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Winter Classic to Raise Cash for Special Needs Hockey

The Raptors and Ice Breakers will take the ice at Ebersole Ice RInk in White Plains Saturday as part of a doubleheader to raise money and awareness for the special needs hockey team.

A pair of hockey games at the Ebersole Ice Rink in White Plains Saturday will also raise money for a Greenburgh-based special needs hockey team.

Saturday's doubleheader, featuring Hockey North America's Ice Breakers and Lighting and special needs teams the New York Raptors and Long Island Blues, will also feature a father-son combination. Steve Grossman plays on the Ice Breakers, part of an adult hockey league, while his son Michael, who is autistic, plays on the Raptors.

The doubleheader serves as a fundraiser for the Raptors, a 30-member team with players aged anywhere from eight to 27 years old. The game will also spread awareness of the remarkable players on each special needs team.

“These are special kids, they are great kids,” said Grossman, whose son has been involved with the Raptors for the last seven years. “Twenty years ago, they just took these kids and threw them aside like they couldn’t do anything.”

Grossman said several Hockey North America teams from across the region are associated with special needs teams. Players from the local adult teams often practice with special needs players.

Saturday's doubleheader will be a chance for the Raptors and Blues to show a larger crowd everything they are capable of.

“This is a learning experience for typical kids to see, any kid, to see that people with special needs may be a little different, but they are not so different," said Grossman. "They can do what they do too.”

The puck will drop for the Ice Breakers and Lighting at 3:30 p.m., and a "chuck a puck" will take place between periods two and three. Tickets to a minor league hockey game between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Connecticut Whale will be given away between games.

The Blues and Raptors will take the ice at 5:15 p.m., with an award ceremony to follow. 

Admission to both games is free and anyone is welcomed to attend.

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