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Canadian blind hockey hosts western regional tournament in Calgary

More than 40 visually impaired hockey players from across Canada, the United States, and as far as England dropped the puck in Calgary this weekend for the 2022 Regional Blind Hockey Tournament.

The event hosted this weekend at WinSport Canada Olympic Park features 13 members of the champion 2022 Canadian national blind hockey team along with 17 players from Alberta.

Players were drafted into three teams named in honour of Alberta Blind Hockey programs: the SeeHawks, Bullseye, and Seeing Ice Dogs who all compete in a round-robin competition.

Canadian Blind Hockey executive director Matt Morrow said the sport has grown exponentially within the last decade.

“We’ve expanded now to 18 programs across Canada, 20 in the United States and six countries worldwide,” said Morrow.

“We’ve had some little kids come to these ice sessions at youth events and take their very first steps on ice and now they’re playing in our development camps with aspirations to play on the national team. It’s so very rewarding when you see a child do that who wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity.”


One of those players making big steps in the game is Alberta-born Jason Yuha who represents Canada on the world stage.

Although the 31-year-old has just 10 per cent of his total vision, he still has an eye for the back of the net.

“Some people have peripheral vision like me so we know where to give them the puck,” he said.

“The biggest thing is communication, that’s everything in our sport, it’s all about working with your teammates and it makes you a more well-rounded player because you’re constantly having to be more aware of your surroundings.”

Others like 35-year-old Laura Mark says the game has helped her meet many friends over the years and has greatly impacted her mental health.

“It’s such a great feeling when a play comes together and you hear that the puck goes in, it’s just so exciting,” she said.

“With the blind hockey puck it makes me actually be able to enjoy the game and still stay fully engaged.”


Blind hockey is played exclusively by players who are blind or partially sighted and have less than 10 per cent of their vision.

Players use an adapted puck that is larger than a traditional puck. It's made out of thin steel and filled with ball bearings to make noise so players can hear it when it glides down the ice.

An attacking team must also complete at least one pass before taking a shot on goal. The goaltenders are completely blind and rely on the sound of a pass whistle to indicate to them that their opponent is in a position where they’re allowed to shoot.

Lorne Webber plays goal for Team Canada. He started out as just a recreational player in his hometown of Edmonton and now competes on the world stage.

“It’s quite an awesome experience,” said Webber.

“I'm listening to the skaters and sticks and then trying to cut off that angle and listening to my defense. They're trying to help me out by giving me tips for if the puck is left side or right side and just to make sure I'm on my game kind.”

The Western Regional Blind Hockey Tournament continues throughout the weekend with games open to the public to watch on Saturday and Sunday in the main bowl of WinSport Arena.

Games take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Top Stories

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