enjoy Hockey Day
About 60 residents at Avalon Retirement Centre in Orangeville participated
in Hockey Day Feb. 27.
The special day featured a hockey game between
residents from the long-term home verses residents from Avalon’s
retirement lodge. Players were put in wheelchairs and pushed around
the home’s auditorium by staff. Foam pool noodles were used
as hockey sticks and a beach ball was substituted for a puck.
The day also featured a
speech from former Toronto Maple Leaf player Ron Ellis. Hockey
Day was capped off with residents watching the Leafs play the Buffalo
Sabres on television.
The day was sponsored by the Avalon Rainbow Auxiliary,
a fundraising group which grants wishes to residents as well as
to seniors in the community. When asked what they would like to
do for an activity day, many residents wanted to do something involving
hockey, says Avalon’s activity director Sarah Murray.
“It turned out to be a group wish for our
residents,” says Murray.
They day began at 10 a.m. when Ellis arrived at
the home to speak to residents and spend some time chatting. Murray
says residents responded well to Ellis, who was a member of the
Maple Leafs’ 1967 team – the last Toronto team to win
the Stanley Cup. Ellis was also a member of the Canadian team that
beat the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series.
“He started talking about his days as a
Maple Leaf,” says Murray. “He answered questions and
was shaking hands.”
At 2 p.m., residents had their hockey game. In
honour of the Maple Leafs, residents wore blue-and-white jerseys
adorned with their team name, the Avalon Angels. At stake was a
trophy staff members brought in for the occasion. The retirement
lodge beat the nursing home 1-0.
“They won the trophy, but we’re getting
it back next year,” Murray says.
Murray says although a month has passed since
Hockey Day, it has left a big impression on residents.
“They are still talking about it,”
she says. “A lot of them called their family members and said
‘Hey, we just met Ron Ellis.’”
Avalon resident Adam Densmore says he had a good
time at Hockey Day.
“I had quite a bit of fun,” he says.
“It was excellent.”
Densmore, who is a long-time Leafs’ fan
and former bush league hockey player, says he enjoyed meeting Ellis.
“He’s a super guy,” Densmore
Murray emphasized the importance of activity days
like Hockey Day. Many residents who are normally quiet, she says,
began to clap and smile when Ellis mentioned familiar names to them.
“It’s extremely important,”
she says. “For some of the residents who are lower functioning
… you could see recognition in their eyes.”