A father and son brought together in sport, and a moving example of how support from Winnipeggers like you can help kids be all they can be.
When my son Logan was quite young, he would ask me “When can I play hockey, Dad?” I didn’t know what to say, so I told him “when you’re bigger.” But I realized that with his disability, this might never be possible.
Like almost any Canadian kid, my son Logan dreamed of playing hockey. He wanted to play with his cousins and idolized his uncle Kevin who played goal in the NHL. Logan simply wanted a chance to play, but he was born with cerebral palsy.
Logan is like many children with disabilities in Winnipeg. They want to do what other kids do, but don’t always get the chance. Fortunately, due to Winnipeggers’ support for United Way, kids like Logan are getting a chance to get off the sidelines and in the game. That is why I am asking you to make a donation to United Way today. Because your gift will help create more opportunities for children with disabilities.
It was during a chance discussion with some friends that I learned about sledge hockey, a paralympic sport played by a small group of men in Winnipeg. I was surprised to learn that their team was formed with the help and support of a United Way agency partner.
Sledge hockey looked perfect for Logan. A sled-like frame equipped with parallel blades, like hockey skates, gives players an incredible amount of mobility. They’re able to move about the ice with relative ease, using their arms and short hockey sticks with picks on the butt end to propel themselves.
Let me tell you, Logan took to it quickly and played in their league that very winter. But Logan was a young boy playing with adults; there had to be a better opportunity for a child with disabilities.
Once again United Way came into our lives.
United Way was able to expand their support to the agency which meant the sledge hockey league could offer a program exclusively for young people with disabilities.
Today, more than thirty boys and girls take to the ice every week. Able bodied friends join them and it’s all thanks to generous people like you. Because of you, sledge hockey has levelled the playing field.
Recently, Logan spoke at a United Way event and shared what playing sledge hockey means to him and the other players. I was so proud of him when he said “I can now play hockey with my best friend Andrew. It’s a lot of fun and my Dad is our coach, so it’s even better with my Dad out there with me.”
United Way has given us what almost every father and son wants most…the opportunity to play a sport together. We have travelled all over Manitoba-places like Brandon and Dauphin, showing kids how to play. Logan even did a demonstration at his own school!
We have played exhibition games with a few high school hockey teams in Winnipeg and competed in the Western Canadian Sledge Hockey Championships in Alberta. We even played a team from Fargo.
Today, Logan’s confidence is growing. He has a chance to get in the game, but other children with disabilities are still waiting for theirs.
United Way can only support innovative services and programs like sledge hockey if Winnipeggers like you support United Way. With your donation, more children with disabilities can participate, more lives will change and more dreams will come true.