How has life with hockey led you to Team USA?
“It’s been a natural progression to get here. I feel very fortunate to have an outlet where I can still play. I owe a lot of where I am right now in the sport and mentally with all of this to my sister [Christine]. She has always been so active and determined to keep a normal lifestyle. Her continuously playing, even when I stopped, kept us on this path of open doors in front of you. Once she linked up with Kevin [Shanley] it was all natural from there, and it’s where I feel where we belong right now.”
“I started playing hockey around 8 years old. I think it was inevitable that we were all going to try it. My uncle and my dad both played, and my brother was interested from a very young age. It was inevitable that Christine and I were going to get the opportunity to try it. It really stuck with all three of us – I’m sure my parents were both happy and kind of concerned about having three kids in a high level sport, and a very demanding sport at that. It was a family thing; my mom was always team mom and scheduler, and it started with my dad and just kind of trickled down to all of us.”
What does Blind Hockey mean to you?
“It was very seamless for me, adapting to the rules and just getting back on the ice. The rules have also grown since I started - now we have enoug more specific things than when I started, which is incredible. It seemed very natural to adapt to those few things, and to keep playing a sport that's like muscle memory. It's just in you. It was a liberating feeling to still be able to still play hockey just a little more safely and a little more effectively as our vision decreased.”
What does being a member of Team USA mean to you?
“It’s just such an honor to play with the team and the family that we’ve created. To play for your country, it’s pretty indescribable. Putting on that jersey is amazing; it’s something people only dream of. Any way you can get in it, especially in a sport you’ve played your whole life and you thought was behind you. The family that we’ve created, and the things you learn about people and everyone else’s story, it’s really amazing and I feel lucky to be a part of it.”
“Going into tryouts, I was very nervous. I’ve played my whole life, but you’re going up against people who are stronger, who are faster, they play more often. You’re just trying to push everything that you have out there for two hours.”
“Hearing my name with the first cut…it was pretty surreal. Things went kind of blank, you’re just walking up to the podium. It was just an incredible feeling to even have the opportunity to continue, even if it was just one more tryout, one more camp, one more sheet of ice. It was really incredible to have that opportunity.”
Who is your favorite team or favorite player?
"The Rangers, of course. My favorite player for a long time has been Ryan McDonagh. Unfortunately he's no longer on the Rangers, but he's one of my all time favorites."
Who is your hockey hero in your life?
"My dad, my sister and my brother, and of course my mom. You can't ever do it without mom. She did so much and we were so lucky to have her in our corner. Each of my family supported me so much in their own way. They all kind of molded me as a player physically and mentally and emotionally in the sport. It's definitely emotionally taxing when you’re that competitive and in a competitive level. I think that they all played a part in creating the player and the person that I am now with the sport."
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|
Anthony T Vanturini