Power Hockey League players are intense during their games at the YMCA at White Rock.

They quickly move up and down the court, ramming into each other and swinging their hockey sticks. But rather than wearing ice skates or tennis shoes, the players are in wheelchairs.

The YMCA and Scottish Rite Hospital created the Power Hockey League about four years ago. Once a month, the players travel to the Y from throughout North Texas to socialize and scrimmage.

“They talk about how fun it is because they don’t have a chance to do activities like this, except at camp,” says Isaac Lunger, who runs the league.

Because there aren’t a lot of sports programs for youth with disabilities, many of the players travel a long way, from as far as Lewisville and Joshua, and they make a day of it. The YMCA provides food and drinks, and the players visit with Lunger and each other before practicing and competing.

“When I started this, I was still in high school,” Lunger says. “It just opened my eyes that there are people out there who struggle way more than I do. It’s my one time of the month that I get to share with these guys and hopefully make their week and month a little bit better.”

Tony Lokash, district executive director for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, says Power Hockey provides these young men an opportunity to learn in a competitive environment, just like all children who participate in YMCA programs.

“It also allows the parents a chance to cheer and be in the stands, like any other parent,” Lokash says.

Last month, the YMCA kicked off its annual campaign to raise money to support programs like Power Hockey at the neighborhood YMCA. The YMCA at White Rock hopes to raise $120,000 by March 1, Lokash says.

“The money raised for this campaign is allocated specifically for families that cannot afford the services we provide,” Lokash says. “We’re able to keep the cost of running these programs to a minimum, and in many cases to a zero amount.”

For businesses and individuals who want to donate $1,000 or more, the YMCA offers the Chairman’s Roundtable designation. Donors at this level are invited to special programs throughout the year, and an individual identifying banner hangs in the YMCA.

In addition, Lokash says about 100 volunteers in the community are asking friends and family members for smaller gifts.

“We’ll take $1 on up,” Lokash says.

To donate to the YMCA at White Rock campaign, call Tony Lokash or Eden Bryant at 214.328.3849.

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