St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

Bio

Awarded to those individuals who exemplify the pride, passion and loyalty of the game of hockey. Spirit Award winners have shown the spirit and dedication to improve St. Louis area hockey. Jim Hermann, Kelly Chase and Tony Sansone Gateway Special Hockey, Inc dba Gateway Locomotives. The idea for GSH came from Tony Sansone, Jr who, in 1993, read an article while traveling about an organized ice hockey program for developmentally challenged youth and young adults in the Toronto, Ontario Canada area called Grandravine Special Hockey or the Grandravine Tornadoes. Tony contacted the Canadian organizers and discussed the idea of starting a similar program here in St. Louis. Tony began to solicit friends and teammates to help coach this team. One of the difficulties in starting such a program was finding available ice for practice. Kelly Chase stepped in and offered to host a Blues' players sponsored hockey school at the Brentwood Ice Rink in the summer. Chaser donated the profits from these schools to the Locomotives for ice time and approached the rink management at Brentwood, the Blues practice rink, to make ice available for the Locomotives. The inaugural practice was on Monday, January 31, 1994 at the Brentwood Ice Rink. The Gateway Locomotives hit the ice with 17 athletes mostly from St. Mary's School for developmentally challenged young adults and approximately 12 coaches. The Locomotives were successful and decided to host the first ever tournament between two clubs of developmentally challenged athletes in 1994. The Grandravine Tornadoes came to St. Louis. This tournament is recognized by memorabilia in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario. Again, success followed and in 1996, St. Louis again hosted the tournament which was now called the SHI Tournament or Special Hockey International, in 1996 with 6 teams competing. Emphasis on these tournaments and competition play is focused not on the won/loss record, but on team play and participation by all athletes regardless of skills and abilities. USA Hockey rules were adopted with modification of no offside's and no icing for either side. Each country has taken turns hosting the tournaments alternating between USA and Canada predominately in the Toronto area. In 2003 USA Hockey adopted Special Hockey as an official program for amateur hockey and is represented on their board. USA Hockey includes Special Hockey tournament play in their annual USA Hockey Disabled Festival. As a result of USA Hockey's adoption of Special Hockey, American Special Hockey Association, Inc or ASHA was formed in 2004 to provide a national organization for the benefit and development of existing programs and any new programs wishing to start a special hockey program in their city. 2009 - Special Hockey was adopted by the NHL and a link to ASHA was added to the NHL website under Hockey Is For Everyone. Several NHL clubs, including the St. Louis Blues, have hosted Autism Awareness Nights during NHL games over the last two seasons. Gateway Special Hockey, Inc. is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization and subsist by donations and fundraisers alone. There is no paid staff in the organization and 100% of donations go directly to the special athlete's benefit. Please visit our website, www.gatewaylocomotives.org