Mead-Colegrove – assistant dean for campus safety and operation, lead COVID-19 contact tracer, and EMS liaison for the Daemen College Rescue Squad – became involved with service to the team after his son, Andrew Mead-Colegrove, was chosen as the team’s goalie in 2019.
“At first, I was just a dad there to watch my son, but I didn’t just sit in the bleachers,” said Mead-Colegrove. “What I found was that through small acts, I could help all the players and make a real difference.”
He continued, “The players are all outstanding athletes – but once in a while a little help can go a long way.”
For instance, during a major tournament, one of the USA players dislocated his shoulder, prompting Mead-Colegrove to provide transportation to the hospital.
Additional acts by Mead-Colegrove have included helping players navigate difficult terrain while wearing their playing equipment, driving hockey gear to match locations, driving players to get their skates sharpened, and even helping the team obtain COVID-19 tests in preparation for competitions.
Mead-Colegrove said he enjoys having a role with the team, but intends to stay behind the boards, so to speak.
“As a volunteer, I don’t need to be on the front lines,” he said, “I’m happy to help behind the scenes and am willing to do whatever they need.”
Although the team is not yet part of the Paralympic Games, due to a lack of teams from around the world, said Mead-Colegrove, coaches are working with other countries – including perennial hockey powerhouse Russia – to create more official squads.
In fact, Mead-Colegrove recommended watching a match between the U.S. and Canada online with eyes closed and listening to the commentary for a more authentic experience of blind hockey.