With a big send-off Saskatchewan’s team for the Special Olympics Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland were sent on their way on Sunday – and for at least three of the athletes, it’s a family affair.
Brothers, Tyler and Matt Haddad, are on the floor hockey team, along with their father, Shane.
Tyler and Shane had been to a tournament together in Quebec, but this is the first time all three of them have been together. Tyler, 25, said it’s special.
“I got two families going – I got the hockey family, and then I also got my brother and my dad going too.”
Shane has been competing in the Special Olympics for 35 years.
“I have two ‘mini-mes‘ to continue,” said Shane about his boys. “When I was younger I was awesome at every position. And now I’m in net, and they take over on the floor.”
Tyler said he gave his little brother some advice before they left.
“I told him that it’s a lot different than any of the other tournaments he’d been to before, so, you know, just take it all in and play your game.”
For those who think Special Olympics tournaments aren’t as competitive or intense, Tyler said they’re wrong.
“When we’re not competing against a team when we’re at the events, we’re really good to each other, we’re like family, talking, being nice and stuff. But when we’re on the floor we’re all going hard to win.”
He’s been training for a year, preparing for the winter games. Tyler said he’s been playing hockey, soccer, and working out with a personal trainer multiple times a week.
Though the athletes on this team Saskatchewan have intellectual disabilities, that doesn’t stop them from doing what they love – Tyler said it shouldn’t stop others from competing either.
“Go out there and try, don’t think you can’t do it. Go out there and try.”
To follow Team Saskatchewan’s progress, click here