Hockey has always been a big part of my life and has helped me to be the independent, strong, confident person I am today.
I was born with multiple different eye conditions that caused me to be legally blind with only 4% of my vision left. Because of this I often had trouble fitting in and feeling equal to my peers while growing up, but being on the ice and playing hockey was the one time I felt equal to my peers and felt as though I did not have a disability.
I have always loved sports and at a young age wanted to play hockey. At the time there were a lot of people who thought I shouldn’t or couldn’t play hockey because of my disability, however, with the amazing support of my family I was able to not only successfully play hockey, but also show others that despite obstacles you can achieve your goals with hard work and dedication. 23 years ago my parents supported me and my desire to play hockey, they didn’t see my disability, but instead saw my ability.
My dad knew that due to my lack of vision, for me to be successful I would need to know the game inside and out, so he created a tactile ice surface using our deep freezer, coloured masking tape, checkers and a penny to demonstrate to me how all of the positions worked and where they should all be depending on the location of the puck. Then it was time to learn how to skate and take the skills my dad taught me and put them into practice. Thanks to my dad, the rest of my amazing coaches, and my teammates I was able to adapt and successfully play the game I love.
With hard work and practice I, who was visually impaired, was able to play center on fully sighted teams. Fast forward to 2013 after playing nine years of girls hockey, two years in women’s leagues and some occasional tournaments and co-ed pick up hockey games, I was struggling to continue playing sighted hockey as my vision was slowly deteriorating. That is when I discovered Courage Canada, now known as Canadian Blind Hockey. Discovering blind hockey has changed my life in so many positive ways and has allowed me to continue to play the game I love.
I would love to see more female blind hockey players, playing the game. With the hopes that one day not only would we have a Canadian Female National Blind Hockey Team but Female National Teams in other countries in which we could have an international tournament.
I have and will always continue to be a supporter and advocate of girls and women’s hockey. No matter your age, gender or ability everyone should be given the equal opportunity to play hockey. Hockey is for everyone!
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