Park District’s Special Recreation department, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) and members of the RIC Blackhawks Sled Hockey team will host an introductory youth sled hockey event for youth with disabilities from the Rudolph Learning Center on Wednesday, March 5, 9:45-11:45 a.m. at McFetridge Sports Center in California Park, 3843 N. California Ave.
“The Chicago Park District’s partnership with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has proven to be a fruitful platform for elevating the potential of individuals with physical and visual disabilities to participate in recreational activities and succeed athletically,” said Michael Kelly, General Superintendent & CEO of the Chicago Park District. “We are especially pleased to congratulate two Chicago Park District athletes as they prepare to compete on the international stage by participating on the men’s U.S.A. national sled hockey team at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.”
Brody Roybal and Kevin McKee, both competing in March on the U.S.A. national sled hockey team, are members of the RIC Blackhawks.
“Sled hockey gives an individual with a physical disability the opportunity to stay active, be competitive and develop teamwork,” said Patrick Byrne, a member of the RIC Blackhawks.
The RIC Blackhawks Sled Hockey Team has practiced at McFetridge Sports Center for more than 15 years, recently adding a second developmental team in 2010.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Chicago Park District and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to introduce our students to the Paralympic sport of sled hockey,” said Jim Madden, Adapted Physical Education Specialist at the Rudolph Learning Center. “There could potentially be a future Paralympian getting on the ice for the first time.”
In recent years, Chicago has become one of the most active adaptive sport communities in the U.S., with the Chicago Park District serving as a driving force in creating and building programs for individuals with physical and visual disabilities.
The Chicago Park District and RIC have enjoyed a partnership that has ensured program access and opportunities for local disabled populations. Both organizations share a vision of empowering people with disabilities to live full and active lives. Participating in sports and recreation assists in teaching independence, with the added benefit of providing role models for youth with disabilities, and life lessons best experienced in sporting competition.