The Quinte Rhinos are the newest member club of Special Hockey International (SHI). Special Hockey International was formed in 1996 to create opportunities for youth with special needs to participate in the great game of ice hockey in an inclusive, supportive, and safe environment.
Quinte Rhinos will play out of The Pond at Rhino Sports and Playland. Randy Uens said, “Quinte Rhinos Special Needs Hockey will offer an organized, modified form of hockey to accommodate special needs for males and females of all ages. We hope to create teams with rosters determined by skill levels NOT age. Weekly games or practices from the week after Thanksgiving to the end of March in a safe, inclusive, accepting environment. Uens also mentions that “Equipment will be made available, when needed, through fundraising efforts planned and corporate sponsors. Special social outings such as picnics, pool parties, and Belleville Senator hockey games will also be planned.”
Nick Foley is a board member of the new organization and is also the founder of Move for Inclusion. Nick played Major Junior and CIS hockey and says that, “The Quinte Rhinos Special Needs Hockey is a wonderful addition to the Quinte area, offering opportunities that are not always available to youth with special needs. This organization demonstrates that true inclusion is when people value diversity and, in this way, we all learn from each other.”
Quinte Rhinos is a nonprofit organization and will be applying for registered charity status with CRA. Once that is completed, funding sources for the program will be finalized. The organization is confident that they will be able to subsidize costs to assist those families in need who would like to participate.
The organization will provide qualified coaches with an understanding of the challenges our players face. Coaches, players, and officials will also provide In-Service training. Quinte Rhinos also plans to align itself with the Quinte Red Devils AAA hockey organization to have players mentor players. “This is a great opportunity for both groups to learn from each other and embrace the value of the spirit of hockey.”
Quinte Rhinos is now looking for amazing, committed volunteers and sponsors to help with this amazing program. If you are a parent, guardian, teacher, or caregiver to a special needs child or young adult and would like to have your youth involved or you wish to help, Quinte Rhinos Special Needs Hockey is eager to hear from you. Please call Randy Uens at 613-661-6788.