Celebrity Sledge Hockey Game at Surrey’s newest arena

Councillor Laurie Guerra, Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification Specialist Uli Egger, and Hayley Wickenheiser celebrate the RHF Certified Gold designation for the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex.

Featuring Hayley Wickenheiser and Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki

OVER 500 fans gathered at the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex on Saturday for a celebrity sledge hockey game, hosted by Hayley Wickenheiser and Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki, during Canadian Tire WickFest. 

Prior to the puck drop, the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) announced that the new facility has achieved RHF Certified Gold, being the first arena in Canada to receive this designation. 

Photos: City of Surrey

“This certification illustrates our commitment to investing in facilities and programs that are accessible for everyone,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Today’s celebrity sledge hockey game was a great example of how sport brings people together, regardless of ability. It was fantastic to see the community come together to celebrate this significant achievement during WickFest. I want to personally thank the Rick Hansen Foundation for recognizing that Surrey is working diligently to continually improve universal access across our city.”

This year’s tournament marked WickFest’s second year in Surrey, which expanded from 800 young female athletes to 1500, as a result of the increased capacity for ice and meeting space at the new North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex.  The crowds cheered as Wickenheiser and local celebrities faced off in a friendly game of sledge hockey with Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki, who is training to make Canada’s Para-ice hockey team for the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

“WickFest is more than a hockey tournament,” said Hayley Wickenheiser. “Our vision is to develop our players for their lives on and off the ice, through workshops and unique experiences, like this celebrity sledge hockey game. I know that our young players left with a better understanding of why inclusion and accessibility in sport is so important, which will inspire more understanding throughout our communities. Surrey is certainly leading the way in accessibility, and I congratulate them in this significant achievement with the Rick Hansen Foundation.”

Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM (RHFAC) rates sites on several criteria which look at the various needs of individuals with disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing.   The City of Surrey has 43 rated civic facilities, including 29 that have been RHF Accessibility Certified, and five that have achieved RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.

“Congratulations to the City of Surrey on achieving Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certified Gold for the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex.  Sport is a mirror to how we view ourselves. Regardless of physical ability, everyone should have an opportunity to participate in sport. This is the fifth site in the City of Surrey to achieve Gold certification, and I hope it will inspire communities across the country to continue to set the bar higher!” Rick Hansen, Founder, Rick Hansen Foundation.

The City of Surrey offers a variety of adapted programs and services.  Para Ice Hockey sleds and equipment are available at both the Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex and North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, allowing everyone to participate in public skates and programs. The para ice hockey program is just one of the programs and services that the City of Surrey offers to make the community inclusive and accessible for everyone. 

For more information on Surrey’s adapted programs, click here.

For a special video message from Rick Hansen, click here

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