As many of you already know, Fox Valley Ice Arena will be hosting the 2018 USA Hockey Paralympic National Championships in early April. We are honored to bring in these fantastic athletes to Chicagoland.
The tournament will be broken up into two weekends.
April 5 – 8: Blind/Visually Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Special, Warrior/Standing Amputee
April 12 – 15: Sled Hockey
We will not know the schedule for a few more weeks, but as you can see, the weekends are clearly divided into two categories: Sled Hockey and everything else.
The following are descriptions of the hockey games you’ll see April 5-8th.
Typically, totally blind athletes play goalie, lower sighted athletes play defense and higher sighted play forwards. The most noticeable modification for blind hockey is the puck, which is larger and slower than most and makes noise as it moves across the ice.
The game is played according to USA Hockey rules and instruction is based on the individual players ability to improve their skills in an environment that is receptive to their needs and demands. The ability to communicate with coaches and other players regardless of their method of communication is a huge focus. Whether a player utilizes sign language, lip reading, hearing aids, or cochlear implants, etc. interpreters are there to make sure they understand the instruction. Players receive instruction from a coaching staff with college, national and international experience.
The goal of special hockey is to give people with physical and developmental disabilities the chance to play the sport of ice hockey in an environment which is adapted to the level of ability. The athletes play upright and in most cases offsides, icing, penalties etc. are not part of gameplay. Special Hockey emphasizes players to have fun through teamwork, social interaction, and improving the quality of life through on and off ice activities.
Standing/Amputee Hockey has allowed a growing number of athletes with congenital or acquired amputations or other physical impairments to enjoy the great sport of hockey. Players use prostheses to control a hockey stick or to skate, and these skills can be improved as with any other hockey skill.
USA Hockey’s Warrior Hockey Discipline is dedicated to injured and disabled US Military Veterans who have served our country and play the sport of ice hockey. As one of the Disabled Hockey Section’s newest disciplines, the Warrior Hockey Discipline is growing across the country. While some of the participants played hockey prior to being injured, many try it for the first time for therapeutic reasons.
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The Disabled Festival is looking for volunteers to assist in running the event. If interested in volunteering please contact Malisa Komalarajun, Disabled Hockey Festival Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com.