To the Readers' Forum:
There are times in the life of a community when something very special happens that everyone should know about.
This past weekend's Special Hockey Extravaganza at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena was just such an occasion. I arrived back in town Sunday morning and, when I went to the arena, there was a palpable buzz in the air. The teams from the Special Hockey Extravaganza had just finished their extravaganza/tournament.
You should first know what the event was about.
The extravaganza was put on by the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) which was created in 2000 for players with developmental disabilities. The ASHA gives people of all ages and talents a chance to learn and grow by playing hockey. There are currently over 50 special hockey programs in more that 30 cities throughout the United States. The Jamestown Extravaganza hosted teams from Detroit, Baltimore, New Jersey, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Washington, Guelph and Hanover, Ontario. Over 300 players participated.
When I walked into the arena, the arena staff were saying what a fantastic and uplifting event it was. One staffer said, "It was inspiring. I was so proud to be a part of it. It made me glad to work at the arena." She related that over 900 people attended Friday's opening ceremonies and the organizers are already committed to another Extravaganza in November. When it was announced, several teams ran across the street to book hotel accommodations. They loved our facility, the staff and the community.
When I left the building, I was struck by the number of players and families lining up to pose with our bronze hockey figures in front of the arena. It was a great tribute to our local arts community. These visitors learned about Jamestown up close and found it wonderful.