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Continuing to establish sledge hockey in Antigonish

Helping out at a Sept. 27 bottle drive in support of Antigonish Bulldogs inclusive sledge hockey were program volunteer Caelan Quick, program leader Giovanni Akeson and his sister Roselia Akeson. All three are students at St. F.X., where the program started.
Helping out at a Sept. 27 bottle drive in support of Antigonish Bulldogs inclusive sledge hockey were program volunteer Caelan Quick, program leader Giovanni Akeson and his sister Roselia Akeson. All three are students at St. F.X., where the program started. - Richard MacKenzie
ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

Antigonish Bulldogs inclusive sledge hockey has started up for another season and organizer Giovanni Akeson, a St. F.X. graduate student and former junior ‘B’ Bulldog, said things are shaping up nicely.

“We’ve had a couple of practices and did some skills testing with the kids,” Akeson, speaking at the tail-end of a fundraising bottle drive event for the program Sept. 27, said.

“We’re on track with the same age group [from Antigonish Minor Hockey Association - AMHA]; they do some skill training for house league, for atom and novice age groups.”

  He noted games for the program would start up Oct. 6 and the practices are every Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m.

As for those who would like to get involved but are just hearing about the program, Akeson said they can contact him at x2015lmz@stfx.ca, inquire through AMHA, and check out the program’s Facebook page – Antigonish Inclusive Sledge Hockey.

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As for whether he and other organizers, such as fellow St. F.X. student Brent Ashfield who has been a key contributor to the program, are starting to see their efforts being noticed in other association and hockey jurisdictions, Akeson said “definitely.”

“We’re getting a lot of interest from other organizations and communities outside of Antigonish,” he said. “But, right now, we’re just trying to get everything sustainable here before we branch out. We’re working on developing a strong manual and a plan about how other communities can go about building this program. We’re in touch with Hockey Nova Scotia and Para-Sport Nova Scotia to try and develop that.

“But again, right now, we’re just focusing on making it sustainable here and, once it is, then we know we can bring it to other communities.”

St. F.X. human kinetics student Caelan Quick was helping out at the bottle drive and is in his second year of involvement with the program.

“I didn’t know much about it but I had heard about it, and thought I would come out,” Quick said, adding he already knew Akeson too, so that played a role.

“It’s awesome to be out there with the kids and be able to help them out. It’s great seeing them have fun and being able to include everyone,” Quick said.

He noted being involved with the program is beneficial on an academic level for him, as well as personal.

“It’s a great experience but it’s just awesome going out there too,” Quick said. “The time flies, just seeing the kids’ smiles and seeing them have such a great time.”

  

  

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