DSkate Plus+ is the newest of the 3 DSkate Hockey Programs that is run by DSkate Hockey a Canadian company with a mission to improve the quality of life of Type 1 Diabetic hockey players and their families. The programs are open to boys and girls ages 7-17. Steven Hindle who has a close family connection to T1D is the founder of the DSkate Hockey Program. His right hand man and Program Director Kosta Papoulias was always around to answer any question that you had and to help see that everything was kept running like a well oiled machine.
DSkate Plus Niagara is the first DSkate program that we have had the pleasure of attending. In the past we have attended DSkate night with the Hamilton Bulldogs that included a pregame family skating event, pizza party and a guest speaker from I Challenge Diabetes. The event was very well organized and right from the start the team at DSkate makes you feel just like family. Anyway back to DSkate Plus. When we arrived on Wednesday morning we were greeted by the wonderful DSkate partners at Ascensia Diabetes Care who got you checked in assigned to your group for the remainder of the program. After check in they had everyone gather in the conference room for a welcome presentation. DSkate had coffee and water as well as some light breakfast items from the participants to snack on. After a few minutes the Steven came in and introduced himself as well as the rest of his staff, the coaches, and the folks from Ascensia. He welcomed everyone and played a video to show everyone what DSkate is all about.
After the short and sweet opening ceremonies the players we whisked off to stretch and get ready for the first on ice training session. While the kids are off on the ice the parents are treated to some guest speakers. We heard from Mike Riddell, PhD on Diabetes and exercise and Sarah Morris, BcsN, RN, CDE on Diabetes and Continuous Glucose Monitoring to round out our morning. We then broke for lunch.
When lunch was over 3 more guest speakers had sessions that you could attend Beata Dymek, MSc, PT spoke on foot care, Yvonne Dametto, RN, CDE gave tips on traveling with diabetes and Cristin, RD gave advise of juggling blood sugars and eating healthy. All the speakers encouraged open discussion and questions from the parents. Parents shared stories and felt comfort in knowing that every one in that room was going though something similar. Fighting the same fight that all T1D families fight 24/7.
One of the biggest things that I did not expect was the level of care that the program provides from the children. When I read on the schedule “Drop Off” and “Pick Up” I thought to myself yeah right a parent of a T1D child does not just drop their child anywhere but after seeing the staff to participant ratios, the qualifications of the staff, and witnessing the level of attention given to each child it was easy to hand over control and relax for a little while Logan was away. The staff took care of testing blood sugars, treating lows, testing before lunch, calculating carbs consumed, dosing insulin, and other general diabetes care though out the day. It truly was a drop off and relax experience, while I improve my fitness with training as Youth Boxing and others.
The additional perks of the camp did not disappoint either. Each player got a jersey, socks, hat, water bottle and mini stick when they checked in on day 1. Lunch was provided for all the players with many food and drink options to choose from. Fresh fruit, cookies, juice, and water where available for the players after every on ice session. Parents were offered a copy of Dr. Riddells book “Getting Pumped” after his speaking session.
DSkate also had a table setup at the event where you could purchase merchandise. They had hats, T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, water bottles, mini sticks, stickers, jerseys and pucks for sale. All the merchandise had a quality feel to it and looked really nice. We did not leave without a few DSkate items to remember our trip.
I think that this is where I will end Part I of the blog. Make sure that you come back for part 2 as we get into the coaching staff, special guests, and the water park. Yup you read that right a trip to the water park at a hockey camp.
If you would like more information on the DSkate Hockey Program please visit www.DskateHockey.com