By Michael Svac, USA Hockey Central District Disabled Hockey Representative
The USA Blind Hockey team has announced the team roster for the 2019-2020 season. Two of the returning players from last season, Anthony Chesrow (Carol Stream) and Luke Miller (Elmhurst), will continue their journey to lead the team for another year.
Team USA – Blind Hockey Roster
Daniel Belding – Indiana
Kevin Brown – Washington DC
Anthony Chesrow – Chicago
Mark DeFlorio – Seattle
Doug Goist – Washington DC
Keith Haley – Hartford
Tim Kane – Michigan
David Klenk – Michigan
Jeff Martin – Colorado
Luke Miller – Chicago
Charlie Mitchell – Washington DC
Dirk Morgan – Maine
Blake Steinecke – San Diego
The final selection was made after a five day hockey camp in July at Utica College in Utica, New York, where 19 players were part of the final selection process. This year Team USA partnered with Central Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired (CABVI), who provides an environment to assist people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve their highest levels of independence.
Both Anthony and Luke play for the Chicago Blackhawks Blind Hockey team and have been part of the Blackhawks program since the 2014-15 season. Luke will be attending the University of Illinois in the Fall and Anthony is a currently a student at Holy Cross College of Notre Dame.
Blind Hockey is played across USA by athletes who are blind or partially sighted (approximately 10% vision or less). The sport uses an adapted puck that makes noise and is larger than a traditional puck. The sport has been played in the United States since 2014. After five years of development, USA Hockey now has several established Blind Hockey Teams, seven of which are associated with NHL teams – Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Team USA finished last year with a Silver Medal and will be competing again this year in Ottawa, Canada, in November of 2019. A highlight for the team this year will be a World Cup Championship Game series scheduled in Vegas for May of 2020.
USA Blind Hockey has two goals this season: 1) export the sport of blind hockey around the world in order to create international competition opportunities, and 2) to apply for inclusion in the 2026 Paralympic Games. The organization is well on its way to achieving these goals. The USA Team’s next journey is to participate in the Blind Hockey Summit in Minnesota (August 22-25), compete in the National Blind Hockey Tournament in Canada (November 7-10), the USA Disabled Hockey Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (March of 2020) and the World Cup Competition (May of 2020). For more information visit https://www.usahockey.com/blindhockey. If interested in supporting Team USA visit: https://www.gofundme.com/usablindhockey.