Special Needs

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ASHA Announces Partnership with NHL

23 Nov, 2020


The American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) announced a new partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL). The group helps developmentally disabled athletes learn the sport of hockey and develop team building skills.

The organization's executive director said the new partnership will help enforce the idea that hockey is for everyone.

"(ASHA is) where every player is a star, and what we really wanted to do is take a look at that everyone has abilities," said Jen O'Brien. "It's not always just our players, our athletes from all abilities, from those just stepping on the ice to those who can play at a more competitive level, as well as their peers, coaches, junior coaches and volunteers."

O'Brien said the new partnership is part of a five year plan to increase engagement and expand the group. She said the local team has served as a model for others across the country.

"We're also working with the AHL as well so like here in Binghamton, we're so excited to have a great relationship with the Binghamton Devils, and they of course welcome our teams out onto the ice as well as help support our event we had in January."

O'Brien said the organization started with roughly 55 teams across the country. Today, there are now more than 90 full teams, and plans for another 20.

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