Back in January the Colorado Avalanche hosted a “Try Hockey” event for prospective blind hockey players. It featured several blind hockey players from across Canada and the United States and was coordinated by USA Hockeyand the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association. Forty-two blind participants, including youth and some,like me, who were much older, took to the ice that day. About half of those participants came from CCB. You can read more about it in this article, Try-Blind-Hockey Day Another Example of How Hockey is for Everyone.
The goal was to encourage amateur blind hockey in the area. It’s working! Since that mid-January event, an average of 18 or so blind hockey enthusiasts have been hitting the ice, practicing passes and shots with the idea of creating some serious competition, says CCB Travel Instructor Daniel Belding, who is well-beyond being termed a mere hockey enthusiast.It was Daniel who took the lead for CCB when we were first contacted about the Try Blind Hockey event.
As a matter of fact, Daniel will be one of only three blind Coloradans who will travel to the 14th annual Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago April 5 to 8, along with his colleague Steve Patten and CCB alum Mike Straub. There they will play with about 80 other very, very serious blind hockey players.
So yes, this very much looks like the start of competitive blind hockey in Colorado!
(Disclaimer: Because of my limitations, not as a blind photographer but as a skater, these photos are taken either while leaning up against the glass or from inside the players bench area. The best skaters that day were out of my reach as a skating photographer, and you should look at the USA Hockey Red Line blog post for some really good ones. By the way, the Avalanche have continued to show video clips from that first day between thirds at home games.)