Special needs hockey program flourishing in Penticton

Community backs team

The public is invited to a fundraiser hockey game later this month between the local RCMP and Penticton Upper Dek Vees.

The Upper Dek Vees is a special needs hockey program sponsored by DekSmart Ltd., the City of Penticton and several other sponsors. 

“We have participants that spent months just walking on their skates around the edges of the arena and now they can skate,” said Penticton Upper Dek Vees head coach, Jeremy Sirakov. “You get to see that passion because every time they carry the puck in and score, it’s almost like it’s their first time. You have to love the program because you get to see that happen.”

The program was put together in 2008 by a group of volunteer coaches to offer the special needs community in Penticton an opportunity to play hockey for all ages. The Upper Dek Vees now have a junior program and a senior program consisting of almost 50 players.

“We are excited to be involved with the Penticton Upper Dek Vees and support its initiatives of providing a safe, fun and supportive environment for its participants,” says recreation coordinator – events, Lisa O’Daly. “We are delighted to continue supporting this program for our community.”

The “No Love Lost” game between the Upper Dek Vees and the RCMP takes place Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Okanagan Hockey School rink. Admission is by donation and all funds collected will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association and special needs hockey.

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