Special Olympics floor hockey team to compete nationally

HUMBOLDT — Janice Weber doesn’t know what makes the Special Olympics Humboldt Floor Hockey team click, but whatever they do it is working, said the Special O Humboldt President.

The team is busy getting ready for their upcoming trip to Nationals in Thunder Bay on Feb. 25 to 29 and the Humboldt players will be representing Saskatchewan this year in the floor hockey category.

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The 15-player team competed in an Invitational Youth Games in Toronto last spring and was asked to compete on the National stage.

The majority of the players are from Humboldt with one player being pulled up from Nipawin to play, Weber said.

“He was so excited whenever he found out that he was getting to go.”

Three coaches are also going; Brian Referschied and Lawrence Weber from Humboldt, and head coach, Darren Whitehead, from Prince Albert, a long-standing Special Olympics Saskatchewan floor hockey coach.

Weber said the team is working hard with three workouts a week, including two floor hockey practices, and a strict no junk food rule to get ready to compete.

The players work well together, Weber said.

“There’s something about those guys, they just click.”

Defenseman Melissa Hinz, said that everyone gets along and listens to their coaches which is why they work so well together.

While the team would be happy to bring home the gold, winning is not at the forefront of the teams’ minds, she said. Hinz is more excited about making new friends at the games, she said.

“We’re just going there to have fun.”

The team needed over $20,000 to go to Nationals but thanks to local businesses, they raised what they needed with an Adopt an Athlete funding drive, Weber said.

The team will leave on Feb. 23 with their first game against Team New Brunswick on Feb. 26. The floor hockey competition will end on Feb. 29 with the awards ceremony to follow.

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