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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The WCHL

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Amateur Sports Competitions, Children & Youth, Health, Sports

Mission: The Wheelchair Hockey League (WCHL) of Michigan was created for the enjoyment of participating in hockey. The purpose of this league is to provide an appropriate means for persons in wheelchairs to have the opportunity to play in a competitive floor hockey league and have the chance to engage in the camaraderie and excitement of the sport. Our League includes players in electric and manual wheelchairs.

Target demographics: Persons with physical disabilities in power or manual wheelchairs. Males & Females. Ages 10-65

Geographic areas served: Southern Michigan & Metro Detroit. Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Programs: The WCHL is a four team, 40 player wheelchair hockey league that plays a 12 game season, plus 2-6 playoff games (depending on how far a team advances). 

This all includes, Gym fees, Jerseys, Equipment, Xmas Party, Awards Banquet (Awards & Meal), Summer Picnic BBQ, All-Star Game, Social Pizza Parties, and an Xmas gift for all players.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

David135

Client Served

Rating: 5

The WCHL....my god, this organization really has impacted my life a lot, truly. This is my second season playing, and I have to say, i wouldn't stop for anything. I really don't know what to say. they're very good at placing you on a team and getting you in right away (not in the middle of a season, mind you). there are many ways to adapt your handicapped child (or adult) to using their stick, and very flexable rules for doing that. Back to the main point....this place has been life changing for me, giving me the ability to play sports and to interact socially with many people, contrary to many handicapped children's social, but limited, lifestyle.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The WCHL is an amazing organization that offers every challenged athlete a chance to play hockey, no matter what their ability level. I remember when I was driving my then 10 year old son to his first practice, he was so nervous, but when we got there everyone welcomed him and made him feel so comfortable that he couldn’t wait to go back and play again. He has now been playing for the league for 10 years, and is the Captain of his current team, a mentor to the younger player and has received numerous awards for his ability, and sportsmanship. He owes all of this to the amazing players and families within the WCHL. They have offered him opportunities that no one else could. I consider every player, every family member and every volunteer within the WCHL a member of my family and look forward to every game.

1 Penny C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The WCHL is a well organized sports league that provides a team that's fun and competitive and gives players and families an opportunity to
be a part of something where they can learn, support one another, cheer one another on or just hang out with each other and enjoy watching some fabulous hockey.

The Wheelchair Hockey League gives players a reason to get healthy - to play hockey and see their friends!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was introduced to the WCHL through a friend and participant when I was 16. I refereed my first game the following week and volunteered countless hours to the league for five years. Although I was not given a wage for my time and effort, I never would have accepted one if I had the option because I believe in the WCHL and support what the league stands for and provides. Knowing that my actions helped to keep such a great organization running more smoothly is more rewarding than any amount of money could ever be.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The WCHL has provided a fantastic opportunity for our daughter to enjoy a competitive team experience involving other people with physical disabilities. The group is extremely welcoming and ensures that everyone has the opportunity to compete (not just participate, but actively compete). We drive over 180 miles each weekend to participate, because the experience is so valuable. From the league administrators, to the parents, to the other participants, this is simply a first class organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son James has Cerebral Palsy. We have tried Challenger Baseball, Wheelchair Basketball and Sled Hockey. All good sports if it is a match, but some were impossible or he out grew the age group or it did not hold his interest. Wheelchair Hockey can adapt to most any wheelchair disability and allow the player to be truly competitive in a REAL sport. It is played by a wide range of ages and allows players to stay involved, develop friendships and confidence. What more could you ask for.

Brenda D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son was in the hospital for the 5th time with pnemonia and he was telling the nurses how much he loved hockey and wished he could be a player and one nurse told him about a wheelchair hockey league she knew about and gave him imformation about the league. He was very excited and after being released from the hospital soon went to his first practice, it opened a whole new world for him. In school he could not participate in sports and did not even have a gym class, when he told the school about the hockey league and how much he loved playing they got the stuff and he was then able to have a gym class, somedays they would let his friends from class play with him and some days he practiced on his own. He was able to make a lot of new friends at school by talking about his hockey and intrest in sports. He always still looks forward to Wheelchair hockey on the weekend. He practiced and became a good player and one year his dream of making the travel team came ture and now he can look forward to Hockey all year because the travel team plays on the off season. Its just been such a benefit for him to be part of a team, the league has become like extended family.There are many health related experiences with the physically challenged players all share and they tell each other what they have tired that has worked and what doesn't work. Its just good overall fun, watching them compete for the cup and how many of them are fierce competitors on the court and best of friends off. We have people walking by just stop and watch, they love the excitement and how the fans really cheer for the teams.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I started with the wheelchair hockey league in 2001 as an adult looking for a recreation outlet. It became much more to me than a recreation outlet, it helped me grow as a person and helped me work on my leadership roles on and off the court. When I started I really didn't know that much about hockey, but was eager to learn. The seasoned players helped me learn and grow as a player.

Dean O.

Board Member

Rating: 5

For the past ten years I've been a part of the WCHL. The WCHL provides a great experience for both young kids and adult hockey fans who are physically handicapped. It allows them a chance to be a normal individual and have fun while learning the game of hockey. I know for a fact that without the WCHL my life would be much worse. It has given me something to work for in life and is something I hope everyone can experience.

Anthony N.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became aware of the WCHL through other disabled kids at my school who were involved with it. I was nervous to come and check it out at first, because I feared it was just another sport for kids with disabilities that was not of the competitive nature. However when I was 12 I finally decided to come and watch a game and fell in love ever since. Both my brothers play hockey and for years I sat in the stands wishing so bad that I could play, but because I was born with Osteogenisis Imperfecta and bound to a wheelchair, I was never able. When I found the WCHL I was able to play hockey just like my brothers, in a competitive league where everyone can play. Over the years I made so many friends and became much more involved, it has become like my second family.

Jason F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got introduced to the WCHL through my brother Mike, who has been an active player for ten years now. As a fan, I always enjoyed the exciting games, support and comradery of the families and players alike. Last season I started volunteering as a DJ, and this season I have also taken on refereeing. Being involved in the WCHL is personally an amazing experience everytime. I admire the players immensely for their skill, motivation and courage alike.
To any parents of disabled/ wheelchair bound children who are interested in joining, I greatly incourage you to do so. The enjoyment on the players faces, and the lasting friendships alone to me are priceless.
The WCHL is a very special organization where children and adults alike with similar backgrounds and challanges can be competitive, make friends, and more than anything simply have fun.

Meaghan K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the WCHL for the past three years reffing games and have been attending games since 2007. This league has developed a sense of sportsmanship in me that I had never experienced before. Having gotten to know the players, parents and volunteers over the years, I have learned a lot about teamwork, endurance and dependability. The Wheelchair Hockey League is home to not only the enthusiastic players who are physically disabled, but to all who participate and spectate. This sport and its members rely on those who help to allow this organization to flourish. We are like a family if anything. We all lean on each other and appreciate what everyone is there for.

My favorite parts of the sport include the reactions from the crowd when a team scores or gets called on.. how methodical the players can be and the intensity of each team's drive to win. Having reffed for the past three years, I am able to look at the players and understand their goals and habits. Every team is unique and driven.

Over all, the WCHL provides a safe, entertaining and athletic release for all of those involved. I look forward to it every week and am proud and honored to be apart of such a great community of people.

Beth L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for the Wheelchair Hockey League (WCHL) for eight years as the statistician for the games. My responsibilities during the games include scorekeeping, recording penalties, and keeping track of players' switches in and out of the game. Outside the game, I assist with running the voting for the annual All-Star Game and Awards Banquet. I also travel with the Michigan Mustangs (WCHL's travel team) each summer and take pictures at their tournaments.

Why do I do all of this as a volunteer? Because the WCHL is one of the most amazing organizations I have encountered. The league is run entirely by the players with the assistance of family members and volunteers. I love helping to keep the league true to their vision of an organization that is not only competitive, but supportive of players of all abilities.

The WCHL is an organization worthy of notice. The members are not only part of a team within the league, but they are also part of the larger WCHL family.

babsy4969

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Barbara Ulewicz, and my son, Brian, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has been a member of the WCHL since 1998. He's played mostly Defense and as Goalie, his preferred position. Over the years, he's been voted as Goalie of the Year several times.

He joined the league in it's beginning years, at the age of 14. He is now 27 years old, and he's played on the league 13 years straight. He was quite surprised when he was first joining the league, to be able to pick out the number 19 as his official playing number, after his hero, Steve Yzerman. But his greatest joy ever was to discover that there was even a sport that was available and adapted for wheelchair users to begin with. The fact that it was hockey, his favorite sport, just made it all the more exciting for him! And what a fulfilling and heartwarming feeling, as a parent, to know that my child can finally participate playing in a sport, in an organization that will accept him exactly the way he is! Success....my son can experience and enjoy playing a sport he truly loves!

To give a little more insight into the general make up of the WCHL, both manual and power wheelchair players are accepted, beginning at the age of 10 years old. There are both females and males alike on the 4 teams formed at the present time. There is also a diverse area of physical impairments among the players, such as several forms of muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and others. Anyone and everyone who meets the criteria of being a wheelchair user with a legitimate physical impairment, and at least 10 years old, can join our league. And of course, all are welcome to come out during our active season (Sept. - June) to see for themselves just what our WCHL is all about, and how they too can join our organization. Anyone interested in our league can also check out our website at www.thewchl.com, or they can contact our commissioner, Chris Lemieux, at chris@thewchl.com.

Besides all the freedom and fun a league such as the WCHL can provide, so much more can come out of our organization to benefit everyone involved. Most importantly, there's lasting friendships to be made amongst the players, as well as with the parents. In time, with this comes communication and mutual support and concern for each other. With this then, there is growth to exchange and discuss similar thoughts and ideas which ultimately helps to form a bond between so many persons. The WCHL can and does do all this, just as if we've formed our own caring family.







Jason D.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The WCHL has become a second family to me as well as a support system. I have met many people in situations similiar to mine and have learned to grow into my own.

Zeljko S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Zeljko Sreckovic. I am 30 years old and have had Cerebral Palsy since berth. Since joining the Wheelchair Hockey League (WCHL) in 1998, I have made many friends and teammates, as well as, having some of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, both physically and emotionally.

The WCHL is a floor hockey league where persons with any disability can play and enjoy the sport of hockey. The league has 40+ members, split up into 4 teams and we play a 12 game season each year plus playoffs all for the chance at a league championship and the right to raise the Wheelers Cup.

Along with the league, I am also part of a traveling tournament team known as the Michigan Mustangs. We are comprised of members of the WCHL and each year we travel to different cities and states all in the goal of competing in the sport of elite power hockey.

We have competed in 6 tournaments since 2000, including winning the U.S. Power Hockey Championship in 2009 and finishing with the silver medal at the Power Hockey Cup in 2010. We are currently planning for our next tournament which will take place in Philadelphia, PA in August 2011.

Joining the WCHL has been one of the best decisions of my life and has enriched my life in countless ways.

If you want to join a happy family type atmosphere, where sportsmenship and teamwork are daily staples. Become a member or volunteer in the WCHL.


Client Served

Rating: 4

my son is a member of the WCHL, he has brittle bones and Our family thought he would never be able to play any type of sport even wheelchair sports because of the danger of him breaking a bone, then his doctor mentioned a wheelchair hockey league that was a non-contact wheelchair sport that had all levels of disabilities and ages. I will never forget the first time he ever played and the first time he ever scored, it brought tears to my eyes. The look on his face is the look that every parent loves the look of excitement, of accomplishment, and happiness, and that look on a child that is disable is priceless. He found a place where he is not different but just like every other team mate, he found a place where he belongs. The WCHL is so organized and runs it like a true hockey league. It is so much fun to watch, it is a truelly undescribable feeling.

Chris L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am both a player and the Commissioner of the WCHL. The WCHL provides me as a player with a competitive outlet to play sports and be part of a team. This league has allowed me to achieve goals, make new friends and ultimately give back to others by introducing and teaching them the game.

I cannot play any other sports, but I can play hockey. The WCHL has provided persons in wheelchairs with a competitive hockey league for 13+ seasons. Not only allowing the players to partake in sport but also enjoy the camaraderie and social aspect of meeting new peers and families in similar situations as myself

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My Son plays in the WCHL, it has given him a new lease on life. Since moving to the Detroit area in 1998, he has been playing in the WCHL. This has been a great opportunity for him, as well as my wife and I. It gives us a family of people outside of our own family. It has helped him grow into a man during the last 13 years playing competitive wheelchair hockey and interacting with others who may come out to participate. He now is the Commissioner and runs the league on a daily basis. It takes a lot of his time and energy, and he loves every minute of it. We are grateful for the WCHL for what is is and what Chris has developed it into.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son has been playing wheelchair hockey since he was 10 years old. When we moved to Ontario and my son joined the WCHL in Michigan, how was I to know that this league would change my life.
We have met and befriended so many wonderful people, a core group that have become our extended family. Through the WCHL my son Chris has become a better person. He has been running the league for the past 6 years. He has mentored the younger new comers, encouraged them and their parents to attend and join our wonderful league. He has extended his patience and kindness to everyone, along with his words of encouragement. I am so proud of him. We are so very lucky to be part of this wonderful league, to have met so many caring individuals and to have watched so many players grow!