Special Olympics New York Athletes headed for Japan

January 28, 2005

Local Team to Compete in the World Games 16 floor hockey athletes from the Special Olympics New York Hudson Valley Region will compete in the 2005 World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, February 26th – March 5th. These athletes will not only be representing their hometowns and the State of New York, but the entire United States when they suit up and take on the best competition the world has to offer.

The North East Knights started their journey to Nagano last year when they won the gold medal in their division at the Special Olympics New York 2004 Winter Games held in Ellenville. That qualified them to go the World Games and with less than a month before they leave for Japan they’re getting ready. The Knights just won the gold medal at the Peter Aquilone Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament held at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, on January 22nd. “They played great at the tournament,” said Janet Riley, one of the coaches for the North East Knights. “They are playing as a team and getting better every time they get out on the floor.”

The 16 member team consists of athletes who range in age from 13 to 49. The Knights have two more big dates ahead of them as they get ready for the 2005 World Winter Games, in Japan. The first is Thursday, February 3rd, this is the Knights final practice and it will be held at Leonard Park in Mount Kisco from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Their final prep before traveling west is to travel northwest to Syracuse for The Special Olympics New York 2005 Winter Games presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy, February 11th-13th.

“This team is the perfect example of what our athletes came accomplish,” said Neal. J. Johnson, President and C.E.O of Special Olympics New York. “When they put on those USA jersey’s and take to the field of competition in Japan they will be representing Special Olympics New York, their country and showing the world what people with intellectual disabilities are truly capable of,” said Johnson.