People with Disabilities Festival is a highlight for Gui Bradshaw
When Bradshaw isn’t at the rink, he works as a high school special education teacher where he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and has been involved as a special education teacher for two decades. Although his job as a coach and his job as an official are usually separate, Bradshaw says he often takes a similar approach on and off the ice.
“It’s about those people and their experience with it. I think it’s really important to understand how this is a positive experience for them and how it’s going to affect them in their lives.
Additionally, Bradshaw discussed the importance of continued awareness of disability hockey, particularly for disciplines like blind hockey, which he says is one of his favorite disciplines to officiate. Blind hockey requires custom blind hockey pucks, which cost around $50 each and can add significantly more cost to the sport.
“Those are the kinds of things that are going to have a huge impact,” Bradshaw said.
During the season, Bradshaw works everything from high school, college, youth, travel, junior hockey games in addition to his full-time job as a teacher. He said the Disabled Hockey Festival is always something he looks forward to at the end of a busy season.
“Sometimes over the course of a season you start to lose some of that game-by-game passion, but then you come to an event like this and everyone here is just about participating and having fun. You see them go out and compete and there’s definitely a competitive element to it, but at the end of the day it’s all about having fun.
“That is not lost throughout this event. Win or lose, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen two teams take pictures after the game and you just don’t see that in regular season junior hockey. So that’s part of what makes it special.