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MacNab’s Special Olympics team triumphs at provincial championships

Posted on Monday, June 26, 2017
hockey team

ATHLETES: Marcus Johnston, Sam Elstone, Matt Kempen, James Pugliese, Jesse Burtt, Abdi Ismail, Jamie Beauchamp, Ryan Cowell, Justin Gillespie, Jessica Cooper, Caleb Rogers

Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School’s unified Special Olympics floor hockey team brought a silver medal home from the provincial championships at Brock University on June 12-14.

Special Olympics Ontario School Championships program provides sport training and competition opportunities to high school students with intellectual disabilities, regardless of skill.

This year, the competition offered the option of registering teams of students with and without intellectual disabilities. MacNab’s floor hockey team was one of the unified squads to compete.

The team began training in February, where they built their skills from the ground up.

“A lot of the team didn’t know how to properly handle the stick, or what offense and defense was,” said Dennine Guenther, Learning Resource and Autism Spectrum Disorder teacher at MacNab. “They came together as a team and worked very hard. It was really amazing.”

The provincial championships were packed with games and social events for the athletes to meet and celebrate their accomplishments. One evening, the teams attended a dance where athletes had friendly dance-offs and took photo booth pictures.

“It was fun and we got to meet new people,” said team member Justin Gillespie. “I’ve been doing the Special Olympics since the fourth grade. It’s so awesome because you get to see your friends that you haven’t seen in forever. We worked so hard for floor hockey.”

The team hopes to expand and delve into more sports for next year’s competition, but also continue to grow their floor hockey skills.

Learn more about the Special Olympics Ontario School Championships.

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