Summer is here and STARskaters.org' s SkateTherapy and Sled Hockey programs are as hot as Houston's July temperatures.
SkateTherapy was featured on FOX26 News and in U.S. Figure Skating Magazine, and has just doubled the ice time for the Saturday program in Sugar Land.
Lots of news from the Sled Hockey program as well including adding the Austin Blades Sled Hockey team as a new STARskaters chapter. Several of the Austin players came to Houston for Sled Hockey weekend, and players from Houston and Dallas competed at a National Sled Hockey Tournament in Philadelphia. Read about all these events and more, including a generous donation from the Aeros Booster Club in this summer newsletter.
Save the dates of August 2nd-August 4th for the Abilities Expo, and our next Sled Hockey Weekend in Houston!
And, as always if you know of anyone who could benefit from any of our programs, please click the link below to FORWARD TO A FRIEND.
A U.S. Paralympic Sport Club
FOX26 Features SkateTherapy
|SkateTherapy on FOX26|
Austin Blades Join STARskaters
At a recent board meeting, the Austin Blades Sled Hockey team voted unanimously to become a chapter of STARskaters.org
Chapter status will allow them to expand their fundraising efforts to support Sled Hockey in Austin as well as send some of their players to the 2014 Sled Hockey National Championships which will be held near Boston, Mass next April.
At the meeting, Frank Dorval was elected chapter President. Frank got to work immediately enlisting STARskaters founder Jim O'Neill to assist planning a 3 on 3 Tournament in Austin which will serve as the clubs first major fundraising effort with a target of $5,000 in proceeds.
For more information about the Austin Blades Sled Hockey Club, contact Frank@STARskaters.org
SkateTherapy Adds Second Session
You have heard "build it and they will come"? It is so true for the skaters with disabilities of all kinds, who have joined SkateTherapy.org! The program, designed to build confidence, balance, social skills, while learning to ice skate, has grown so rapidly, the time has come to create a new skating session!
This happened for the first time, June 15, 2013, with the Session 1 class warm-up at 9:18. The skaters who are beginners, younger, or just more fragile enter the ice at 9:30 with an individual instructor for each one, skating until 10:00. They will begin by learning to balance on the ice, then learn how to take some steps and eventually learn to glide, as they progress toward skating by themselves.
As Session 1 gets off the ice, the skaters in Session 2, who will have been warmed-up at 9:48, will enter the ice at 10:00, until 10:30. These more experienced skaters (some hockey players) will begin their session with group instruction, which has been divided by level of proficiency, into 2 classes for the first 10 minutes. Following the group class, they will work individually with their instructors, some learning to shoot pucks while they skate.
The volunteer instructors, who have extensive skating experience, are carefully chosen, and feel honored to participate in this program. They enjoy teaching the children, especially as they watch their skater work hard to accomplish something very special. There is nothing like being able to set a goal and reach it! Each small step is celebrated, and there are many!
The capable administrative staff is ready to meet and greet our newcomers, plus those who have been with the class since it's inception. Without our incredible volunteers, the class would not exist. I can not thank them enough for their enthusiastic energy, their willingness to learn about the various disabilities of the children they help, being consistent and always willing to go 3 steps beyond what they have been asked to do to help our SkateTherapy.org
skaters. - B.L Wylie, Director.
STARskaters to Exhibit at Abilities Expo
For more than 30 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. Again this year STARskaters will exhibit the Sled Hockey and SkateTherapy programs.
In addition, there will be a Sled Hockey demonstration during the Expo to allow new skaters interested in Sled Hockey try out the sport indoors on wheels.
Attendees can also discover ability-enhancing products and services, play adaptive sports, learn new dance moves, attend informative workshops and more.
For more information, visit http://www.abilitiesexpo.com/houston/
Sled Hockey Team Plays in National Championships
In 2012, Team Texas Sled Hockey played in their first ever National tournament in Dallas and brought home the bronze medal.
Expectations were high as the team flew to Philadelphia to test their skills against players from across the country.
The team, comprised of Alfredo Corona, Cliff Greene, Justin Jarrett and Joe Szymaszek, from Dallas along with Houston players Ramiro Bermudez, Franko Guzman, Joseph Montemayor, Alan Montross, Andy Noland, Bagina Rwiyereka and Kyle Huckaby in goal. The team entered the tournament as the STARS, thanks to a generous jersey donation from the AHL Texas Stars.
The tournament organizer was none too kind as he drew up the tournament parings and of the 12 teams in the division, Team Texas faced the top two teams in their three games, losing to the eventual tournament champion in a close final game which saw the Stars let a 2-0 lead slip away.
The team had three stated goals going into the tournament. To win, improve as players, and have fun. By any measure, two of the three goals were achieved. Thanks to Keith Huckaby who took video of each game, the team was able to hold "chalk talk" sessions before each game, reviewing the play of the previous game. This video review allowed the team to make marked game-to-game improvements, turning in their finest performance of the weekend in the last game, albeit in a losing effort.
The 2014 tournament will be held in April near Boston, Mass and the players have pledged to redouble their efforts to ensure a shot at the gold medal next year.
For more information about Sled Hockey in Texas, visit www.TexasSledHockey.org
SKATING Magazine Features SkateTherapy
|Alice Jiang and her instructor Ailsa Robertson in Skating Magazine.|
STARskaters SkateTherapy program is one of just a handful of programs across the US that provide skating lessons for persons with disabilities...but that is changing.
In May, SkateTherapy was featured in U.S. Figure Skating's magazine, and that has sparked interest from rinks across the country.
Click here to read the article from SKATING magazine.
Sled Hockey Weekend in Houston
For the first time in Houston hockey history, Sled Hockey was played 3 days in a row at 3 different rinks in the Houston area.
Players from the Austin Blades team joined with the Houston Sled AEROS for nearly four hours of ice time which left players exhausted...but ready to do it again.
Thanks to our rink partners at Ice Skate USA, Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center and the Willowbrook Aerodrome, the players got in an intense weekend of skills and drills and scrimmage games..
And, a big THANK YOU to the Houston Astros who provided tickets for the Sled Hockey players and their families to the Asttros baseball game versus the Texas Rangers.
The Astros game was an excellent opportunity for the Austin and Houston players to get to know each other better off the ice, make new friendships and talk about the weekend of hockey.
Plans are underway for another Sled Hockey weekend August 2nd - 4th. Watch www.TexasSledHockey.org for details.
Sled Hockey, Therapeutic Skating, Brochures and Web
If you'd like to support our Sled Hockey and SkateTherapy programs as a sponsor, we have many ways to get the word out about your business:
- Web ads
- Newsletter promotion
- Event signage
- Sled signage
- T-shirt logos
- Jersey sponsorship
- Printed brochures
- Electronic brochures
Any or all of these are available to you based on your level of sponsorship. For more, contact sponsor@STARskaters.org
New STARskaters Brochure
Online PDF available by clicking here
Sponsors are being sought for the 2013 version of the STARskaters brochure.
The brochure is distributed at area ice rinks, sponsor locations and the Toyota Center at the STARskaters.org table at most Houston AEROS games.
Inside, you'll read about the history of Sled Hockey and learn more about STARskaters programs:
- Skate Therapy.
- Sled Hockey.
- STAR Skate events.
You can also read more about how you can get involved in the STARskaters program as a volunteer, donor or organizing a STAR Skate for groups with special needs.
If you would like a supply of brochures shipped to you, contact jim@STARskaters.org
mission is to provide an on ice skating experience for therapy and recreation for children and adults with special needs, and to support SLED HOCKEY in Houston.
The program is open to anyone five years of age or older who would normally be unable to enjoy an on-ice skating experience due to their disability.
STARskaters.org is a public charity registered in Texas as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tax ID number 26-1657556.
All donations are tax deductible.
Houston AEROS Booster Club
For the past two years the Houston Aeros "Tailgunners" Booster Club have supported STARskaters with their "Seats between the benches" raffle. Unfortunately, with the AHL hockey club moving to Des Moines Iowa to play as the Iowa Wild, the Aeros booster club is disbanding.
Booster club President Margaret Martin commented "The Club was introduced to STARskaters by it's members, Kim and Ken Belknap. It's an organization that we've been honored to be allies with. As part of the process of disbanding, the Board had to make a decision as to what to do with our remaining proceeds. I was proud that the decision was made to share some of that with STARskaters. We strongly believe in their dedication to bring hockey to those with all abilities, as hockey, in any form, is our love. I, personally, have enjoyed working with STAR and will continue to do so. It's amazing to see what they do and how much their players enjoy it. The talent, personality, and enthusiasm of these guys is mind blowing. We wish STARskaters much success in their endeavors for a long time into the future".
STARskaters is thankful for the very generous donation and the past support of the Aeros Booster Club. Hopefully professional hockey will return soon to Houston, the boosters will reorganize for the new team and we can join forces once again to put STARskaters supporters between the players benches at a hockey game!
The SkateTherapy Instructors
The growth of the SkateTherapy class has been remarkable, as evidenced by the addition of a second ice time Saturdays at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center.
Each week 29 skaters and as many as 39 volunteer instructors take the ice to teach basic skills skating to a group of very special individuals who look forward to this weekly class.
These instructors range in age from 11 to adults who carefully guide these students through the specially designed U. S. Figure Skating's 14 step Therapeutic badge program. The skaters' parents are thrilled and excited at the progress the skaters make as they advance beyond anything they believed possible! Breakthroughs in skills are celebrated each Saturday, and badges are awarded at special ceremonies so each student has an opportunity to be "STAR of the day."
Who are these instructors? Figure Skating competitors who are sharing their love of skating, hockey players who can't wait to see these children put the puck into the goal! The instructors' age is no issue in SkateTherapy.org...... But excitement is. Parents of skaters who are still active, retired hockey players, as well as girls representing competitive hockey teams are all part of the gargantuan effort. Coaches who willingly give their Saturday mornings to share their knowledge and enthusiasm step right in to lead group lessons.
Thank you, SkateTherapy.org instructors! We salute your consistency in effort! We know you love these children, because the smiles we see on the faces of everyone involved tell the story!
Lauren, Maggie, Nicole, Emelia, Noah, Dan, Isabele, Michaela, Karen, Celine, Erika, Janet, Gracie, Ashely, Elena, Rene, Katie L., Katie S, Kayla, Ben, Mandy, David, Kaitlin, LeMair, Pri, Chloe, Jonathan, Sarah, Aaron, Hailey, Anna, Lucy, Sue, Chandni, Sabrina, Julia, Jennifer and Chris this great Big THANK YOU is for you!!!!
And, if you'd like to get involved, contact us at volunteer@STARskaters.org