Rochester special hockey team takes the ice
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Rochester now has its own special needs and abilities hockey team and they are ready to compete on the ice.
The new team is called the Rochester Kodiaks. It’s part of the The Minnesota Special Hockey League. The league was started in 2006, it’s a league where children and adults with special needs and abilities can compete. It’s part of Minnesota Disabled Hockey and USA Hockey.
The Rochester Kodiaks is a team of ten players range in ages of ten to 50. Practices are once a week on Sundays at the Rochester Recreation Center.
The team is led by two experienced head coaches, Bruce Frutiger, who had a successful career with the Century High School boys hockey team, and Colin Thomas, a special education teacher at Mayo High School. The teachers said when they heard the team needed coaches, they jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s about developing character and having fun on the ice,” Thomas said. “And, for people of all abilities to get out there and enjoy the sport of hockey.”
Student volunteers from the Century High School boys hockey team and the Rochester Grizzlies hockey team are teaching the players valuable skills on the ice.
“It’s really become a whole community that’s embraced this program,” Thomas said.
Scores aren’t kept and players are matched with opponents based on skill level, so it’s fair. The players get their own jerseys with their names on them, and if they need equipment, the league provides it for them.
The Kodiaks’ next home game is Jan. 16 against Woodbury at the Rochester Recreation Center. Find their full schedule here. Thomas said they are looking to grow the team. If interested, visit the Minnesota Special Hockey website.
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