LAKEWOOD -- The Colorado Visionaries Blind Hockey Club is helping blind and visually impaired hockey players flourish.
“Every person here has a story about why they’re here,” club manager, Kent Martin said.
Stantec assisted CVBHC during their company’s ice hockey tournament in Westminster on Sunday. Blind hockey players showcased their sport and their skillsets at a special practice session.
“What we’re doing is helping with practice, helping kids learn how to skate, helping adults learn how to skate and trying to give back and let them enjoy the game that we love,” Stantec employee and hockey lover Nick Cioffredi said.
“To be able to see little kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity that I had, they get to go out and actually skate and enjoy the cool air through their face mask, it means the world to us and it’s a lot of fun to give that back.”
One of the young athletes on the ice was Logan Galloway, a 7-year-old who’s been playing hockey for two years.
“I like the skating parts and the shooting parts and all that,” he said. “We play hockey, hockey and more hockey. We’ve got an indoor set, we play floor hockey, field hockey, and ice hockey.”
“For some of our kids, their parents never knew that anything like this existed for them,” adds Martin. “When they found that, a couple of our kids, that’s all they talk about now is the next hockey practice.”
Kids of all ages showed up for the opportunity.
“I turned 40 years old and lost my vision,” says Mike Straub. “I quit skating, and then about two and a half years ago they had a ‘try blind hockey’ event in Colorado Springs."
He's been skating nonstop ever since and now plays with the U.S. Blind Hockey National Team.
“As a goalie, there’s something about being back there and having these big metal pucks shot at me that I enjoy. People think I’m crazy, he says, laughing.”
Everyone may have their own story and reason for being out on the ice, but they all share one thing - a love for the game of hockey.
“It’s just fun,” Straub said. “I love it. I’d do it every day of my life if I could.”
To learn more about the Colorado Visionaries or donate to their cause, you can visit their GoFundMe campaign.