Blind hockey part of disabled hockey tournament

Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-11 17:28:47-04

Over 1,100 hockey players from the United States and Canada came to Fraser over the weekend for the 2016 disabled hockey festival.

The types of games included sled, special, amputee and deaf games, but one type of hockey played is attention grabbing.

"I think the USA hockey disabled festival is really a shining light for persons with disabilities to show them that if you love hockey, there is no reason you can't play, there is no barrier that you can't overcome," Executive Director of the Canadian Blind Hockey Association Matt Morrow said.

This game to the common eye *looks* the part of any normal game you might stumble upon walking into a rink, but the subtle differences tell a different story.

Other senses take over in this game, as every player on the ice is legally blind. The goalies, completely.

"It's incredible, I'm still in awe of these goalies, they're making pad saves, they're making blocker saves, I mean it's great the rule where you have to make a pass before you can shoot probably helps," Ann Arbor resident and blind player David Clink said.

Clink has Stargart disease and glaucoma that has lowered his vision since his teenage years, but his love for the game is renewed with the creation of this relatively new type of hockey.

"Three years ago we only had one American player and he was out only international player outside of Canada and now we're in the USA Hockey disabled festival, seven different states represented this weekend," Morrow added. "We're anticipating next year were going to have more than two to three times that many players from the United States and hopefully a Canada versus the United States series very soon."

"Michigan is a hockey state so there's other people with visual impairments and love hockey and I think this is going to grow and I really hope it does, I'd love to play again," Clink added. "Incredible, and the level of competition, I didn't expect that, it was awesome I stepped back out on the ice like I was 18 again playing with these guys."

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