The lighting ceremony for the Special Olympics Massachusetts 2011 Winter Games took place on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the DCU Centre, which is the home of the Worcester Sharks AHL ice hockey team.
The lighting ceremony took place during the first intermission. 2011 Winter Games Director, Tom Kostizak, lit the ceremonial torch, and then proceeded down the crowded aisle at the DCU Centre until he reached the ice; where, Special Olympics athlete, Billy Galo, and Special Olympics intern, Kevin Coyne, brought the torch the length of the ice.
While Coyne and Galo circled the rink, both on skates, the crowd of roughly a thousand plus fans jumped to their feet and cheered for the Special Olympics athletes in attendance, the history of Special Olympics, and gave a warm appreciation for both Coyne and Galo as they passed by each section of the DCU Centre.
At the conclusion of the victory lap taken by Coyne and Galo, the ceremonial cauldron was lit by Special Olympics Volunteer, Bill Scherer, and his son, Special Olympics athlete, Patrick Scherer. The cauldron produced a 3 foot flame that ignited the spectators to applaud and cheer, again. The lighting ceremony was an excellent start to the Special Olympics Massachusetts 2011 Winter Games.
The 2011 Winter Games will take place in the Greater Worcester area as well as Wachusett Mountain, and will consist of four sports: alpine skiing (Wachusett Mountain), basketball, bowling and floor hockey. The start date of the Winter Games is Saturday, March 12, 2011 and will continue until Sunday, March 13, 2011.
The president of the Worcester Sharks, Michael Mudd, expressed his enthusiasm for SOMA when he said “we look forward to entering our fifth year of partnership with Special Olympics. The Special Olympics is a wonderful organization which gives individuals facing challenges a chance to showcase their talents in sports and competition.”
Also attending the venue from Special Olympics Massachusetts was the Assistant Vice President of Sport Management, Matt Ruxton. Before the event Ruxton said “the partnership we have with the Sharks is absolutely amazing. We love working with the Sharks to bring the Worcester community together with this great event and we could not ask for a better team to work with in Massachusetts.
Finally, the success of this program is attributed to the athletes of Special Olympics, the Worcester Sharks, and all of the volunteers of SOMA, to whom we pay homage for all of their dedication to Special Olympics Massachusetts.
Come on out to Worcester this weekend and cheer on the athletes. Full scheduled can be found here; http://www.specialolympicsma.org/winter_overview.php