How has your life with hockey led you to Team USA?
I grew up playing inline hockey partly because of vision and partly because it was cheaper. When I graduated college I bought ice equipment and played a couple drop ins, because I wanted to get into ice hockey. Shortly after, I lost a large part of my vision and had to quit both inline and ice entirely. That was tough. Then, four months later, I found out about the Colorado Blind hockey program while watching an Avs game and never looked back. My passion for the sport ignited immediately, and when I found out about Team USA, I started working hard towards the goal of playing for the Red, White, and Blue.
What does blind hockey mean to you?
To me blind hockey means a second chance. In some ways, it means a first chance to play ice competitively. Giving up hockey because I couldn't play and be effective anymore was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I thought it was over forever. Blind hockey means it's not over. It's only just beginning.
What does being a member of Team USA mean to you?
This sport is new and growing fast. It takes leaders to help it grow in the best direction possible. I want kids that grow up with a visual impairment to have the opportunity to play an organized team sport. Being a member of Team USA gives us an opportunity to pave the way and be positive role models for the future athletes that will play this or any other blind sport.
Favorite Hockey Player/Team:
Colorado Avalanche, Paul Stastny, Alex Tanguay, JT Compher
Hockey hero in your life (coach, parents, teammate, mentor, friend)?
My athletic hero is my father. He also grew up legally blind and played football, soccer, ran track, and skied all before cataract surgery gave him vision. He taught me that limits are only in your mind. My hockey hero is my college inline coach, Jerry Remsbecker. He helped start the inline hockey team at Kansas State University and single handedly kept it alive for over a decade. With his help, KSU was the first school in the country to get an inline rink built on campus. He had so much passion and dedication to provide us the incredible opportunity to travel and play hockey competitively.
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.
|Blind Hockey Player||5||$472|
|Blind Ice Hockey Player||7||$477|
|Dave Svac - Asst. Coach||0||$0|
|Doris Donley - GM Team Operations||1||$20|
|Ian Essling - Staff||0||$0|
|Ice Hockey Player||1||$1,086|
|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|