USA Blind Hockey and the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) announced a partnership Wednesday that will bring the country’s first blind hockey team to the area.
In April, the 14th Annual Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival took place in Chicago. The event welcomed players that were deaf/hard of hearing, warrior/standing amputee, and blind/visually impaired. In attendance was CABVI’s Vice President of Rehabilitation, Kathy Beaver.
“Since we work closely with Utica College and their hockey team, I was curious to see how individuals who are blind and visually impaired played hockey,” said Kathy. “When Zach Borsoi, Utica College’s hockey co-captain, and I attended the festival, we were both very intrigued by how well the athletes played the game.”
After returning to Utica, Kathy and her team worked diligently on a proposal to bring the first USA Blind Hockey training camp Central New York. After a month of preparation, the proposal was submitted to the board of directors for USA Hockey.
“We knew we needed a training camp that encompassed every aspect about being a blind and visually impaired athlete,” said Michael Svac, USA Blind Hockey general manager and head coach. “CABVI offered the rehabilitation side of things that we were missing with other organizations.”
Starting July 18, players will come to Utica to play hockey, learn how to orientate themselves in the locker room and on the ice, and how to represent a national team.
The training camp will hold a preseason game against well-known, local hockey players on July 21, and all proceeds will benefit the USA Blind Hockey team.
Tickets will be $7 and the game will take place at the Whitestown Community Center and Ice Rink from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Fans will be able to meet the players after the game.