Anyone who doubts the importance of the lessons hockey can teach–at least when it’s run by people who really get it–needs only to take a look at the Capital City Condors.
Based in Ottawa, the Condors were founded 11 years ago by Jim and Shana Perkins.
The Perkins held a simple belief: every kid--including those with developmental and physical challenges–should get a chance play hockey and dream the dreams that go with it.
To say that the Perkins’ idea is a success is to understate.
What started with three kids the first day grew to 14 by the end that first year.
Today,120 kids play for the Condors, at five different levels.
In October, the team skated with the NHL Ottawa Senators.
Oh, and they’ve won their share of tournaments over the years and they will be hosting one of their own in the spring
This coming weekend, the Condors were supposed to be Kitchener, Ontario for a tournament.
Not going to happen.
Late last year, the Ontario Hockey Federation wrote the tournament saying certain Condors players could not participate because they use assistive devices such as a Kaye Trainer, which helps players who other wise couldn’t stand upright on the ice.
Chances are, it won’t be the last time it happens.
Perkins calls it a “sanctioning issue.”
And it’s left a mark.
“Their absolute highlight is going to tournaments and playing other teams,” Mark Jamensky, the father of a Condor, told CTV News.
‘They’re being precluded from doing so because of a ruling none of us really understand.”
Lawyers are working on it and the Condors are considering filing a human rights complaint against the Ontario Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada.
Some of the players were just informed last week that they would not be going to Kitchener.
But despite that setback, they are about to learn a lesson that’s one of hockey’s finest.
Perkins says the Condors will not be going anywhere unless they go as a team.
And that means everyone–everyone–on the roster.
I spoke with Perkins by phone on Monday.
(Please be advised that the man might make your day.)Listen