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 Incredible Inaugural Year!
We are extremely excited that the inaugural year of Team USA Blind Hockey Team has been so successful already! In just a few short months, Team USA has gone from tryouts in April, to a training camp in July, to the FIRST-EVER international competition in October. This tremendous growth wouldn't be possible without out an amazing level of support from our fans, friends and family!
The first-ever games of international blind hockey were played in Pittsburgh in October, as Team USA took on Canada in a 3 game series - check out some of the game action here: International Series Game 2
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 this first ever team. Our players and coaches have been putting it all on the ice to build this team so quickly, and after one series versus Canada, they are hungry to do battle again. This time, we'll be taking our talents north, as Team USA heads to Canada for the next international competition.
You can help us claim that glory! 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.
The sport of blind hockey has tripled in size since when it was first implemented at the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in 2016. With your contribution we can help continue to grow the sport of blind hockey across this great nation and as well the world! Blind hockey has shown tremendous momentum in all different parts of the country and we’re incredibly proud of our first Team USA for blind hockey.
Thank you in advance for your support!
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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|
|Kevin Allison - Asst. Coach||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