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BY Bassie

Inclusion Hockey League at Friendship Circle

The grand opening of the Florene Elkus & Edward Elkus Memorial Gym presented us with an opportunity to brainstorm new ways to expand our sports programs.

Playing sports encourages the players to learn teamwork – a vitally important “life lesson” for both individuals with special needs and their teenage volunteers.

Our current sports program, run by Coach Mike Barnett, enables the teen volunteers to assume a leadership role by teaching their friend with special needs how to play various sports. The competition has been eliminated to allow the players to focus on developing the cognitive and physical skills associated with shooting hoops, kicking a soccer ball, etc.

In our brainstorming session for our new sports programs, we realized the importance of a competitive sports league. Competition can be rough, but it also teaches other vitally important “life lessons” such as defeat, confidence, accomplishment and good sportsmanship.

Under the guidance of Ed Krass, a physical education teacher of 45 years, The Friendship Circle is launching “The Friendship Circle Floor Hockey League.”

The Friendship Circle Floor Hockey League is a real, competitive league with team placement, practices, games and playoffs. Each team will be comprised of both typically-abled players and players with special needs. This program does not pair one-on-one (Teen and child with special needs).  We will be selecting players ages 9-13 that are able to play independently. As always, there will be staff present if one particular player needs some extra attention.

The structure of the league will be two volunteer coaches per team of 8-10 kids with the hopes of forming four teams. There will also be 3 adult referees per game. The season will run for 3 months.

3 Month Schedule

2 weeks of team placement/practice

4 weeks of practice and games

4 weeks of just games

2 weeks of playoffs

Practice & Games: Tuesday and Thursday- 5:00-6:00pm

Length of league: 3 months (October, November, December)

Too often in our society, children with special needs are thrust onto the fringes of the community. They are considered too slow to run, too disruptive for a team and too “different” to fit into a regular league. We are excited that this new league will break that cycle and allow individuals with special needs to show the world their remarkable abilities.

For More information and to register please visit

If you have any questions, please contact Yarden Blumstein at (248) 788-7878 x. 208 or [email protected]


Written on October 5, 2010 by:

Bassie Shemtov founded Friendship Circle together with her husband Levi. Bassie is always looking for ways to enhance the lives of children with special needs while providing relief to their families and empowering teen volunteers.

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