ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Wild Foundation, Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey will host the Sixth Annual USA Hockey Blind Hockey Summit at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center in downtown Saint Paul, the official practice facility of the Minnesota Wild. The event will take place August 22 - 25 and feature games for all sizes and skill levels, a coaching clinic and a Try Blind Hockey Event.
A Try Blind Hockey Event will be held at TRIA Rink on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. The event is open to people of all ages with visual impairment. No experience is necessary to participate. Coaches and volunteers will be on-site to assist new players and equipment will be available for participants to use.
Over 50 athletes, from 14 states and three provinces, ranging in age from 9 to 61 years old, are registered for this year's event.
USA Hockey has approximately 150 Blind Hockey players playing regularly on 10 teams across the country. Minnesota started the Minnesota Wild Blind Hockey program in the Twin Cities in October 2018, and had 20 participants in its first season.
Blind Hockey is the same exhilarating, fast-paced sport as ice hockey with only one main difference - all of the players are legally blind. Players must be classified as eligible in one of the three International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) classifications. Typically, totally blind athletes play goal (or defense), lower sighted athletes play defense, and higher sighted athletes play forward. The most significant modification is that the sport features an adapted puck that makes noise, and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck. Players' levels of vision range from legally blind - approximately 10% vision or less - to totally blind. Blind Hockey is an excellent spectator sport as it is easily recognizable to the average hockey fan, with minimal rule adaptations to help with gameplay and player safety.
BLIND HOCKEY SUMMIT SCHEDULE*
Thursday, August 22
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Blind Hockey Coach Clinic
5 - 6 p.m. - Try Blind Hockey Event
6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - USA Blind Hockey Team vs. NHL Alumni
Friday, August 23
12 - 7 p.m. Summit registration
3 p.m. - Blue Division Leveling Scrimmage
4 p.m. - White Division Leveling Scrimmage
5:30 p.m. - Red Division Leveling Scrimmage
Saturday, August 24
8 a.m. - Blue Division Game 1
9 a.m. - White Division Game 1
10:30 a.m. - Red Division Game 1
12 p.m. - Blue Division Game 2
2 p.m. - White Division Game 2
3:30 p.m. - Red Division Game 2
Sunday, August 25
8 a.m. - Blue Division Game 3
9 a.m. - White Division Game 3
10:30 a.m. - Red Division Game 3
*All ice sessions will take place at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul. Schedule is subject to change.