The Return of Dskate
It was February of 2020 and the Dskate Hockey Program had just finished it's biggest year.
Hosting 3 events in 2019, culminating with the World Diabetes Day Hockey Classic in November, Dskate had hosted 2 programs and 1 tournament and welcomed over 350 hockey players and families living with Type 1 Diabetes, the largest gatherings of #t1dhockey players in history.
The Dskate Family had grown to include Dskaters from all 12 Canadian provinces, 39 U.S. states and as far away as Sweden. Truly, a global network of young hockey players living with #type1diabetes.
Considering Dskate began in 2013 as a quiet, little pilot program for 28 players, the growth through 8 years that led to 17 programs, 5 events and 1 tournament - reaching over 2,500 #t1dhockey families and setting the standard for what a quality of life program should be - it had developed into a strong community players were proud to be a part of.
Following Dskate's successful 2019 campaign of programs and events, 2020 kicked off with a bang as Dskate was honoured with a feature 5 minute segment on Sportsnet's "Hockey Day in Canada" Home-Town Heroes. A deep-dive showcase of the hard work put in to create Dskate, the feature provided an intimate look into the growing and thriving #t1dhockey community and a spotlight on the efforts required to get them the support they need to succeed.
Hitting it's zenith, Dskate was prepped to host a tournament in Ottawa, a program in Toronto, a program in London, and the return of the World Diabetes Day Hockey Classic in November of 2020...but the world had a different idea as the pandemic thrust our best-laid plans into disarray.
March 2020 brought a decade of development and hard work to a grinding halt. Not only did the ensuing lockdowns prevent Dskate from being able to host its scheduled programs and events, but the persistent lockdowns and restrictions that followed continued to prevent the ability to host make-up events or relaunch any programs whatsoever. With a pure focus on delivering high quality in-person events and experiences for young individuals living with an auto-immune disease, the restrictions simply kept Dskate from any form of opportunity to provide our service.
Unbeknownst to most participants, the Dskate experience was afforded to our participants thanks to the significant and consistent support of our industry partners. There would be no Dskate were it not for the unprecedented support of Medtronic. The growth in experience and offering of events would not have been possible without the likes of Ascensia Diabetes Care and Novo Nordisk. And the many special events and opportunities would never have come about without the help of the Montreal Canadiens, Sun Life Financial, Sobeys, Tim Horton's, BioSteel and many other partners.
Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to invest everything into the experiences that Dskate provided, but that was the reality of what it took for Dskate to make a difference in the lives of over 2,500 families living with #t1d.
The pandemic enabled the complete eradication of support and opportunity for Dskate.
So we waited.
And, as they say, it is the hardest part.
Patience begets opportunity, so we held on, and in the years we have been forced away from the rink, the resolve to get back on the ice has only led to refinements and improvements of a program that is designed to seize the moment.
It has been a long road back to the rink, but Dskate has finally arrived. Opportunity for #t1dhockey players to play the sport they love with the support they truly deserve is once again within reach.
While the world has changed over the past 3 years, our commitment to making a difference in the lives of young hockey players living with Type 1 Diabetes remains our passion, drive and the goal for Dskate.
There has never been a greater need to promote sports and a healthy lifestyle for the next generations of #T1D barrier-breaking youths and we look forward to leading the way.
Let's drop the puck.