Snowdogs getting ready for state tourney
The Snowdogs, Aroostook County’s Special Olympics basketball team, began its season just after the new year and will see it come to a close the weekend of March 22-24 at the state tournament in the Portland area.
Brian Hamel, in his eighth season as the head coach, along with his staff of seven assistants and one manager, welcomed 33 athletes to the first practice Jan. 2. The squad practices weekly at the Sargent Community Center in Presque Isle.
Special events have included a scrimmage at UMPI against the Caribou girls’ team. The Snowdogs also were guests of honor at the Presque Isle Wildcats’ home game on Jan. 16.
Five Snowdogs teams and another from Houlton also will play a round robin at UMPI’s Gentile Hall on March 9.
The highlight of the season, though, is the state tournament weekend. The team departs Presque Isle on a motor coach. Personnel will spend two nights at a hotel, dine at local restaurants, swim at the hotel pool and have entertainment events each evening. Generous donations from the community make the trip possible, according to Hamel.
The tourney is played at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham Saturday, March 23. Three separate Snowdogs teams will be competing.