From Community Service: Sled Hockey/Nobles Partnership Initiated by Pulde Family
Most winter weekends, you can expect to see the parking lot down by the Omni Rink jammed with families here to support the hockey program. You might not realize that some of the vans hold hockey players who have traveled from the greater Boston area, Sunday after Sunday, to strap themselves onto sleds to access a sport they love despite the physical challenges they face every day. The program's connection to Nobles began three years ago when Mason Pulde '13 asked to speak to the Community Service Board about his passion to bring sled hockey to Nobles. The result has been a satisfying and productive collaboration between the enthusiasts of the sport, members of the both Nobles hockey team and also the Community Service program. As with any endeavor that challenges the spirit and the body like this one does, able helpers had a lot to learn about when and how to reach out to these athletes. Do you offer to help them on to the sled? Do they wish to get to the bathroom alone? What does "helping" look like in this context? Three years after Mason began the conversation, the connection to the Northeast Passage program remains strong. As Mason graduates, and other Nobles students continue to lead us forward in the partnership, the service department want to thank the Pulde family and Mason, in particular, for helping Nobles to support a cause so worthy. Below, is a timeline of the partnership's efforts to date.
Spring 2010—Mason Pulde '13 comes to a Community Service Board meeting and introduces the group to an organization called Northeast Passage. The program is designed to improve access, independence and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. He and his family have seen some sled hockey games. How can Nobles get involved?
Summer 2010—Winter ice time secured with Buildings and Grounds for some practice sessions to develop the program for 2010-2011.
November 7, 2010—The first sled hockey session at Nobles; volunteers, sled players and coaches meet for the first time. Representatives from Northeast Passage introduce us to the sport. Therapists from the local Veteran’s Hospital and disabled veterans kick off the season. Six Sunday practices throughout the winter culminate in March 2011 with Nobles hosting an adult tournament in March 2011.
November 2011—Second season of sled hockey. More Nobles students are introduced to the organization and volunteer at more Sunday development sessions. Nobles boys varsity hockey scrimmages the NE Passage Wildcat sled team in February. The season finishes in March with Nobles hosting a tournament for the junior sled players in March 2012.
November 2012—The Northeast Passage trailer is a regular sight on a number of Sunday mornings throughout the winter. Kaitlin King (coach of the Junior Wildcats) introduces the sport to more young people at Nobles' Dedham location. She teaches the importance of access; sled hockey is an ice sport that allows individuals with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy and participate in the popular winter activity.
The relationships continue to grow. Friendships have formed between players on the Nobles team, therapists, activity directors and the sled hockey participants. Each season brings a greater commitment to learning from each other.