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February 21, 2007
Mayor David Miller launches Toronto Sledge Hockey in the Neighbourhood
Mayor David Miller today announced the launch of Toronto Sledge Hockey in the Neighbourhood, the only sledge hockey program in Toronto for people with disabilities. City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation offers the program in partnership with Bloorview Kids Rehab, the largest children’s rehabilitation hospital in Canada. The Mayor was joined by Paul Rosen, Billy Bridges and Bradley Bowden, three of the top sledge hockey athletes in the world and members of Canada’s Paralympic team, to celebrate the announcement.

Sledge hockey is an adaptation of ‘stand-up’ hockey that enables people with physical disabilities to participate in hockey and compete with able-bodied athletes on a level playing field. “We must remain committed to providing all people with the chance to participate in a rich economic, cultural and social life together,” said Mayor Miller. “Today’s announcement of the official start of Toronto Sledge Hockey in the Neighbourhood brings us closer to that goal.”

Toronto Sledge Hockey in the Neighbourhood will offer weekly skills and drills sessions twice a week at Phil White Arena. The program is open to participants of all ages and abilities with priority registration given to people with physical disabilities. A community outreach component takes sledge hockey out into the community to introduce people to sledge hockey while promoting and building awareness around accessible recreation. Also, disability organizations from across Toronto will be invited to bring a group to a City facility for an afternoon of sledge hockey as part of an independent living or rehabilitation program.

“Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation takes pride in implementing the only sledge hockey program in Toronto,” said Brenda Librecz, General Manager of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. “This initiative speaks to our commitment in helping to meet the recreational needs of individuals with special needs.”

City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation has committed $35,000 to the Toronto Sledge Hockey in the Neighbourhood program for 2007 and 2008, while the Bell Community Sport Fund awarded Toronto a $25,000 grant in support of the program. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment donated hockey equipment and Toronto Hydro donated hockey bags. The Leafs Fund awarded Toronto Sledge Hockey $28,000 through Bloorview Kids Rehab in support of an associated off-ice sledge hockey training initiative

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Hotline, 416-560-8726
Jacqueline Michelis, Bell Canada Media Relations, 416-581-3311



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