Hockey is often described as Canada’s national pastime and now a variation of floor hockey for youth with physical disabilities is here, creating a unique opportunity to enjoy a social, team-based environment.
In partnership with Variety Village, the City of Markham is piloting a para volt hockey program this month. Volt hockey is an accessible form of hockey that’s played in a specially-designed chair that’s operated by a joystick by people with a variety of disabilities, such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, osteoporosis and dwarfism.
“Beyond the immediate health benefits of participating in recreation, para volt hockey produces opportunity, inclusion and builds connectedness, meaning and social relationships,” says Karen Stintz, President & CEO, Variety Village. “Volt hockey is a game changer.”
Variety Village helps young people with disabilities and those who face developmental barriers achieve life goals through integrated sports and life skills programs. It launched Canada’s first volt hockey league in Toronto in 2016 in partnership with the Royal Danish Consulate General. Volt hockey is played by more than 50 teams in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The sport was introduced to Markham as a featured sport during Markham’s 2017 Sports Day at the Markham Pan Am Centre. “Hockey is a proud Canadian tradition and volt hockey is accessible to everyone,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “I am proud of our partnership with Variety Village and I am inspired by the heart, passion and the love of sport we see in the players, coaches and ambassadors of the game.”
The City of Markham and Variety Village kicked off a para volt hockey pilot program at Mount Joy Community Centre Arena on July 3. City of Markham photo.