Sometimes an idea works so well little brainstorming is necessary to refine it. That was the experience for Ottawa Police Association members Mike Lamothe and Jeff Kelly in 2015 when they determined the need for hockey experiences for Ottawa’s kids with developmental difficulties. A brief meeting with OPA President Matt Skof and “Special Hockey Heroes” was born.
So confident were Lamothe and Kelly that the idea would be a success, they, along with Pat Frost, secured two hours of ice before they had any players signed up. Then working with community connections the two were able to fill the ice and haven’t looked back. The kids were nervous but excited at the news of the September 1, 2015 official draft. All were relieved when 100% made the team.
Special Hockey Heroes was an immediate success and was recognized by Canadian Hockey legend Don Cherry on Coaches Corner.
The Heroes have played a number of games with Ottawa’s Police and Fire Fighters, along with some minor league teams. In March of 2015 and 2016 the Heroes traveled to Rochester, New York to play in their annual “Friendship Tournament” along with teams from Ontario and Northeastern United States.
Next steps, the Ottawa Police Association has made it a priority to engage other Police Associations from across Canada to get on board with local teams, building the Special Hockey Heroes league and bringing Canada’s game to kids in their own community.
Check out Don Cherry’s video welcome to the players, families, all the volunteers and the men and women of the Ottawa Police Association, played at their inaugural team banquet.