Adaptive hockey is a new, up-and-coming sport for athletes who are blind and visually impaired. Though not yet on the Paralympic Winter Games program, the International Blind Ice Hockey Federation (IBIH) was created in 2015 to lead the development of the sport and recruit international participation.
Modifications made to make hockey accessible for athletes who are blind and visually impaired include:
If you’re interested in trying blind hockey, we encourage you to attend one of the “Try Blind Hockey” sessions hosted across the country. “Try” events are listed on the USABA Events Calendar as information is provided.
Once you’re solid on ice skates and have a good feel for the basics of the game, get involved with one of the established teams listed below and attend a tournament to develop your competition skills.
New York Metro Blind Hockey
Washington Wheelers Blind Hockey Club (Washington, D.C.)
Hartford Braillers Blind Hockey Club (Connecticut)
NY Nightshade Hockey for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Chicago Blackhawks Blind Hockey
Pittsburgh Blind Hockey
St Louis Blues Blind Hockey
Denver Blind Hockey
The sport of Blind Hockey is governed in the United States by USA Hockey. Currently, there are two major annual competitions for the sport of Blind Hockey in the United States: the USA Hockey – Blind Hockey Summit which takes place in the fall, and the USA Hockey Disabled Festival – Blind Hockey Division which takes place in the spring.
Executive Director, Canadian Blind Hockey Association
Blind Hockey Representative, USA Hockey
Skiing is a great and challenging activity for athletes who are blind and visually impaired. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced skier, you will find enjoyment after each run. If you’re new to the sport, start off with a few lessons from the mountain’s adaptive ski program. The time is well spent with a trained adaptive ski guide and instructor. If you’re an advanced skier with a trained guide, be sure to give the resort a call to make sure you’re meeting the requirements of the mountain’s safety program before heading out on the slopes.
If you’re interested in alpine racing, there are four disciplines: downhill, slalom, giant slalom and the super-G. You and your guide will need to join a local racing team to gain additional experience. Check with your local adaptive skiing program about how to start racing.
Make sure you also get to the Nordic Centers and give cross-country skiing a try. Again, a lesson or two will be worth the time to learn the nuances of Nordic skiing. Interested in Nordic skiing & biathlon? Here are some steps to help you get started:
If you’d like to compete nationally against your peers, the U.S. Paralympic Alpine and Nordic National Championships are events you should consider annually. If you aspire to wear the red, white and blue for Team USA at the Paralympic Games, check out the following resources for information, requirements and opportunities.
Jessica Smith, U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing
Director, U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing