Local News

Nonprofit helps special needs children get into hockey

Posted October 2, 2009 9:23 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2009 6:45 a.m. EDT

— JV Cotterell started the Triangle Special Hockey Association several years ago in an effort to help children with special needs get involved in the sport.

The nonprofit association, which is open to developmentally or physically challenged youth and adults, has more than 40 players on its roster.

Cotterell said his son, Tyler, who has autism, has benefited by being a member of the group.

“It’s hard for kids with autism to focus on being on a team because they’re so secluded and by themselves. Now, he’s actually playing with other kids. He’s learned to be a little more social,” Cotterell said.

Kevin Lilley's son, who has Asperger Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, plays on the team. Lilley said before his son started playing hockey, social settings were difficult for him.

“The hockey has given him a chance to play with other kids, to be in a competitive sport,” Lilley said. “It also shows him that there are other kids like him.”

The association has a partnership with the Carolina Hurricanes to provide volunteers during home games in exchange for ice time.

There are about 60 hockey teams around the country for special needs players.

The Triangle association is also working to start a sled team in November.