About Us


Our Founder

In 1997 John Donaldson realized the need for a Hockey Program for Special Needs Hockey in the Don Mills area, always promoting the idea of Specials Hockey across the city.

John founded the Don Mills Diamonds in 1997 which begin with ten players playing other teams in the Don Mills Civitan House League and other Special Needs hockey teams within the GTA. As the tenth anniversary approached, the Civitan board motioned to change the name from it’s original Don Mills Diamonds to it’s present name.  Debating Donaldson or Donaldson’s, it was recognized that this was in fact John “s” team, thus DONALDSONS DIAMONDS was named, this team being a true extension of John.

John will forever be one of our “Executive” but will be better remembered as a true Mentor.

Today we have more than 50 players and ten Coaches across three teams PLUS a learn-to-skate program.  We play against other Special Hockey clubs in the GTA and beyond.

The Donaldson’s Diamonds hockey program is affiliated with Hockey Canada and Special Hockey International as well as the American Special Hockey Association.

Please click here to read the kind words read by Ian Kennedy, Don Mills Civitan Coach (2001 – current) at John Donaldson’s Funeral in 2011 thanks John for his heart-felt vision of promoting participation at all levels and abilities, inclusion of everyone who wants to play the game of hockey, and performing at one’s individual best.

Our Story

A Brief History
  • 1997

    John Donaldson realized the need for a Hockey Program for Special Needs Hockey in the Don Mills area.

  • 1998/99

    The Don Mills Civitan Club through their hockey program Don Mills Civitan Hockey League formed our team. The original team name was Don Mills Diamonds (John wanted a positive team name)

  • 2008/09

    The team name was changed to Donaldson’s Diamonds

  • 2011

    John’s official sweater #98 was retired upon his death on November 26, 2011.

  • 2019

    We have more than 50 players ranging from ages 13 to 50+, ten coaches and three levels plus a LEARN TO SKATE and have participated in well over thirty tournaments from Kitchener to Ottawa to Pittsburgh

  • 2020

    We continued our great 2018-2020 season and then abruptly on March 13th, the world changed. We stopped short and ended our season early.

  • 2021

    Complying with full COVID-19 protocol, we were able to hold regular practices with our three teams and some of our players were even able to participate in a tournament in Windsor in April 2022. We also hit a milestone with new jerseys with our players’ name embossed on the back!

  • 2022

    We have just embarked on our newest season with some new players, participated in a tournament in Ottawa (October), excited anticipate Kitchener in February, and are back to a full game schedule.

Who Can Play

We welcome all Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities with ages ranging from 5-65+ all genders who are interested in fun, creating friendships and physical activity.

We want all players to play at the best of their abilities and by having fun everyone wins!

Some of our players have diagnoses included but not limited to:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Tourette’s

Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is that hockey should be about fun, creating friendships, building self-esteem and being physically active. Our program is for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ages who will thrive while learning and playing hockey with like-skilled players. Our ultimate goal is FUN for all.

Our coaches make every effort to ensure that all players – even those on the other teams – have a great hockey experience and our players incorporate this philosophy into their own behaviour – on and off the ice.
Everyone wins when each player has the chance to play to the best of their abilities and have fun.

The Diamonds are a family and we accept all players.  However, we have behaviour expectations for all people associated with our program including players, parents, guardians and friends. Violence, Threats or Aggression whether in person, online or any other method will not be tolerated.