Point Pleasant Boro hockey coach Alex DePalma’s Brick Stars brings hockey to special needs children in Monmouth and Ocean County. A must watch feature!
BRICK – Alex DePalma has worn a lot of coaching hats in over thirty years in hockey. The Point Pleasant Boro varsity coach is most proud of leading the Brick Stars. Five years ago, DePalma founded the challenger program to introduce hockey to special needs kids in Monmouth and Ocean County. It started with eight players in eight one-hour sessions. Today, there are two sessions every Sunday morning at Ocean Ice Palace for 21 weeks and 62 athletes are participating.
The program has evolved to have a team that skates against other special needs teams in New Jersey. The second part of the weekly clinic has children learning the game and how to skate. DePalma says that no one is turned away.
“The program is for any child with a mental delay,” DePalma said. “We have kids with autism, down syndrome, severe ADHD, verbal, non-verbal – there’s not a kid that’s come here that hasn’t been able to stay. We’ll give you all the equipment, no charge – if you like it, then we go from there. We supply everything.”
The strength of the Brick Stars challenger program is from its volunteers. The Point Pleasant Boro hockey team are regulars on the ice every Sunday morning along with players from Brick Township, Saint Rose, Wall, CBA and the Brick Hockey Club. Kids will get an individual coach to help them learn how to skate and eventually work towards playing hockey.
Coming up this Sunday at 12 noon, the Brick Stars will take to the ice in the 4th annual Challenger Winter Classic at Avon Pond. The team will face the USA Warriors, a wounded veterans team in the outdoor rink. Donations will be accepted to help fund the Brick Stars and will feature a silent auction and refreshments.
Brick Stars Challenger Hockey invites any family with a special needs child to come to Ocean Ice Palace on Sunday mornings (beginner session begins at 8:55 am) and get on the ice!