A Dallas non-profit organization relies on the generosity of the community to ensure people with visual impairments can enjoy the sport of hockey.
Easton Kitto, 11, loves hockey. He loves watching and he loves playing, but the sport is a bit more challenging.
"I have been playing hockey since I was five. I have been skating since I was three, but I am legally blind," Kitto said. "We got a US Hockey magazine in the mail and we saw blind hockey in it. So, we went to Canada and tried it and then I really liked it. I played in another tournament in Minnesota, so my family thought it would be cool to have it back here in Dallas."
While blind hockey looks a lot like traditional hockey, there are so significant differences.
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"The puck is steel and a lot larger and has ball bearings in it. The net is smaller, and the goalies are completely blind, but if they are not, they are blindfolded," Kitto explained.
There are also differences in the rules when it comes to blind hockey.
"Blind hockey is good for kids and adults who have visual impairments, like low vision or no vision," Kitto said." I have what’s called Achromatopsia, which means that I am legally blind and one muscle in my eye doesn't work. I am completely blind in bright light and that’s why I wear red sunglasses and orange to brown glasses when I am inside."
Their first public event was at the Children’s Health Star Center in Farmers Branch Oct. 5 with nearly 20 participants. The rink has since donated ice time each week.