LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Once Edward Mikus got involved with the New York Raptors it became a source of enjoyment for the Larchmont father. Now in his eighth year with the Raptors, a Westchester County ice hockey team for the developmentally disabled, Mikus was overseeing the first game, Saturday, of the 16th annual Thanksgiving Tournament at the Hommocks Ice Rink.
Anne Majsuk and Mikus run the Raptors, who are coached by Liz Truly. The tournament also featured the New Jersey Daredevils, Long Island Blues and Albany Cougars. Three games were played with each going 45 minutes. The clock was stopped every two minutes for players to come into the game.
We are governed by USA Hockey and the American Special Hockey Association, said Mikus, who lives a short walk from the rink. USA Hockey states that hockey is for everyone. This epitomizes hockey for everyone. This is a team for a players who cant play hockey on a regular team, for one reason or another. My son had a friend on the team and he told me about it. Thats when I got involved.
The Raptors, who were playing the Daredevils in the first game, were created in 1996. According to Mikus, Mike Dwyer, who had moved to Larchmont, created the team because his son had played on a special hockey team while living in Canada. After Dwyer and his family moved back to England, Patty Nadolske ran the team from 2001 on before turning it over to Majsak and Mikus six years ago.
The Raptors practice Sundays, for 90 minutes, at their home rink -- the Westchester Skating Academy in Elmsford. Mikus pointed out that the teams are co-ed and each hosts a tournament during the year. As he explained this, Mikus was greeted by one of the former Raptors, Jonathan, who came to say hello and support the team.
Each November, the Mamaroneck Youth Hockey League donates the ice time for the tournament and Sals Pizzeria in Mamaroneck supplies the dinner after the games. It has been a great experience, Mikus said. To watch the players develop over the course of the year, to play as a team and to learn the skills, is really rewarding. That is why I continue to do it.
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