BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - A local organization is breaking down barriers for kids and adults with developmental disabilities through hockey.
Wednesday, the Black Swamp Ice Frogs hit the ice in Bowling Green for practice. Players ran drills and took practice shots on the net.
"I'm usually one that just wants to pass to people," Harry Anderson, 7, said. "I get in the goal sometimes."
The nonprofit program is for people with developmental disabilities. But when they lace up those skates, they're just part of the team.
"They want to socialize," Michael Howick, founder of the Ice Frogs said.
Howick started the team in 2012 to give his son an opportunity to play. Since then, it's grown leaps and bounds.
"There's a phrase: 'they're more like us than not,' and they are," Howick said. "They're competitive, they want to score, when they put the puck in the net they're happy."
Practice may not be by the book, but the players give their all.
"I like making goals. My favorite part is making goals," Ethan, 13, said.
"For them to get out there and be in a team environment and build those skills really works great for them," Joshua Anderson, coach and parent, said. "As a coach, you love to see that happen."
The program hinges on the community's support. Donations make it possible to offer everything free of charge.
"We off this as an outlet for their kids," Sue Kepling, treasurer and proud grandmother, said. "We furnish all the equipment. If they happen to need special equipment and they go buy it, we reimburse them."
The league is open to anyone and everyone. And every player and parent will tell you, the experience is worth it.
"Playing hockey is a small thing that we do to support the parents, the families," Anderson said. "It's just the most rewarding thing."
The team is holding a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to raise money for the program.
It's February 2, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1526 East Wooster, Bowling Green, Ohio.