We are going to try our hand at a blog! Our goal: to tell KOHA’s story through the people in our association as well as our hockey community. 

This past weekend, KOHA along with the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) hosted our 5th Annual “Youth Hockey Fights for Kids with Autism” and raised over $10,500 for the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research (a program of ROI, Inc.) located in Portage, MI.

As successful as the event was once again thanks to our sponsors and our hockey family, we stumbled on a pretty awesome story (and an even more amazing set of goalie pads!).

As the event day was winding down, we noticed these up in the lobby at Wings West:

We decided to share the picture on our Facebook page with the hopes of letting their owner know how very cool (and timely) we thought they were!


The owner saw them and commented to thank us for sharing. His name is Shane and we asked him for their story. Here is what he sent via Facebook messenger:

Story behind the pads: About a year or so ago we got confirmation that my boy, our only child, is autistic. While we had a hard time with it at first he is still my little buddy. I play net a lot at Lawson, Wings West, in port Huron for the Prowlers, Grand Rapids for theLakers, down in Tennessee, and have been to a few camps for the Walleye in Toledo, so I figured traveling so much to play would be a perfect platform to help raise some awareness for autism. I take every opportunity I can to talk about the pads and explain to everyone how it is not a disability, merely a special ability that not everyone has. The goal is to help everyone understand, not just for my son, but all the families and people affected by autism. I got with the pro rep at Brian’s custom goalie and worked out a design on photoshop. We talked about wanting every piece of gear different to represent how everybody with autism is completely different, nobody the same. 10 weeks later the pads were done and I have just started wearing them. I have gotten a lot of compliments and quite a few opportunities to spread the word. Also quite a few messages on social media through Instagram and my YouTube channel expressing gratitude for making the set. I always let them know the pleasure is mine and it’s an honor to support the cause.”

Shane also shared more (TOTALLY AWESOME) pictures:

THANK YOU, Shane, for sharing both your story and your love for your “Little Buddy.”