Variety Stories – Volt Hockey’s First Canadian Female Player:
Gavi Engel-Yan

One of the visions at Variety is to provide as many accessible forms of sports to our members as we can. One of the newest sports that has been brought to Variety is Volt Hockey.

Volt hockey, originated in Denmark, is an accessible form of hockey where the player sits in an electrically powered wheelchair. The chair features a t-shaped blade on the front that is used for carrying and shooting the ball. The sides of the wheelchair feature a plastic cover on each arm for protection, and the chair can go between levels one to five in terms of speed, allowing for precise speed control for the player.

Volt has provided many people with disabilities the ability to play hockey, especially those with limited mobility in both their arms and legs.

One of those people is Gavi Engel-Yan. At 11 years old, she is the first female Volt hockey player in Canada. Gavi discovered Volt when she was seven years old at her friend’s birthday party. “I tried it and it was really fun… One of the coaches asked me if I wanted to join the Volt hockey team. It seemed really fun so I said yes. I started going to Variety Village every Saturday to practice and play.”

Gavi loves Volt because it allows her to play the sport completely independent, without someone else’s assistance. “I really like Volt hockey because it is a sport that I can do. I watch a lot of sports like basketball, but there are not a lot of sports that I can do out there–but Volt is one of them.”

She also mentioned that Volt allows her to unlock her competitive side in sports. “I’m really competitive and Volt Hockey allowed me to play games with my team members, and score goals.

Volt hasn’t been running due to COVID the past 18 months, but is starting back up this fall. Gavi isn’t going back yet,
but is excited for when she can. “I can’t wait to go back. On normal days, me and my dad would drive 45 minutes to
get there.”

Volt is just beginning, and there is still so much more room for it to grow. Gavi wants to see it become more popular
and inclusive. “For the future of Volt Hockey I want it to be more international so more people with disabilities can play
a sport and be included in sports. I also want there to be more girls because right now there are only a few and I want
it to be more balanced in gender.”

In August, we ran our first Volt Hockey demo since before COVID-19. MLSE sent former Toronto Maple Leaf Mike
Krushelnyski to come try out Volt, and meet some of our Volt players as well as Volt’s Head Coach at Variety,
Stephen Bialowas. Mike was extremely impressed by the functionality of the Volt chairs, and how easy it was to sit
in the chair and play the sport properly.

“It’s quite impressive. It was a lot of fun — as we were practicing it felt quite easy…” Krushelnyski said. “It was great
for the kids, it gives everyone a chance to participate, get involved, and have a good time.”

“The sport comes to us via Denmark, where in Europe they have regional, nationals, and international competitions,
and we’re bringing this sport to Canada,” Variety Coach Stephen Bialowas said. “It’s an exciting new sport, very
safe, and kids of all ages can play.”

We asked one of the participants, Liam, how it felt to be back playing Volt for the first time since COVID.
“It was really fun. I Think it’s exciting that new people are joining and getting to experience Volt hockey.”
Variety is excited to bring Volt hockey back this Fall.

To learn more about Volt and how to play, email Manager of Sports Marketing & Development Audrey Bouman at: