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Ryder & Wheeler Took On Goalball

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
WATERTOWN, Mass. – Imagine trying to stop a rolling ball from crossing over a line. 

Ryder & Wheeler at Perkins School (photo: Sheryl Lanzel).
Click the pic for more pictures.
Sounds easy, right? 

Now imagine if you tried to complete the same task while blindfolded and forced to rely on your sense of sound and communication skills to play a game that only sounds easy. 

That’s just what Bruins forwards Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder did Monday, Feb. 7th, when they visited the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown to participate in a game of Goalball with Perkins’ students as part of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative. 

“It’s really strange to have your vision taken from you and have to rely solely on your hearing and your other senses that maybe you don’t use as much,” Wheeler said.

“It was a good experience, a lot of fun to come and put yourself in their shoes a little bit, and you definitely recognize the challenge pretty quick."

Goalball is a team sport designed for athletes who are vision impaired. The balls contain embedded bells that allow the athletes to use their audio senses to judge the movement and position of the ball as they attempt to throw it into the opposing team’s goal. 

“It’s different, but it was fun...when you have to make those saves while blindfolded.  Blake [Wheeler] was jamming them in the corner over there, he didn’t know where he was,” Ryder said.

“We had fun and it’s good to come in and see the kids.”

Perkins school was founded 175 years ago, and was the first school for the blind in the United States. In 1833 the school moved to the home of Thomas Perkins, then vice president and trustee of what is now Perkins School for the Blind. 

“It’s good for these kids to learn things they can play and become good at it and it’s pretty neat to try it and see how hard it is to do this,” Ryder said. 

In addition to the B’s players visiting the school today, the Bruins also hosted 12 representatives from Perkins at the Bruins vs. Sharks game on Feb. 5 as special guests of Boston center Patrice Bergeron’s through his Patrice’s Pals program.

---Hannah Becker
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