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February 2024
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The Arizona Cactus Cup Special Hockey Festival Coming to Arizona
By Justin Liggin - Monday May 22, 2023
The Arizona Cactus Cup Special Hockey Festival kicks off in May as adaptive hockey teams from across the Western United States gather in Arizona to grow the game and connect for a weekend of fun, friendship and hockey.

In January, the Washington Capitals and captain Alex Ovechkin announced several community initiatives in honor of Ovechkin passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL's all-time goals list. In celebration of surpassing the 800-goal mark, Ovechkin donated to the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) to cover ice costs for 100 special hockey teams across the United States, including for the Arizona Cactus Cup.

Ovechkin has a longstanding relationship with ASHA, having hosted multiple ASHA skating sessions as well as a street hockey event. Hockey Players In Business and the Arizona Cactus Cup have teamed up with the effort to welcome the athletes and families to Arizona.

The festival is free and open to the public with teams hitting the ice from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 at AZ Ice Peoria. The festival will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, May 28 and will conclude for spectators at 6:30 p.m. following the championship game and awards ceremony.

ASHA provides an environment of learning, mutual respect and a sense of community to thousands of athletes and families across North America. The festival will include nine (9) ASHA adaptive hockey teams like One Step Beyond’s (OSBI) One Step Coyotes and One Step Sharks, the Valley and Bay Area’s adaptive hockey programs

“The Arizona Cactus Cup creates a supportive environment where hockey athletes of all abilities can come together, learn from each other, enjoy their passion and celebrate their wins,” says One Step Beyond Director of Special Programs Jared Woosley. “The Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks have been such great supporters to help us grow our hockey programs and our One Step Beyond athletes are thrilled to take the ice and showcase their talent at the festival.”

"The American Special Hockey Association is grateful for Ovechkin's continued support of our programs and the Arizona Cactus Cup," says Jen O'Brien, ASHA Executive Director. "Through this wonderful donation, Ovechkin has made it possible for every hockey player, no matter their ability, to achieve their goals. We are honored to grow the game with OSBI and support their incredible and innovative programming."

In addition to action packed special hockey games for every team, the festival will feature a street hockey tournament and street hockey skills clinic fundraiser on May 27 featuring the Top Shotts mixed-ability hockey team from Mikey’s League, a local organization focused on providing inclusive sports opportunities for athletes of all abilities.

"Mikey's League programs provide an experience where individuals of all abilities come together to learn the fundamentals of the game,” says Scott Freeman, founder and executive director of Mikey’s League. “Beyond developing skills, our inclusive approach fosters camaraderie, boosts self-confidence, and promotes social integration, creating a truly enriching and empowering environment for all participants."

WHAT: The Arizona Cactus Cup Special Hockey Festival

WHERE: AZ Ice Peoria
15829 N 83rd Ave, Peoria, AZ 85382

WHEN: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 27
8:45 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28

ABOUT ONE STEP BEYOND, INC.

Phoenix-based One Step Beyond, Inc. (OSBI) is a private, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive programming and services for adults who have intellectual disabilities. One Step Beyond empowers its members to achieve independence, self-sufficiency and employment through innovative culinary, education, fitness and arts programs as well as strategic partnerships with local businesses that enable participants to contribute to and achieve greater social participation in their communities. One Step Beyond has four locations in the Phoenix Metro area, including Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale and Surprise as well as a location in San Carlos, California. For more information about One Step Beyond programs and services visit https://osbi.org/

ABOUT THE AMERICAN SPECIAL HOCKEY ASSOCIATION

The American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities through the sport of hockey. ASHA serves over 110 adaptive programs and nearly 7,000 registered members and families across North America. http://www.specialhockey.org