WinSport is expanding programming with the unveiling of 27 new wheelchairs that were purchased through the support of a grant by The Calgary Foundation.
The adaptive sport program returned for a fourth year, with eight weeks of free activities for Calgarians with or without physical disabilities.
On Sunday, WinSport with the help of Calgary Roughnecks defenseman Zach Currier, taught those in attendance how to play lacrosse, but from a wheelchair.
Currier says wheelchair lacrosse is much more difficult than the game he plays professionally.
“In my opinion, trying to figure out how I maneuver with the ball and steer at the same time, gives you a ton of respect for the athlete that did this in the Paralympics and the Olympics,” said Currier.
“So (it’s) really cool to experience it myself and definitely gives you some perspective on how talented those guys are.”
WinSport communications manager Dale Oviatt says this programming offering, with the use of new wheelchairs, will benefit so many in the city.
“We’ve heard from families (where) a father said last year that it’s the first time he’s ever been able to participate in a sport with his son,” said Oviatt.
“That really hits home and reminds us of why we do these things.”
Oviatt says there will be several sports led by national coaches over the coming eight weeks including rugby, fencing, sledge hockey and basketball.
“It’s expanding across the city. And usually every week we get 25 to 30 people out and try to program and you multiply that by the seven different organizations, it’s really important to expand it,” said Oviatt.
William Harder and his mother Ling Zhou had the opportunity Sunday to share a special moment on the court, playing lacrosse together.
Harder says he has never done anything like this before.
“Passing, you can get pretty strong from it. Like I’ve seen in the Olympics, people are pretty strong,” said Harder.
“We play together, we will also learn how to (build) teamwork to be a good team player,” said Zhou.
“I think this adaptive program will be very beneficial for children with special needs to get active to improve their quality of life as well.”