Unreal is how former Team Canada sledge hockey player, and AMP PX3 sledge hockey director Curtis Cederstrand described getting to bring his sport to the Calgary Police Service (CPS) Headquarters.
CPS members, cadets, and members of the public joined with representatives of AMP PX3 sledge hockey and the Calgary Venom team on Saturday to take in the sport of roller sledge hockey.
Calgary Police YouthLink and the Calgary Flames Foundation also participated in the event, with Flames alumni Curtis Glencross and Jamie Macoun also there.
“It’s an unreal, unreal feeling seeing so many kids get exposed to sledge hockey and more specifically our roller hockey initiative,” said Cederstrand.
The sport lets anyone, regardless of ability, take part in the Canadian warm-weather past-time of playing hockey with balls instead of pucks, and blades for wheels.
“It’s such a good bridge for them to get out on the ice. It’s so much less intimidating for them to jump out in a roller sledge here in a gym,” he said.
“I’m just hoping that exposing kids to this will just keep them going forward in sport, whether that is sledge hockey or whether it is you just having kids being active.”
Constable Ahmed Shahein, with CPS’ recruitment division organized the April 22 event.
He said that of the 48 spots that were opened up for the afternoon, all of them were filled.
“You know, and this is gonna sound cheesy, but just seeing them all happy and smiling—that’s, to me, that’s like the success point,” Shahein said.
Months in the making, following event at Genesis Centre
Const. Shahein said that the sledge hockey event came about after seeing the success of the involvement of Calgary Police Service members at an adaptive basketball event last December.
“I had the unique privilege of playing wheelchair basketball, and then from there I thought it’d be really nice if we could do something here in Westwinds in our police facility, and give back to the community,” he said.
“So what started off with a small idea, wanting it to have five to 10 people, ended up with what you see here today.”
He said that there had been a lot of interest from members for the event, with officers ranking from constables up to inspectors stopping by to check it out.
“That’s how much everybody’s committed,” Shahein said.
“There’s so many more officers that would have loved to have come, just there’s not that much more room to bring people.”
Const. Shahein said that he hopes this sort of imitative between community groups and the police grows.
Cederstrand called the partnership for the event with CPS amazing.
“You know, it’s one of those things it’s actually hard to put words, just being able to work with with everybody here at CPS and with Ahmed,” he said.
“Just look out and we’re seeing the kids smiling over right now, and you can’t ask for anything better than that.”