Monday, October 30, 2006

Orientation announcement: Lots of important information

Susie Miller sent this out a week ago, but I missed it somehow. I'm posting it on 11/5 but I'll backdate it in the blog to avoid confusion. The key point is that both of the rinks we were to play on initially are still under construction. For at least the next 3 weeks we're meeting in Fridley, at the Columbia Arena at 6:00 pm. The new South and North schedules are online.

You can always check back here for updates on rink construction and schedules.
USA Hockey

The Minnesota Polars had planned to play out of the Schwans Super Rink in Blaine, MN. The rink we were scheduled to play on is currently being delayed in construction. As a result we have been relocated to Rink #2 at Columbia Arena in Fridley, MN until Mid-December.

The Minnesota Stingers had planned to start at the Minnesota Made Ice Center in Edina, MN. When we initially scheduled the rink we knew there was a possibility it would not be ready until after Thanksgiving... We found out today that indeed the rink will not be ready until after Thanksgiving.

Therefore both teams will play out of Columbia Arena in Fridley, MN for the first 3 weeks from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m....


From 694 (All points south) - Take University Ave. North to 69th Ave., (take a right on 69th Ave.). Take your first left on the East Service Drive (Frontage Road). Colombia Arena will be on your right hand side.

From the North - Take Hwy 47/University Ave. South to 73rd Ave. Take a Left. Take your first right on the East Service Drive (Frontage Road). Columbia Arena will be on your left.


Minnesota Stingers - Head Coach Rick Carlson; Asst. Coach Chris McCallister

Minnesota Polars - Head Coach Chris Winkel; Asst. Coach Bill Marshall

Here are a few notes before the puck drops!

1. If you are in need of equipment please contact Coach Rick at 763-546-1590 regarding used equipment we have received. Please note this equipment is usable, but not in the best shape. Our equipment guide can help with your planning.

2. Please arrive at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 5. This will allow time for you to get dressed and will allow your parent or guardian time to sign final paperwork. (Skaters may wish to dress at home, then add skates and a bit of gear on site.)

3. If you have friends or family interested in volunteering please contact Susie at or 612-325-3392. For safety reasons volunteers must be at least 14 years of age or older. A volunteer meeting will be held on Sunday, November 5 at 5:00 p.m. Volunteer spaces are limited. (I never thought I would say this. We have an overwhelming response of volunteers.). USA Hockey requires all Volunteers to wear Hockey Helmets at all times when on the ice. If you do not have your helmet you will not be allowed on the ice.

4. We are still accepting registrations. Please tell your friends!!! We do have scholarship money available from Edina Rotary and Bremer Bank. If you know someone who would like to play but does not have the financial resources please have them contact us to see if they would qualify.

5. We would like each team to have a team manager. This position would help plan activities for the team and help the coaches with other responsibilities. If you are interested please inform your coach.

6. MN Special Hockey is a part of the American Special Hockey Program which is part of USA Hockey. Each year USA Hockey hosts a Disabled Hockey Festival. This year's festival is going to be held November 30 - December 3. We will not be sending a team this year; however any one of our players could go and join another team. If you would like additional information about this tournament please see the attached flyer and let your coach know you are interested.

7. These are exciting times. This is the beginning for all of us. If you have questions, compliments, or concerns please discuss with our coaches Rick or Chris, or any of the other board members.

8. Keep checking our website (! We will post new and helpful information. (jf: The website Announcements link on the left side of each of our pages will take you to this blog.)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Open Skate Pictures Online (10/22/06)

The photos from last week's open skate at Mariucci are online. You can click on an image to see a larger view, and download a full sized image.

I'm also adding these pictures to our old smugmug album, the password is mnhockey.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Hockey Equipment Guide: Getting Ready!

Cheryl has sent on a fitting and gear guide from Center Ice Skate & Sport: Hockey Equipment Guide. It's a super overview. You can print it and take it with you when shopping.

All participating skaters will be required to wear a helmet (visor/face guard strongly encouraged), skates, elbow pads, gloves and (ideally) a cup. They'll need a stick as well. If a skater will tolerate additional gear then breezers, shin pads and shoulder pads should be used. If you have questions, or if your skater will not tolerate the protective gear, please contact your coach to discuss adaptive options

We do have a very limited supply of used equipment, so if you are having trouble getting equipment, we will certainly try to find something that will work for you. Please contact Rick Carlson @ 763-546-1590 if you have equipment needs or have any gently used equipment you may want to donate.

We will provide socks and a jersey for each player! We will need to know what name you would like on the jersey and what size you will need. In addition, it may be necessary for the skater to have their own practice jersey and socks for the first few practices until the jerseys are printed and delivered.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Open skate today at 4:30pm

I've updated the information for our Minnesota Special Hockey: Season kickoff: open skate on 10/22 4:30-5:30. It now has links to the map and parking information.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Strib article on MN Special Hockey

You can still view this article on the Strib's website:
Hockey players with disabilities get an assist
October 19, 2006 Star Tribune
Michael Rand

When Susie Miller tells people about Minnesota Special Hockey -- a program for hockey players with developmental disabilities -- they often don't believe her. It's not skepticism, but more of a giddy disbelief that such a thing now exists.

One parent asked, "Is this ice hockey?" (Yes). "For kids with developmental disabilities?" (Yes). "So my child, who has Down Syndrome, can play?" (Yes). And the kicker: "He's going to think he died and went to heaven."

Miller, for the City of Edina in its adaptive rec program, is a lead organizer of Minnesota Special Hockey. She and others started it in the spring, Miller said, when they found several other similar programs in cities around the country but none in the Twin Cities...

... Skaters as young as 4 and as old as 42 participated in the spring. The goal with a full season is to split into two teams of 25 skaters each, with one based in Edina and one in Blaine. Teams will practice starting in November and eventually play games against each other. Registration is $150, and organizers are working on getting a grant to pay for some of those costs. They also have sponsors on board to defray other costs.

"It's great seeing the smiles on the kids' faces," Miller said. "A lot of them have been going to their siblings' games for a long time. For it to be about them now, they love it."

Sam Cashin is a perfect example. He was the No. 1 fan of his older sister Lucy's teams, but the soon-to-be 14-year-old never played because he has a severe form of epilepsy. But Sam played in the spring and had a great time. This year, Lucy is going to be a volunteer.

"For him to go on the ice and have the girls watch him skate was wonderful," said Jane Cashin, Sam's mother. "It's a challenging thing physically and a wonderful learning experience."

Strib will have article on MN Special Hocky

Coach Rick reports:
The Star Tribune will be running an article about our hockey program in this Friday's news paper. It will be exciting to see what they have to say about Minnesota Special Hockey!
I'd guess it will appear in either the Local or Sports sections.

HockeyGiant $100 equipment package

HockeyGiant has superstores in Blaine and Bloomington (HockeyGiant Superstore - Bloomington, MN, near REI). Coach Rick reports they offer an equipment package (not including skates) for younger players:
Hockey Giant offers a $100 equipment package for players 14 and under, $149 for over 14 or senior sizes. The Team Package includes:

1 pair of shin pads
1 pair of shoulder pads
1 pair of elbow pads
1 helmet with cage
1 pair of hockey pants
1 hockey stick

The brands are Mission, Itech, Bauer, and CCM, we used to use one brand for all but since hockey is starting up they use a variety of brands. Matt Rasmussen is the rep there that manages this.