Coyotes, Sharks go One Step Beyond at Cactus Cup event
For the One Step Coyotes and One Step Sharks special hockey programs, playing one another last month at the Arizona Cactus Cup event was truly a milestone.
“We had been waiting for this event for a very long time,” said One Step Beyond special programs developer Jared Woosley. “When the two One Step teams met each other for the first time, it was something special to witness.
“They became immediate friends over their love for the game of hockey.”
Woosley organized the game schedules, press, and events afterward, but said he was hardly the only person working to get everything together.
“Holly Tully with the Arizona Cactus Cup has been a longtime supporter of our program and its growth, and she was crucial to helping with the travel portion of getting our One Step Sharks and their parents out to Arizona,” Woosley said. “We are so lucky to have her as a part of our family. Jen O’Brian from the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) was also a great help at the event. She flew all the way from Maine to be with us and show her and ASHA’s support. Jim Curly and Larry Gibson also played very important roles, especially Larry who only played songs by The Who between play.”
The Arizona Coyotes Street Team “really stepped up,” according to Woosley, providing a blowup slap shot game and ball hockey for all patrons to enjoy.
The Phoenix Police Department and Peoria Fire Department also showed up with their trucks and vehicles to show their support, both on and off the ice.
“We are very proud of our first responders and their commitment to the special needs community,” noted Woosley.
As far as the game itself, when asked about the highlights, Woosley asked where to start.
“Oh, man, every save, pass and goal scored was an incredibly proud moment for all,” Woosley said. “On the last day, medals and banners were handed out to both teams who proudly hoisted them around the rink like they had just won the Stanley Cup.”
And with the rousing success of the first edition of this game, Woosley said this will surely become an annual event.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Without a doubt, we will repeat this next year. We have already been contacted by other special hockey programs who would love to be involved in next year’s Arizona Cactus Cup special hockey tournament.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Feb. 26, 2020)