It’s an honor Aroostook Snowdogs coach Brian Hamel is excited about. He was recently named the head coach of the Maine Special Olympics Basketball Team.
“I was really pleasantly surprised,” said Hamel. “I’ve only had two years worth of experience in Special Olympics and it’s quite an honor for me to be selected.”
The National Tournament is in June of 2014 and Hamel won’t be the only member of the Snowdogs taking part. Three players- Phil Hanson, his brother Austin, and Tasha Flaherty all applied and were named to the 10-person roster. All four will be traveling down to Princeton, New Jersey from June 14th to the 21st for a week-long tournament.
Hamel said, “It’s really an opportunity of a lifetime for them to travel to New Jersey, to stay a week, a little bit more than a week, participating in all the games with all Special Olympians around the country. It’s just a great honor for them and I’m so happy and proud for them.”
But while Hamel is excited about this opportunity, he says his number one priority is STILL coaching his favorite team.
“I’ll be there just as I was last year, and we’re gonna be a great team, we’re gonna represent ourselves really well at the state tournament. Sure, there’ll be added responsibilities, but that won’t take away from my snowdog responsibility- I take that very seriously and that’s my first priority.”
And it’s set to be another successful season for the Swnodogs team. Last year, they picked up wins over county teams like the Presque Isle girls. In the state tournament, they picked up a gold and a bronze medal. They’re 26 players who work to improve every game… their hard work and positive attitude propelling their coach to receive such an honor.
“It’s because of you, Snowdogs, that I was selected as Maine head coach,” added Hamel. “I’m really honored by that, I’m proud of all of you for it, and it’s because of you that i was selected and the 3 snowdogs were selected, and all four of us when we attend the national championships will be representing all 26 Snowdogs when we’re there.”