Throughout Canada and in many of the states, there are hockey programs for young people who have developmental handicaps from autism, retardation, seizures or other causes Six years ago, the Valley Ice Center in Panorama City, initiated the first ever ice hockey program in Southern California for children and young adults with developmental disabilities;
Ask the kids what they like, and the first answer is, “The team.” They call themselves “The California Condors.” The group is open to all developmental disabilities, all ages, male or female and all levels of skills – including those who have never skated before. On ice, all are equal.
The general public is familiar with the Special Olympics, but hockey is not part of that program. The program in Panorama City is the brainchild of Rita Eagle, whose son was able to play hockey when the family lived in Toronto. Her goal is to encourage these young people to have fun and learn skills and teamwork in a safe environment.
The Condors are members of The American Special Hockey Association,along with about 50 other teams across the USA and Canada, Untill about a year ago they were the only special needs ice hockey team in California. Inspired by the Condors there is now a team in Pasadena and one in Santa Clarita.
The NHL Players Association has generously donated equipment that is distributed through H.E.L.P., (Hockey Equipment Lending Program) The rest is up to the players, to their enthusiasm and joy in the sport.
Recently the L.A Kings have given us two wonderful coaches, Brian Simas and Joe Alexander. The Condors coaching team is rounded out by our fabulous volunteer assistant coaches, Mitch Berger, Brett Marsh, Ronda Kalan, Alec Stewart and J.P Guiliotti. Excellent teenage hockey players
volunteer to assist the Condors on the ice,
The First Special Needs Ice Hockey Team in Southern California.
Special Needs Hockey
WELCOME TO CONDORS COUNTRY
NOW PROUDLY AFFILIATED WITH THE AMERICAN SPECIAL HOCKEY ASSOCIATION
Hockey players at the end of each game meet at center ice and shake hands in a show of sportsmanship. Watch as the Condors do the same.
INTERESTED IN JOINING?
The Spring session is April 14 - June 16, 2013
$15.00 per session
Summer Session TBA
Players must wear complete protective gear, including a hockey helmet with cage. We are able to loan equipment. Players must also obtain USA Hockey insurance once per year, available online.
For more information, call Rita Eagle,
310-372-4794 (T, W, and Friday)
The Condors are a non-profit organization that engages in fund raising to cover the cost of participating in Special Needs tournaments, ice time, gear, and general team maintenance. The program is entirely managed by parents and volunteers. Fees for the program are charged exclusively to pay for ice time. Donations to the Condors to help support and expand the program are fully tax-deductible, greatly appreciated, and will be promptly receipted. Please make checks out to H.E.L.P./California Condors, P.O.Box 1520, Burbank, CA 91507.
The fabulous skate-a-thon organized by Kyle Woo, with guest appearances by representatives of the LA Kings raised the funds needed to send the Condors to a huge Speciacl Needs Tournamentin Toronto, Canada and a year later to another tournament in Denver.
The Ducks hosted "Condors Night" March 20- 2011.Our kids participated in the national anthem ceremony and had a terrific four minute scrimmage on the full sheet of Honda Center Ice. Mitch Berger and Chris Poulos assisted as coaches, and Michael Perreira made a goal!.
CONDORS COMPETE IN TOURNAMENTS IN UTAH, TORONTO, DENVER and DALLAS
The California Condors took a step foward in October 2009, entering their first tournament, and playing more experienced teams to a draw. Three ties, with the third finally broken by a shootout.
It was a tri-state tournament - Utah, Colorado and California. Special Needs Hockey is common throughout Canada and many of the States. But at that time the still young Condors team was the only special needs hockey program from California.
The tournament settling in the magnificent rink built for the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics added to the excitement. "Their energy was high. I felt their excitement," says Coach Ethan Rill. "This was as good hockey energy as I have ever felt."
The road to the Utah tournament was made possible by the generosity of fans and friends, Not least among those helping was 13-year-old Scott Belinsky who sometimes skates with the Condors as a volunteer helper. Scott was assigned to raise money for charity in preparation for his bar mitzvah, and was able to present the team with a check for $3,000.