The Red Wings play on the ice this year has been bad, but Carly Agro of Sportsnet recently did a story of how good the team can be off the ice.
Meet Jonah Gore.
Jonah is an 8-year-old hockey player from the Toronto area. His autism prevents him from enjoying NHL games live because of the sensory environment that exists. For those who don’t know, autism can prevent a child’s brain from properly combining their senses and allowing them to make sense of an environment. The changing lights, overwhelmingly loud sounds, and unpredictable crowd in an arena can make it difficult for one with autism.
That’s where the Red Wings come in. They have worked with an organization called Culture City Kids to make Little Caesars Arena certified as sensory inclusive. That means full and part-time staff at the arena have received specialized training to recognize and accommodate guests with sensory needs.
I didn’t even know this about Little Caesars Arena, but in a league that is continually trying to make hockey more accessible for everyone, the Red Wings are showing how much they are at the forefront.
Upon the Gore Family’s arrival at the arena, they received a sensory bag that included a weighted lap pad, photo-sensitivity glasses, and noise-cancelling headphones. These items allow one with sensory needs to enjoy a live hockey game just as much as anyone else.
What made Jonah’s visit even more special was at the end of the game, the Red Wings invited him down to the locker room to meet a couple of the players. Despite being exhausted, Jonah’s excitement was palpable as Niklas Kronwall took his advice on how to score more goals.
Check out the full story below. It really is touching and Carly did a great job.
8-year-old Jonah loves hockey but, until recently, watching an @NHL game live was out of the question.@SNCarlyAgro has the story of how the @DetroitRedWings helped make Jonah’s dream come true by making their games more accessible for all. #HockeyDay | https://t.co/ORq69krwcf pic.twitter.com/LmU5bDf8XA
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 8, 2019
In a season where hope seems dim for Red Wings fans, stories like this remind us that hockey is more than just wins and losses on the ice.