Fifteen-year-old Sarah Shero proclaimed “my buddy” as she reached her arms around Barons defenseman Denis Grebeshkov. The AHL hockey player and Special Olympian were getting to know each other as they posed for a photo in a photo booth during a kickoff event for the Barons Buddies program on Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center. The program matches a Special Olympian and their family with a Barons player for the year.
The program has several events, such as a bowling night, throughout the season for the families and players to attend. Josh Evans, with the Oklahoma City Barons, said it builds lasting relationships between the hockey players and families that often extend beyond the program.
Isiah Fosbenner, 5, reacts beside Matt Ford, of the Oklahoma City Baron, after hitting the ball during a Barons Buddies event with the Oklahoma City Barons and Special Olympians in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Four years ago Wayne and Meghan Dickinson wanted to add to their family of four, so the went to the Ukraine intending to adopt one child. They came home with two, Macey, 8, and Marcus, 7. Just two years later they returned to adopt their third child, Mia, 6. All three have Down’s Syndrome. Last season Macey took part in the Barons Buddies program, this season is Mia’s turn. Meghan, her biological son Tanner, 13, and Mia spent the evening with Barons defensemen Brad Hunt. The four ate dinner, played floor hockey, bocce ball, and posed for photos in a photo booth.