Volt Hockey Coming to Fort McMurray
“Accessibility allows us to tap into everyone’s potential,” Debra Ruh, an advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities said it best. And, this is exactly what Volt Hockey does as well. Using specially designed electric chairs, Volt allows persons with complex disabilities an opportunity to play an organized sport. The free event takes place on November 6, 2021 at MacDonald Island. Hosted by Variety - the Children's Charity of Alberta, based in Calgary, it is supported locally by the Canadian Tire JumpStart program and private donors.
Larry Horeczy, Chief Operating Officer for Variety sheds more light on the sport.
“After learning about Volt from our colleagues at Variety Ontario during a Variety International conference in 2019 we brought Volt to Alberta in 2020. Volt is a new sport in Canada, which only operated in Ontario until we brought it to Alberta - in Calgary and Edmonton, with the first sessions and special events happening this past year under strict COVID protocols.”
“During our recent trip to Fort McMurray to gift 12 Go Baby Go cars earlier this summer, we met with many families and therapists who expressed that they would love to see Volt in Fort McMurray. After meeting the children and parents we knew that Volt would be a huge benefit to the families and the community. Since that time we have been staying connected with the community and working to establish a team in Fort McMurray. This past spring, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities provided a significant grant to help us bring Volt here. Combined with Variety donors, staff time and resources and with the support of the amazing people at the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo we are able to introduce Volt in Fort McMurray.”
“Playing hockey using these special chairs, children learn new skills to be successful in the game and be social. The only ability required is to operate a joystick that maneuvers their specially designed Volt Hockey chair. Played in a gym or rink without ice, the game only requires a smooth, dry surface, and therefore played year-round. It allows children who cannot play sledge hockey or wheelchair hockey to finally be in an organized hockey sport,” adds Horeczy.
Registered participants will get a chance to get into a Volt Chair and run through some fun activities. “Because everyone who plays Volt is equal - there is no advantage to size or any physical attribute – people of all abilities can play together, have fun, and be competitive. This means children, teens, and adults living with disabilities can play their friends and family of all abilities. The chairs are fast, fun, and exciting. The Volt coach is able to set the speed of the chairs so that new players learn to play safely and then can increase the speed as they gain confidence and skill.”
Ana Maria Mendez, Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo, Manager of Recreation and Culture is excited for the event.
“MacDonald Island Park is the place where our communities gather, connect and play. Welcoming programs like Volt Hockey from Variety Alberta into our facility creates an even more accessible and inclusive environment for all community members, and provides a fun new opportunity for sport and recreation for those who may have previously faced barriers to their participation,” she comments.
Registered participants will get about 30 to 45 minutes playing time with different time slots scheduled for different age groups. The hosts encourage friends and family of persons living with a disability to also get into a Volt chair. They can accommodate up to seven players at any one time. The game is played 3 on 3, but for Try It days they will run fun drills involving everyone.
Local physiotherapist, Allie Wait who works with differently abled students has been helping promote Volt Hockey. She notes, the event is beneficial on many levels.
“Volt Hockey coming to Fort McMurray opens another door for children in our community to participate in sport. Volt is inclusive in that it allows children with all types of different needs to participate. Being physically active and being a part of a team sport is so important for children's development. Recently we have seen an amazing uptake with various adapted and inclusive sports in Fort McMurray and I cannot wait to see how Volt Hockey takes off!”
“This is the first event for Volt in Fort McMurray, but we look forward to holding future events and then launching the regular programming in January. People interested in playing Volt can sign up for the six-week sessions where they play once a week and learn the sport, meet new people and have lots of fun. In addition to encouraging players to come out, we are also looking for volunteer assistant coaches and looking to hire a coach to lead the program in Fort McMurray,” Horeczy says.
Anyone interested in registering to play, or for volunteering as well as applying for the coach position can contact Volt at: email@example.com. Online registration is also available: https://form-can.keela.co/volt-try-it.