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Players honored to be pioneers for blind hockey in United States

With training camp underway, players are excited to be given the opportunity to represent Team USA on the country's first blind hockey team.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 11:45 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 11:54 PM

USA Blind Hockey is helping 23 players from all over the country, ranging from age 17 to 60, keep their dream of playing hockey alive.

"It's a different feeling," said Victoria McDermott. "You're with a group of people that are struggling with something similar and above all that, you're still getting to do what you love with a group of people who love the same thing."

"You know those dreams of playing in the NHL, playing for USA slowly go away so to have this opportunity, everything kind of came together real fast this year is just an unbelievable feeling," said Tim Kane.

Those letters on their jerseys mean everything.

"Who are we? USA!"

"You can't put a price on this," added Kane. I missing time with my nine-month-old son and my wife right now but they're unbelievably supportive. My entire family, entire community and everybody here that has welcomed us with open arms. Again, you're making dreams come true."

Talk about girl power. In the team's first scrimmage against players from New Hartford, Victoria and her sister scored the only goals.

"It's super cool, that's really amazing but it didn't sink in right away. I think it sank in more when my sister scored the second goal."

Players loved getting on the ice and competing with local high school players.

"It was so great," said McDermott. "It was amazing for them to come out and do this with us. It was fun to play against people that have a little bit of an advantage. They're playing with our puck, our puck, our rules so that's something that they had to adapt to but I think you don't get better by playing people that are easy to beat."

These players rely heavily on sound, using larger pucks that makes noise but as for the goalies they have to be completely blind if not they have to be blindfolded to level the playing field.

"You have goalies that are absolutely fearless," said Kane. "They're laying, sitting in front of a moving steal puck with ball bearings.

"If you closed your eyes and I threw a baseball at you, you don't know when it's coming/" said head coach Michael Svac. "Then when it hits you that whole shock so you can only stay tense for so long so it's difficult for them."

The team says this is only the beginning for blind hockey and the sky is the limit.

"I think that blind hockey is one of the most amazing things and I think we're taking huge strides," said McDermott. "I encourage everyone to give it a shot, I encourage kids to try out. I encourage people to watch, you don't really understand it until to you watch it.

"This has such high possibilities." added Kane. This sport can go anywhere. Blind sports can go anywhere. This is going to be a Paralympic sport in the future."

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