The Central Okanagan Wildcats and Kelowna Wild programs are hosting 10-team tourney at Rutland Arena. -Image: Contributed

Kelowna hosts Special Hockey Tournament

Children and youth with autism and other disabilities to play in Wildcats 10-team event

In 2006, Kelowna’s Phil von Unruh founded the Central Okanagan Wildcats Special Hockey program.

More than a decade later, children and young adults in B.C. with autism and other developmental disabilities continue to benefit from von Unruh’s vision.

The Central Okanagan Wildcats and Kelowna Wild programs are playing host this weekend to the ninth annual Special Hockey Tournament at Rutland Arena.

Ten teams and close to 200 players from around the province will converge on Kelowna Friday and Saturday to play hockey, while developing fitness, coordination and social skills within a team environment.

“It is a wonderful program that not only offers a wonderful athletic and supportive environment for kids on the spectrum, but also offers wonderful social connection to their families,” said Rosemary Thomson, a parent of one the players.

“In my opinion coach Phil deserves the order of Canada. He is awesome with the kids and totally selfless.”

Since founding a program in Kelowna in 2006 to give his son and other children with special needs an opportunity to play hockey, von Unruh has started up other teams in Vernon, Penticton, Kamloops and the Lower Mainland.

In 2016, he established the Kelowna Wild Special Hockey team for young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities to continue playing after they age out of the Wildcats. Siblings are also allowed to take part as peer players.

The tournament will feature 15 games, as well as two coach’s games. There will be an opening ceremony, with Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran to bring greetings and drop the ceremonial first puck.

The Special Hockey Tournament will feature six youth and four adult teams from Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria and the South Island.

Following the tournament, there will be a banquet for six hundred people as well as closing ceremonies.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s first pot shop opening soon

Two recreational cannabis stores to serve Kelowna-area soon

Kelowna Aquajets swim to 11th place finish in U.S. competition

The Kelowna earned 10 medals in the 23 team competition

Kelowna house fire deemed not suspicious

Fire crews doused overnight blaze at Barnaby Road home

Pot shop to open doors Saturday in Lake Country

Starbuds will be one of B.C.’s largest private cannabis stores

A pickleball debacle unfolds in Lake Country

Pickleball players and frustrated residents discuss the sport court

3 dead, 2 missing in northern B.C: Here’s what we know so far

Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were shot and killed on July 14 or 15

UPDATE: Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Two lightning caused fires in North Okanagan

The fires sparked Monday evening

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of B.C. couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

UPDATE: Culprit leaves clue for Okanagan RCMP in rainbow crosswalk vandalism

Crosswalk was defaced on the weekend, but RCMP may have some evidence

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Most Read