‘Something really special’: Yarmouth Mariners Icy Knights program a winning combination off the ice

Mariners goalie Joey Lovullo and Gordon Jenkins play some basketball during the weekly Icy Knights program that the team takes part in during their hockey season. TINA COMEAU

Tina Comeau · Multi-media journalist

YARMOUTH, NS – It’s not just on the ice that the Yarmouth Mariners hockey team has had a winning season.

There’s been lots of reason to cheer off the ice too as another successful season of the team’s Icy Knights program has been held.

This year marked the first time since before the COVID pandemic hit that the program could happen.

The Icy Knights program sees the Mariners junior A hockey players matched up weekly with special needs youth and young adults who have physical or mental challenges.

During the 2022-2023 season, the players and Icy Knights participants met on Tuesday nights at Port Maitland Consolidated School where weekly activities took place in the gymnasium.

Activities have included floor hockey, soccer, basketball, tag, crafts, chatting, just hanging out, and more.

For their Christmas party, they went bowling. In February they made Valentines together.

Asked what he sees as a big takeaway of the program, Reilly Mayne says it’s not only the youth that benefit from the weekly sessions, but the players too.

This is exactly what coach Laurie Barron likes to hear.

Having the team make an impact in the community – and also to see players giving back to the fans and families – has always been important to the Mariners team and coaching staff.

“Seeing the players interacting with the youth and young adults with disabilities has been wonderful,” Barron says about the program and its impact over the years.

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