ST. PAUL Minn. – The Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Wild Foundation, Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey are proud to be hosting the 6th Annual USA Hockey Blind Hockey Summit at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul, MN, the official practice facility of the Minnesota Wild. The event will take place the weekend of August 23 – 25, 2019 and will feature games for all sizes and skill levels, a coaching clinic, a “try-it” session for local newcomers and a community banquet.
“We launched this event in October 2014 with just enough players to outfit two teams,” said Kevin Shanley, Blind Hockey Representative for USA Hockey’s Disabled Section. “It’s really exciting to see how it has grown in six short years to an event of this size and magnitude.”
USA Hockey has approximately 150 Blind Hockey players playing regularly on 10 teams across the country. Minnesota began a program in the Twin Cities in October 2018, and it has enjoyed success.
Having played host to other large Disabled Hockey events like the Sled Hockey Classic in the past, the Twin Cities are an experienced and welcoming host. Toni Gillen, Minnesota District Representative for USA Hockey’s Disabled Hockey Section said, “Our hockey community is the absolute best. I know we are capable of putting on an event that is memorable and special for each one of these athletes and their families.”
Further details including registration, hotels, and travel will be available later in the season.
Blind Hockey is the same exhilarating, fast-paced sport as ice hockey with only one main difference – all of the players are legally blind. Players must be classified as eligible in one of the three International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) classifications.
Typically, totally blind athletes play goal (or defense), lower sighted athletes play defense, and higher sighted athletes play forward.
The most significant modification is that the sport features an adapted puck that makes noise, and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck. Players’ levels of vision range from legally blind – approximately 10% vision or less – to totally blind. Blind Hockey is an excellent spectator sport as it is easily recognizable to the average hockey fan, with minimal rule adaptations to help with gameplay and player safety.
For anyone wanting to know more about Blind Hockey and how to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.