The New York Raptors is a special ice hockey program designed to bring the thrill of hockey to players of all abilities. Special hockey is a unique program open to children and adults with developmental and other disabilities who are unable or ineligible to participate in other organized hockey programs due to their disabilities. The players’ disabilities do not affect their ability to play good hockey and have a great time. The enthusiasm and dedication of these players and their coaches is without equal.
The NY Raptors are extremely grateful to their dedicated group of volunteer coaches, including many assistant coaches from the area high school teams. The team hosts a Thanksgiving tournament each year and travel to several other tournaments throughout the season.
The Raptors is one of about 50 US teams affiliated with Special Hockey International and the USA Hockey/American Special Hockey Association. The team skates at the Westchester Skating Academy in Elmsford Sunday afternoons in the fall and winter.
The NY Raptors began in 1996, when Mike Dwyer, then the British Consul in New York, moved to Larchmont from Toronto where his son had been playing on a special hockey team, the Toronto Grand Ravine Tornadoes. There were no organized league sports for children with disabilities in the area, so Mike decided to start one. With a little help from the press and the local BOCES office, Mike made history. The Dwyer family relocated to England in 2001 where Mike, indefatigable, started the London Werewolves Special Hockey team – a first in England. The team grew under the leadership of Patty Nadolske and for the past 6 years has been so ably coached by Liz Truly.
The NY Raptors are members of USA Hockey (USAHockey.com), Special Hockey International (SpecialHockeyInternational.org) and American Special Hockey (AmericanSpecialHockey.org). The team is classified as a 501(c)(3) charity.