How has life with hockey led you to Team USA?
"I have been playing hockey all my life and love the sport. As I grew into college, playing on a college team was challenging due to fact a team didn’t always exist at the school I was attending. I was missing it quite a bit. A coach with the Chicago Blackhawks Blind Hockey messaged me saying that there was a blind hockey team in Illinois and that I should get involved. I started playing for [CBBH] and it's just progressed from there. My coaches and teammates with CBBH have motivated me to become a better player and person. I want to help teach the next wave of new players to never stop believing in themselves on the ice."
What does Blind Hockey mean to you?
"Playing blind hockey is the most rewarding thing in the entire world. When my vision was going, I started to think I was alone in this. But I get to play hockey with a group of amazing players who are similar to me, have similar life experiences, some of them have similar vision to the way that I see. So, it's really cool playing with people who see the world and the sport the way that I do. When I was playing sighted hockey, I didn't have other visually impaired players with me, and it felt awesome realizing that this is something that is real and can occur for anyone. Blind hockey will continue to grow and I am very thankful for the people who are helping it grow.”
What does being a member of Team USA mean to you?
"I was pretty nervous, I didn't know what to expect, but it was a good nervous. I was excited, I felt like blind hockey was going to progress from this and there was an instant connection to a lot of the players on this team. This is probably one of the most humbling moments of my hockey career. I am honored, it is like I have been given a second chance with hockey, and to get a fresh start. The very first time I stood on the blue line as the national anthem played was one of the most memorable moments of my life, I felt like I was representing my country and history was being made. To get to stand on the ice and listen to the national anthem while wearing the colors with my teammates is a feeling I will never forget."
Who is your favorite team or favorite player?
"By far the Blackhawks as a team, and for a favorite player, Jason Pominville. I've tried to model my game after him. This has been my role model since I began my hockey journey. I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed watching him play. I’ve even changed the way I shot pucks because of him."
Who is your hockey hero in your life?
"I have a lot of hockey heroes in my life but the two that stick out the most are my father and my mother. Hockey is a very emotional sport and my mother helped me a lot with learning how to channel my emotions into positive energy. My mom has always told me to rise above any situation I find myself in and helps me keep positive. My dad has always been my rock, my best friend. My dad has an infinite amount of hockey knowledge, I learned everything I know about the game from him. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without his guidance."
Help Support USA Blind Hockey’s Journey to the Paralympics.
Fresh off an exciting inaugural year, Team USA Blind Hockey Team is skating right into a brand new season! In just a year, Team USA has gone from tryouts full-fledged international team. Following our training camp last year, Team USA faced off against Canada in the FIRST-EVER international competition. After that series in Pittsburgh in October, Team USA ventured north of the border to take on Canada in Toronto.
This tremendous growth wouldn't be possible without out an amazing level of support from our fans, friends and family!
As we continue to build up the sport of blind hockey in the United States, we need YOUR help to reach our fundraising goal for operating expenses for the team. Our players and coaches have been putting it all on the ice to build this team so quickly, and after one round of competitive play against Canada, they are hungry to do battle again.
Your support will give these blind hockey athletes the opportunity to participate and compete in these events. All donations will go directly to the team to help with player transportation, equipment, custom blind hockey pucks, and all the other costs of starting a brand-new team. Let’s help these athletes flourish, and show them that they have our support as we grow the sport of Blind Hockey.
The sport of blind hockey has tripled in size since when it was first implemented at the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in 2016 and we’re incredibly proud of our first Team USA for blind hockey.
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Groups and individuals raising money for the same goal.
|Dave Svac - Asst. Coach||0||$0|
|Doris Donley - GM Team Operations||1||$20|
|Ian Essling - Staff||0||$0|
|Kline Donley - Asst. Coach||1||$200|
|Malisa Komalarajun - Staff||2||$33|
|Mike Svac - Head Coach/GM Hockey Operations||0||$0|
|Nick Albicocco - Asst. Coach||0||$0|
Michael & Tricia