Variety – the Children’s Charity of Ontario is working with its partner chapters across Canada to build a VOLT Hockey League in Canada. VOLT Hockey is played by over 50 teams in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United States, and now in Canada.
VOLT Hockey is an accessible form of hockey that is played in a specifically designed hockey sport chair by people with a variety of disabilities, particularly those with limited upper mobility. For many of these children, it is their first opportunity to play on a team and learn valuable life skills such as team-building, competition, and social inclusion. These types of opportunities are critical, especially given that 52% of children with a disability report they have no friends.
In 2016, Variety – the Children’s Charity launched the first Canadian team at Variety Village in Toronto. With help from donors and sponsors, we received over $100,000 to launch the new team and expand opportunities for children with a disability to play. During the week of March break that year, the Toronto Maple Leaf players Brad Boyes, Byron Froese and James Van Riemsdyk came by to meet the kids and play a friendly game of 3 on 3. Of course the kids won.
On Saturday, April 9, 2016 the first Canadian team was launched.
Now, there are teams in London, Niagara, Newmarket and soon to be Barrie. The league is also growing nationally. There are two teams in Alberta, one in Edmonton and one in Calgary.
The success of the VOLT expansion has been made possible through donors such as Bank of Montreal, UNIFOR, Jumpstart, and the Maple Leaf Alumni Association.
The vision is to have interprovincial championships and an annual national tournament. The Maple Leafs Alumni Association has already agreed to sponsor the national tournament. The winning team will have an opportunity to travel to Denmark and play in the VOLT World Cup Championship.
The game is played by two teams on an indoor court or gymnasium in the specially designed chairs. The electrically run chair starts off slow and quickly reaches up to 15 km/hr. Normally there are three players on each team on the court at a time, with two 15 minute periods and two referees. The game is played in a standardized manner, according to an International Rule Book. The other great aspect of VOLT Hockey is that the chairs belong to the club so there are no equipment fees for parents. The only fees that parents pay are the club fees.
Of course the current situation related to the pandemic has postponed the chance for tournament play but we are continuing to support team expansion throughout Ontario and Alberta so that more kids can get off the sidelines and into the game.
Although the costs for individual participation are low, the chairs are expensive because of the custom design. The cost to establish a club is $50,000 for the necessary equipment.
Find a Location!
Bank of Montreal
Canadian Tire Jumpstart
UNIFOR Local 444
Maple Leafs Alumni Association
Air Canada Foundation
President’s Choice Children’s Charity
The Canning Family