Special Needs Hockey Team
Benjamin began playing hockey about 25 years ago in Toronto, first, as a member of the first special needs ice hockey team, the Grandravine Tornadoes, and then, the Gladiators. Alas, there was no opportunity to play hockey when he moved to L.A in 2001. Now, thanks to California Condors he can play every weekend.
Brandon has waited all his life for the opportunity to play ice hockey. He joined the Condors about 8 years ago as a non-skater, but his coach says he's a"natural born player". Brandon takes a lead role as scorer and is the teams "hat-trick" specialist.
Tim was born with severe gravitional insecurities and was not able to even get on a skateboard or rollerskates. But his passion for ice hockey began while watching the "Mighty Ducks" movies. This helped him to overcome his insecurities along with his patient coaches which helped Tim achieve his goal. Tim's loves to cheer for everyone's goals, whether by his team or the opposing team!
Dillon joined his brother Brandon on the ice 7 years ago. Despite his physical challenges, Dillon's absolute enthusiasm for hockey helped him accelerate in abilities beyond others expectations. As for being one of the smallest players on the Condors, that doesn't scare Dillon one bit!!!
Avi developed his love for ice hockey as a child when he took ice skating lessons and started watching ice hockey. When asked what number he wanted on the team, he choose 99 in honor of Wayne Gretzky, whom he personally met. He was very excited when the Condor team was formed. He now has a group of friends to play with and is devoted to the weekends with his team. Avi has been with the Condors since its inception.
Daniel Hauser joined the California Condors shortly after its inception along with his younger brother, Joshua. Daniel did not know how to skate when he started, however he has become the lead goalie and stops 80% of the pucks shot at him. He is a fierce competitor and team player who encourages his team mates to play their very best during practices and games. He likes to advise the coaches on defense strategies!
Aidan, who is now 12, was born with a rare Chromosome 6 deletion. He has multiple medical and learning disabilities but that does not deter him from participating with the team. He loves being on the ice with the other players and likes to be part of the action.now enjoys his new found freedom on the ice when he is in the Kaye trainer. He also likes to attend Kings games and shrieks with delight when the goal horn sounds.
Coming from a figure skating background since age 3, Ronda finally saw the light and turned in her figure skates for the fun kind---hockey! She is a special education teacher and is proud to volunteer for the California Condors Special Hockey team.
An East Boston native now living in LA, J.P. has been with the Condors since 2012. His playing days were spent at Suffolk University in Boston and he has coached at the youth, high school and college level. He says the Condor experience has been by far, the best.
#9 Mark F. has been with the Condors since Summer 2014. Mark is the youngest of eight kids and an uncle to nine nephews and nieces. He is a sophmore at SVHS where he enjoys participating in Drama productions. He is a big Kings fan but also enjoys watching Dodger baseball and football. Mark loves pizza and chicken nuggets and playing with his dog Parnell. Mark hopes to play college hockey when he graduates in 2018.
Chris aka (“Cruise” or “Ice Wall”) is a great fan of Hockey. His favorite player is #32 Jonathan Quick from the LA Kings. He has always wanted to play goalie for a great team, and has been given that opportunity with the Condors. He gives great thanks to his coaches for all they have taught him.
#94 Alex Janis has been with the Condors since 2014 He loves music and follows the LA Kings, Dodgers and San Francisco 49ers. As a youngster, Alex played competitive baseball, football, soccer and basketball but loves hockey most of all. He has recently begun playing golf and he is getting really good at it. Alex has a younger 17 year old brother Zachary who helps the Condors whenever he is available.
Scott joined in the summer of 2014 With no prior ice skating or hockey experience, he laced up a pair of ice skates and turned out to be a quick learner. Besides playing hockey and ice skating he enjoys, BMX riding, mountain biking, hiking, going to Disneyland, and hanging out with his big sister. Scott’s favorite foods include pepperoni pizza, strawberries, PB&J sandwiches, chocolate milk and chocolate chip cookies.
Cameron began skating with the Condors in 2015. He is excited to be the second generation of ice hockey players in his family.
He enjoys playing basketball, soccer and swimming, too. He is an avid Los Angeles sports fan, following all of our home teams
Steve Kalan, a retired educator of 33 years, taught a range of subjects including athletics. He is married to Ronda and has been blessed with four wonderful grandchildren. Steve enjoys being active in coaching the California Condors along with his wife Ronda. “When I see our skaters get excited as they focus on the tasks and develop skills of hockey I become overjoyed and know why I love coaching the Condors”.
Spencer was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. He had the great pleasure of seeing the Colorado Avalanche move to the state in 1995 and win the Stanley Cup in their first season there. Having coached players from ages 4 through 74, Spencer has had some of his best memories, including the 2015 Special Hockey International tournament in Ottawa, with the Condors since joining the team in 2014.
Born and raised in Canada, Brett played hockey at the local pond... back when helmets didn't even exist! Brett is a huge L.A. Kings fan. He joined the Condors in 2010 and loves being on the ice again to watch his team grow into excellent hockey players. Brett has traveled with the team to tournaments in Texas, California and as far as Ottawa, Canada and remains committed to the team's continued success.
Mary Ann Maskery
President of H.E.L.P.
I met Rita Eagle and the soon-to-be-named “Condors” in the spring of ’08. It wasn’t accidental. Ronny Van Gompel, my partner for many years and a long-time hockey coach, had founded H.E.L.P. (Hockey Equipment Lending Program) to support families who couldn’t afford the expensive equipment. He asked me to keep the program going after his death. Frankly, I didn’t know how. And then I heard about a very small group of special needs kids starting to play hockey in Panorama City. It turned out to be a logical connection. Ronny would be proud.
Rita is founder and manager of the Condors , and proud mom to Benjamin Simon, #54. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 50 years experience with developmental disabilities and has been involved with special needs hockey for over 20 years. Aka Mother Hen, her goal is to keep the Condors family happy, safe, thriving...and in proper gear and apparel. She scores! With the help of her team-mates: the Condors dedicated coaches, kid helpers, parents and Madam Secretary Hen.
OUR AMAZING SPECIAL NEEDS STAFF
Christine has enjoyed the position of Madam Secretary Hen since Fall 2015 and assists Rita with the housekeeping of Condors business. In addition to an administrative background, she is a certified para-companion and has a BA in Child Development Special Education.
Her greatest pleasure is being the mother of Condors player #9 Mark Fleeger
"After God made me he said TA DA!"
As a California native Michael learned to skate at Snoopy’s home ice, Redwood Empire Ice Arena. Michael has coached youth from Mini-Mites to Bantams. When coaching the Condors Michael says:
”When you’re on the ice with these players you see such joy and love of the game, it is quite infectious as they are some of the hardest working players I’ve ever coached”.