Updated 01/03/2013 05:17 PM
Inspiring disabled kids with hockey sticks
If you watch pro sports today, you probably couldn't imagine someone competing at the highest level on crutches but in the 1970s, that's exactly what Dave Clark did. The Corning native is physically disabled but never let it get in the way of chasing his dreams. Now he's hoping to inspire other disabled youth through his foundation. Our Katie Husband checked out his newest initiative, taking place Thursday at First Arena.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- If you walked through First Arena, you would've thought an Elmira Jackals game was going on. But instead, it was the Disability Dream and Do Hockey Camp, inspired by a man with a unique story.
"I had polio when I was ten-months-old and went on and played professional baseball for ten years as a pitcher, primarily throwing a knuckleball. And I also played ice hockey as a goal tender," said Dave Clark, founder of the Dave Clark Foundation.
With his athletic roots, Clark has set out to help the younger generation dealing with disabilities by getting them involved in sports.
"This is our first, this is our first ever hockey camp, disability hockey camp," said Clark.
The Jackals players teamed up with over two dozen kids and helped them with passing, shooting, goal tending and stick handling.
"If you just look around, you can see all the smiles and just the enthusiasm, so I know it means a lot to them. And to interact with the Jackal players that are their heroes," said Clark.
After hearing Dave Clark's story just hours before the camp started, the players immediately felt inspired and wanted to help the kids.
"I just hope they have fun here and they can come out of this having a great experience and I bet a lot of them haven't done a little hockey thing before or shot a puck or anything like that so it's pretty cool," said Rob Bellamy, Elmira Jackal, right wing.
But the hockey fun doesn't end with the camp.
The kids who participated Thursday are invited back to the Jackals game Friday night where the "Pulling Each Other Along" award will be presented.
The Dave Clark Foundation also hosts a Disability Dream and Do Baseball Camp every September in Corning.