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Seeing hockey through the eyes of others: UC, CABVI team up for winter camp

The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) teamed up with Utica College hockey Monday afternoon. Players and campers took the ice at the Adirondack Bank Center to play the game they love.

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 6:02 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2018 6:21 PM

Imagine if everything was blurry or pitch black. That's what life looks like through the eyes of these CABVI campers, but it doesn't slow them down.

"Is that your favorite part about hockey, is scoring?" "Yes, like SCORE!" said 11-year-old camper Ivy Thomas. "We did some little activities back at camp for some reason they wanted to be the horn (makes horn sound)"

"They teach me how to skate and receive the puck," said 9-year-old camper Myles Cole. Is it hard? "It's a little yeah."

"I think we played hockey before back in February 2016, we did and we did yesterday too," said Bailey twins Trevor and Tyler. This is their fourth winter camp.

Sight is something we might take for granted but for these CABVI campers they rely heavily on anther sense: and that's sound. With some minor adjustments, like a bigger puck that makes noise or tapping on the ground to know where to pass, these campers excelled on the ice.

Pioneers defenseman, Zach Borsoi, was on the ice not only as a UC player, but he's also a CABVI counselor. "For me, it's unbelievable." said Borsoi. "Seeing kids do something I've loved to do ever since I was 4-years-old is even better. Last night, I asked the kids 'what do you guys like doing?' 'Oh we like hockey or I can't wait for Monday to go skating with the team.'

"For us it's a great opportunity to get involved with CABVI and the kids as well and teach a sport we all like to do."

This camp is designed to help kids and teens discover what they're capable of.

"My goal as a counselor is to give the camper the same opportunity that another child would have," said Jon Anderson. "They might have a different ability level, but for them to have the opportunity to go on a snowmobile ride, to go skiing, to go ice skating, to play hockey. Whatever we need to do to make that happen and level the playing field, it just helps them to keep moving forward, to keep growing, to experience new environments and to continue to grow as a person."

Heather Mondi's son is a standout camper and soon to be counselor. "He walks this earth and no one would ever know that he is visually impaired in any sense of the definition and that's what you strive for, you strive for independence. You cant explain the heart in these children."

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