For the past few years, sitting in our section at Citizens Bank Park, there is a nice family who we exchange pleasantries and talk Philly sports with.
The section we sit in, is for handicapped persons such as my father who requires the use of a wheelchair and for people such as Patrick Hilferty, a young man who also requires the use of a wheelchair.Â What I did not know about Patrick is that he plays power wheelchair hockey and is the founder of the Philadelphia PowerPlay team.Â My mom informed me of this after she had a conversation with Patrick’s father, Dan.
I checked out Patrick’s team website and read all about it.Â And immediately felt this team needed to be represented and talked about.Â Especially having this forum to do so.Â Below is a description of what the Philadelphia Power Play is:
The Philadelphia PowerPlay is a power wheelchair floor hockey team based in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The team is insured and sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia & Vicinity. We follow the rules and regulations of the United States Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association (U.S. EWHA).
We believe that competition and challenge are healthy and necessary for all people, regardless of ability. The Philadelphia PowerPlay is an athletic team which provides a quality, well organized recreational and social program within the community. Our emphasis is on teamwork, skill development and fun. The team is open to all persons who are competent power wheelchair users. – PhiladelphiaPowerPlay.com
Philadelphia PowerPlay in action!
Patrick was kind enough to answer some questions:
1. When did you create the Philadelphia Powerplay and why?
Patrick: I started the Philadelphia PowerPlay in the fall of 2004 after playing hockey in our adapted gym class in high school. The team was created to give people with physical disabilities a chance to play a great sport.
2.Â How are players chosen, or does every person who fills out a registration make the team?
Patrick:Â Every player that registers is accepted on the team. The only requirements are that they are competent power wheelchair users and that they can understand the basic concept of the game.
3. Â Is there an age requirement or limit?
Patrick:Â The only age requirement is related to the players ability to safely use their power wheelchair. Our youngest player is 8 and the oldest is about 50.
4. Â How many power wheelchair hockey teams are there nationwide and is the sport growing?
Patrick:Â There are several teams in the United States and Canada, with a majority of the American teams in Michigan and Minnesota, along with the Philadelphia PowerPlay in Pennsylvania and a team in North Carolina. The majority of the Canadian teams are in the Toronto/Ontario Provence area. There are also teams in Europe. The sport is growing slowly.
5.Â Have you always loved hockey? Â And who are your favorite Flyers/NHL players?
Patrick:Â I am a huge hockey fan and have been for more than 10 years. It is my favorite sport. I love the Flyers, but I am also an avid Phillies and Eagles fan. My favorite Flyers are Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Ian Laperriere, who is one of the nicest, classiest athletes in Philadelphia.
6.Â Is there is anything you’d like to add?
Patrick:Â The Philadelphia PowerPlay is hosting the 2011 United States Powerhockey Championship this August 5 to 7 at Neumann University in Aston, Pennsylvania. The tournament features the best players from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Minnesota. All information about the tournament can be found at www.philadelphiapowerplay.com. We would love to have more fans to come and support us.
If you are interested in contributing to the team please read the following:
Founder/Team Manager Patrick Hilferty & Flyers Danny Briere
The Philadelphia PowerPlay is a non-profit grassroots organization. We are committed to providing people will physical and intellectual disabilities a chance to play a competitive sport and develop a sense of camaraderie, teamwork and athletic accomplishment. We are always looking to grow our program by doing exhibitions, presentations, and traveling to tournaments. Because of this, we need financial help. I know economic times are difficult, but your generosity is appreciated.
Please send cash or check donations to:
1201 Blythe Avenue
Drexel Hill, PA 19026
(Make checks payable to the Philadelphia PowerPlay.)
Check them out on facebook and give them a “like” PhiladelphiaPowerplay Facebook
I want to thank Patrick for the interview and wish him and the Philadelphia PowerPlay good luck in the 2011 United States Powerhockey Championship! And if anyone is in the Aston, Pennsylvania area next weekend, go support and root this amazing team on.
Image source:Â Patrick Hilferty, PhiladelphiaPowerplay.com
Heather Carnassale is a contributing writer for Its Always Icy and senior writer for View From Section 116 covering the Philadelphia Phillies for Aerys Sport.