Colorado hockey team introduces disabled players to popular sport

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LITTLETON, Colo. -- It may look like just another amateur hockey practice, but what happens every Sunday night at Edge Ice Arena in Littleton is nothing short of a miracle on ice.

At least if you ask the parents of the Colorado Golden Eagles.  It's a hockey club, for people who've never been able to play hockey before.

“They`re all people who otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to play on a club team or school team,” said Pam Wendell, whose son Sean plays on the squad.

Each player brings something different to the ice.  Each has a unique physical or intellectual disability

“Two of our boys are ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and the third may be, it`s hard to say,” said Rich Passmore, whose sons play on the Golden Eagles.

Passmore first brought his boys out to play three years ago.

“And this is great therapy, they get a lot of energy out, exercise get to skate,” he said.

And they get to feel something they don't often feel.  What it's like to be part of a team.

“It`s really hard for them to interact with other kids, you get ostracized quite a bit, you become the outcast, I know at school there are times when our middle son will come home just crying because he felt like people were making fun of him or having a hard time,” Passmore said.

No one is made fun of here.  In fact, when they put on these helmets, strap on these pads, something changes. Suddenly, they're the same as everyone else.

“Here they feel, for lack of a better term, normal,” Passmore said.

Fitting in.  It's why the club keeps growing.  There boys and girls, men and women too.  Some have been playing with the Golden Eagles for nearly two decades.

“I started in like 1997... (I was) seven years old,” said Brett Golinvaux, 25.

“I like this so much because we make new friends, and we travel a lot of places to play each time and make some good friends,” he added.

Brett says he especially likes the coach, who just happens to be his dad.

“It`s really been a real joy - really brings a lot of good feelings to the heart,” coach Mike Golinvaux said.

Every other day of the week can be really tough.  That's why they so look forward to Sunday nights at the ice arena.

“Every time i see the smiles on these faces, makes every bit of it worth it,” Mike Golinvaux said.

It’s their weekly miracle on ice.

Hockey isn't a cheap sport.  Between gear and ice time, it can cost a thousand dollars per season - per athlete - to take part.  But each member of the Colorado Golden Eagles gets to play for free, thanks to donations. If you'd like to help the team, click here.

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