I didn't know a whole other community existed of people who had disabilities played competitive power wheelchair hockey. I didn't know that I would play as hard as I do. I didn't know I would enjoy every second of my playing time only to try to do better the next. I didn't know I would meet some of the best friends I could imagine that accepted me for who I was and not what I'm not. I didn't know until the day I joined Philadelphia PowerPlay.
I met Pat Hilferty shortly after I joined hockey. He gave me a big, warm smile and made me feel welcome. I was in awe watching him play goalie only to hope that one day that I'd play as goalie too. He always asked me about my children and liked to talk to them. He encouraged me to do my best but don't worry about the mistakes. I liked playing defense when he was goalie because he taught me skills and we had awesome teamwork.
I admit that I'm not a huge sports fan, but I love to be apart of a team, be judged on my playing ability fairly, and to make friends. I didn't know of all the players as the other team members talked about national teams and sports conversations. But when they say that it's my time to play, I give my absolute best and learn from my mistakes (or at least try.)
I thank Pat Hilferty for founding such an awesome organization. He was the rock, the support , the role model and biggest fan to all of the players. He has made an incredible difference that will be well felt in years to come.